Posted by: tomciocco | February 10, 2013

NOBLE NEBBIOLO CARRYING A LUNCH PAIL

The name of the grape that permits the existence of such spectacular and spendy wines like Barolo, Barbarseco, Gattinara and others always plays a supporting role to the names of these and other prestigious appellations around Piedmont. But in fact, the Nebbiolo grape is ubiquitous there, contributing its charms to blends, as well as being made into more “blue collar” wines like this one.

Wines like  Nebbiolo d’Alba have become more popular in the market, as the prices of these big name appellations continue to swell, by producing far less expensive wines that frankly are much more accessible and less quirky. Lots of folks who spend $60+ dollars for Barolo would probably prefer a $20 Nebbiolo bottling if the status aspect of Barolo et al. wasn’t driving the tractor, if you will.

This wine is designated a “Langhe” which is a name that refers to the greater area that contains some of the prestigious names mentioned above, and which also denotes a D.O.C. in its own right that can produce a large range of red and white wines, one of which is a pure Nebbiolo like this one. This one particular one however, is made by a concern that might lead you to want to give highest honor to workers worldwide this May Day, namely, Produttori del Barbaresco.

Produttori del Barbaresco is a wine co-op. Europe is full of them. Typically they are collections of small, private producers that pool resources to reduce costs, agree to certain production standards in terms of overall quality, and make wine collectively, and that’s more or less how things work at Produttori. Most co-ops make serviceable to good wine, but not many are making wines of real distinction. But then there are co-ops like Produttori del Barbaresco… This bottling single-handedly represents their introductory “line” which is followed by a basic Barbaresco, and then capped with 9 premium, single-vineyard cru wines that in my opinion can compete with the best private, pricey producers’ wines at more proletariat prices. For me, in this wine Produttori makes a style that is nothing short of a veritable schoolroom in a bottle, deftly teaching the ABCs of the Nebbiolo variety as well as the Langhe terroir with real style, and at price inside almost any citizen’s budget.

With this salt of the earth Piedmontese wine I made food to match – a leek risotto to start, with a main course of chicken parts stewed in a piquant liver, sage, and wine sauce, with a casserole of oven roasted fennel to accompany…

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Produttori del Barbaresco Langhe Nebbiolo 2010

Slightly pinkish, deep ruby color. Forthright and even nose of blackberry and raspberry fruit, marzipan, flint, brine, tomato leaf, dried rose petals, and hints of wood smoke and  pungent spices. The medium-full body has a smooth, silky texture with a chalky, sweetly austere tannic structure, tart acidity, and clean and honest flavors of grilled peach, cherry, and strawberry fruit, violet, and hazelnut. Long, earthy sassafras finish.

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