Sheb’s Italian Secrets (Volume 1)

This is the first in a series of wine articles I am writing for Berman’s Auto Group. Next Month: Killer Cabs at Bargain Prices.
Some of the greatest wines in the world are made from the Nebbiolo grape which grows in northeast Italy, in a region called Piedmont. Nebbiolo’s most profound expressions can be found in bottles labeled Barolo and Barbaresco, but unfortunately these bottlings can also have a profoundly emptying effect on your wallet. They also can be very austere and rather terse in their youth, so not only do you need to spend a bunch of cash to acquire them, you will also have to exhibit years of patience in order to get to a place where they are able to open their true, magnificent souls to you, until they are ready to tell all their glorious secrets.

Enter The Langhe Nebbiolo.  The Langhe is a larger region that surrounds both of the smaller villages of Barolo and Barbaresco. There are many quality producers in both regions that also produce a Langhe Nebbiolo. A Langhe Nebbiolo rarely costs more than $25/ bottle.

So what are the differences? Nebbiolo from the Langhe sees less oak aging. Italian wine law requires wines that are labeled Barolo or Barbaresco to spend several years in oak. The Langhe will offer fresher, more lively flavors, and no monster tannins that come from that extended stay in oak. It’s a simpler, fruitier (dry still though, quite dry) wine, but a wonderful wine, redolent of dried cherries, fresh mushrooms, tea rose and a bit of leather.

Quality Producers making good Langhe Nebbiolo? Paolo Scavino, Produttori dell Barbaresco, Elio Grasso, La Spinetta & Malvira. A quick decant and these wines are ready to go;  Make yourself a beautiful risotto, fold in some sauteed mushrooms and you have a a very classic regional dinner, a perfect little autumn supper in Chicagoland!

Produttori dell Barbaresco Nebbiolo Langhe $19.99
Paolo Scavino Langhe Nebbiolo $23.99
La Spinetta Langhe Nebbiolo $31.99

All three available at Binny’s


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