Nebbiolo is one of the two most celebrated red grapes of Italy (Sangiovese being the other). It’s the star of the northern Piedmont region in such storied denominations as Barolo and Barbaresco, whose wines require considerable aging to reach their potential and carry price tags to match.
But there is plenty of other Nebbiolo grown in Piedmont, producing wines that can be enjoyed while young and that cost far less.
One of them is Nino Costa’s 2020 Langhe Nebbiolo, an under-$20 wine that is drinking beautifully right now and that demonstrates how the grape can be delightful in its youth.
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The Langhe Nebbiolo designation of origin, or DO, refers to the large Langhe region of Piedmont in which Barolo and Barbaresco are the most famous villages but where plenty of noteworthy, affordable wines like this one are also made.
The Nino Costa estate was founded in 1851 and includes about 17 acres near the village of Manta that are farmed organically. This wine is aged in oak barrels for about six months and then another two months in-bottle before release.
The result is a delicious, relatively soft young wine that showcases concentrated fruit and good structure, but without the grippy tannic “chewiness” of youthful Barolos.
A slight chill would make this a perfect Nebbiolo for summer drinking, with notes of cherry, wild blueberry, and pomegranate punctuated by a nice earthiness and vibrant acidity.
Pop this one on the patio or porch with everything from burgers to grilled chicken to your favorite tomato-based pasta sauces, with or without meat.