Barolo may be the wine everyone knows, but the grape that makes Barolo – Nebbiolo – is the chalk line that draws the character of Piemonte. This line has its moments of frustration. Particularly when Nebbiolo is only recognised by winelovers and winemakers alike as the King and Queen of Piemonte, Barolo and Barbaresco.However, like any character who hopes for a continuous line, there is good news for Langhe: a distinct picture is emerging. At the moment, the Nebbiolo wine of the whole Langhe region is showing its own simple brilliance with joyous fruit and purity of line that brings a spontaneous smile to even the most serious wine taster.
But what is Nebbiolo?
Nebbiolo is the grape that makes Barolo. Nebbiolo is also what makes Barbaresco. And Nebbiolo is also Nebbiolo d’Alba and Nebbiolo Langhe (from the same area, sometimes even the same vineyard, as Barolo and Barbaresco). Each of these wines come from the same Langhe region near the town of Alba. A Barolo will set you back £30 – £120 plus; a wine stating it is Nebbiolo on the label (which includes Nebbiolo Langhe, Nebbiolo d’Alba, Nebbiolo Roero) – £15-20.
Just as it expresses itself in Barolo, Nebbiolo has the same true drinkability, finesse and elegance in the Langhe but without the wait and price tag. Saying that, after a few days in Piemonte, I found there is a lot more to Nebbiolo from Langhe than just an affordable price.
A New Line
Yesterday I attended the Nebbiolo Nobile tasting in the castle of Serralunga d’Alba and I am convinced Nebbiolo from Langhe and Roero is not only a taste of Barolo, and one of the world’s great culinary regions, it has its own unique style and lovable character.
There is a new line being drawn in the chalk. In Piemonte today, there is a lot of re-evaluation, reappraisal, even a revolution in the way the Nebbiolo grape is understood in the Langhe.
I hope you can join me over the next couple of weeks as we explore this food and wine lovers dream in the Alps of Italy.
Thanks to David Berry Green and Berry Bros & Rudd for making this trip possible.