With big-name Barolos commanding a hefty price tag, where can wine lovers go for their Nebbiolo fix? Susan Hulme MW highlights alternative regions of Italy, from Alto Piemonte to Valtellina, where good-value Nebbiolo is worth seeking out...
Nebbiolo has become very popular in the past 15 years, particularly in its most famous expression of Barolo. Just like the leading châteaux of Bordeaux, some of Langhe’s ‘first growths’ have become investment wines. The best have an alluring perfume of dried roses, violets and tar, along with a bright, juicy acidity and assertive tannic backbone, producing taut wines with a fantastic ability to age. These are nervy, exciting wines, that have some of the bewitching perfume of Burgundy but with more edge and tannic bite.
Scroll down for Susan Hulme MW’s top 20 Barolo alternatives
Piedmont’s most famous names – such as Angelo Gaja, Giacomo Conterno, Bartolo Mascarello and Bruno Giacosa – are synonymous with excellence, but the demand for their wines has inflated prices and put them out of reach of many consumers. Conterno’s Monfortino Barolo Riserva 2000 now costs £650 per bottle in bond. Even looking at a more recent vintage, a Bartolo Mascarello, Barolo 2010 will typically set you back at least £350 ib a bottle. The fact is that most of us will never taste these wines.