Langhe Nebbiolo 2018: Some of Our Favorites
Langhe Nebbiolo 2018
We are so lucky to live in a region with so many outstanding wines. Above all, we love Langhe Nebbiolo which happens to dominate our own wine fridge! This is why Langhe Nebbiolo has become so popular lately:
- APPROACHABILITY: You love Barolo and Barbaresco but don’t want all the fuss. If you want the characteristics of these fine wines but don’t want to wait, than this is the wine for you. Nebbiolo is the same grape that makes up the famed Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero.
- AFFORDABILITY: Langhe Nebbiolo can be half the price or less when compared to its bigger brothers, Barolo and Barbaresco. This is a great mid-range wine that will give you all the fresh red fruits, flowers an elegance of Nebbiolo without breaking the bank.
- VERSATILITY: It pairs well with everything. Stainless steel versions can be refreshing and quaffable with a slight chill while others aged in oak can compare to young Barolos. You can drink with vegetables, grilled fatty fish, meats and cheeses, just about anything!
OUR FAVORITE LANGHE NEBBIOLO 2018
As mentioned above, some winemakers don’t want to have the Langhe Nebbiolo compete with multiple single vineyard Barolos in their collection and purposefully make a light fruity red, often aged for a short period in just stainless steel. In this style we love:
- Ca Del Baio – Langhe Nebbiolo. Coming from different vineyards and aged just in stainless steel. With short maceration time, this gives you an idea of the pure essence of the grape. It is like a naked Nebbiolo without all the costumes and makeup. Great value.
- La Vedetta – A newcomer in Barbaresco, Marco uses the vines from the same plot as his Barbaresco but from the cooler plots. This gives you a bright, tart red fruity Langhe Nebbiolo great for easy drinking which he calls their “Easy Rider”.
However, Langhe Nebbiolo can actually be a declassified Barolo or Barbaresco on a particularly hard year like Cavallotto’s 2014. They did not produce Barolo that year so all those prime grapes went into the Langhe Nebbiolo. Some producers just believe that no matter what, Nebbiolo needs to be aged in oak to micro-oxygenate polymerize the tannins. Here are some of our favorite “Baby Barolos”:
- Claudio Alario – Nebbiolo d’Alba. This is aged for up to 30 months in oak barriques which is more than your average 18 month minimum oak for a Barolo! The small vineyard of Cascinotto lies right over the invisible border of the Barolo denomination in Diano d’Alba, meaning that the soil type is nearly the same as some of the biggest Barolos. Watch videos here.
- Elio Sandri – Langhe Nebbiolo. Elio’s cult wines are all about expressing the terroir and the vintage while observing the natural cycles and processes of the wine. The Nebbiolo from comes from the same area as Barolo in Perno and therefore is often confused with a Barolo in blind tastings. It generally sees slightly over a year in large traditional oak barrels and could spend a few months in old concrete tanks which he loves.
- Flavio Roddolo – Langhe Nebbiolo. This Nebbiolo can stand its ground with some of the best Barolos. Coming from Monforte D’Alba where structured Barolos come from, his wine has a skin contact of 30 days and may stay a minimum of 14 months in neutral small French oak casks or even much longer. He is in no rush and lets the wine speak for itself. When Flavio feels it is ready, he will release the Nebbiolo, often meaning 6-8 years after other producers. He is currently releasing his Langhe Nebbiolo 2012.
- Giuseppe Rinaldi & Bartolo Mascarello. If you can’t afford the classic labels of Barolo from Rinaldi and Mascarello, Langhe Nebbiolo is a mini version from producers like these. They have become costly but when you realize the Nebbiolo grapes are taken from the same Barolo vineyards, fermented in large conical tinos with long fermentation maceration and 18 months in big barrels, you realize that the only difference is the barrel aging time when compared to the Barolos.