When it comes to Nebbiolo — the great grape of Piedmont in northwestern Italy — much of the attention centers on Barolo and Barbaresco, the region’s most famous appellations. But with Barolo and Barbaresco usually requiring considerable bottle age to reach their potential, how can wine lovers enjoy Nebbiolo without waiting years or paying a premium for older wines?
A great introduction to the grape can be found in bottles labeled “Langhe Nebbiolo.” Langhe is the broader area of Piedmont where the smaller Barolo and Barbaresco zones are located, but “Langhe” wines tend to be more approachable when younger and are considerably less expensive.
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A top example is the 2018 Langhe Nebbiolo from Parusso, a family-owned Barolo producer that dates back more than a century and offers a range of wines.
Its Langhe Nebbiolo, an outstanding value at around $20, is drinking well now but will continue to evolve for several years. The wine offers a complexity that’s almost unheard of at this price, and can even stand up to some Barolos.
With a firm tannic structure and a light color typical of Nebbiolo, it shows lots of ripe red fruit, earth notes, and touches of green tea and exotic spices — all combining seamlessly in a well-balanced wine that is simply delicious.
It’s fermented with wild, or indigenous, yeasts and receives a few months of aging in oak barrels. With alcohol listed at 13.5 percent, the wine is a bit lighter than many intense and powerful Barolos, but this is part of what makes it easy to enjoy.
If you haven’t discovered the grape or are looking for an example that you can enjoy right now, it doesn’t get much better than Parusso’s 2018 Langhe Nebbiolo.