Everyday Piedmont, Parts 1 & 2
Piedmont has so much to offer the curious wine lover. Barolo and Barbaresco are now firmly established among the world’s greatest reds. Alto Piemonte has made huge strides in recent years. But there is so much more to Piedmont beyond those famous appellations and wines. In the hands of the best growers, Dolcetto, Barbera, Langhe Nebbiolo and Piedmont’s other reds and whites deliver the same qualities that have made the region’s top bottlings so coveted. These are artisan wines from family-run domaines that convey a sense of place.
As a young student with no money but a big passion for wine, one of the early lessons I was taught was simple but powerful: “Buy the least expensive wine from the best producers.” That lesson has stayed with me, even after all these years. To me, the sign of a top domaine is that every single wine is superb in its peer group. That’s what readers will find in this article. I tasted many hundreds of wines for this report, about half of which did not make it in. Sadly, there is a lot of innocuous Dolcetto, Barbera and Langhe Nebbiolo out there, some of it made by some pretty well-known estates. Not all producers pay attention to their entry-level offerings. Those that do turn out gorgeous wines that deliver immense pleasure with all of the personality of the top bottlings. best of all, most of these wines remain very affordable. Of course, there are some exceptions, but they are the exceptions and not the rule.
There is a lot to be said for the classicism and old-world soul of a fine Dolcetto. Of all of Piedmont’s red varieties, Dolcetto has fared the worst, as it is seriously out of favor with consumers. Dolcetto is also a fickle variety that does not respond well to sudden changes in climate or the shock events that are increasingly common in today’s world. As a result, Dolcetto is disappearing from the hills of the Langhe. That is quite remarkable, considering that in the 1950s/1960s a hectare of Dolcetto was worth the same as a hectare of Nebbiolo for Barolo and Barbaresco!
“The 2019 Dogliani is a very pretty, understated wine. Silky and floral in the glass, the 2019 impresses with its total feeling of finesse. Rose petal, cinnamon, sweet red berry fruit and cedar are all nicely delineated. This is a laid-back style for Einaudi, but it works well.”
“The 2018 Dogliani Superiore Tecc is another terrific wine in this series from Einaudi. Dried herbs, coffee, menthol and licorice lend notable aromatic complexity. It’s great to see Einaudi going for a less pushed style with this wine. The 2018 has so much to offer. More importantly, it is flat out delicious.”
“The 2019 Langhe Nebbiolo is absolutely delicate, aromatic, light on its feet and yet full of energy. The 2019 delivers in every way. Crushed flowers, sweet red berry fruit, chalk, mint and blood orange give this high-toned, perfumed Langhe Nebbiolo tons of vibrancy”
By Antonio Galloni| Vinous.com
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