The other night, the boy on wine was making filet mignon for dinner. I’ve never been a big red meat eater, but these days I welcome the opportunity offered by red meat, which, of course, is the wine pairing. It gives me the chance to drink a more tannic, structured red than I ordinarily would.
So I perused my collection looking for something with big tannins, and came up with this Langhe Nebbiolo 2009 by Produttori del Barbaresco, left over from last year. The label was a little cellar-worn, but otherwise: score.
Produttori del Barbaresco is a highly regarded cooperative in the Barbaresco appellation of Italy’s Piedmont region. Their Langhe Nebbiolo is a second label that can be enjoyed earlier than its older brother Barbaresco, which needs several years of bottle age to reach its peak.
Nebbiolo needs to breathe, so I decanted immediately.
Meat marinating and wine decanting, I set myself to cleaning while listening to Levi Dalton’s I’ll Drink To That podcast. The episode featured Gregory Dal Piaz, editor-in-chief of Snooth. By pleasant coincidence, he happened to mention that Nebbiolo is the grape that probably benefits the most from decanting. I eyed my decanting Nebbiolo happily.
This Nebbiolo nose is rich and complex, with dark fruit, licorice, cedar, and sweet spices. On the palate, it has a gritty texture with firm tannins, yet a juicy core of red fruit, with licorice, herbal notes, and hints of violets. It paired well with the filet mignon, which mellowed out those tannins nicely. Smooth and seductive, it’s one of those wines that rewards patience, as you sip slowly and observe its changes and unfolding layers through the evening.
This is a great introduction to the Nebbiolo grape if you don’t want to shell out for a Barbaresco. Its quality/price ratio is exceptional: the 2010 is currently selling at the SAQ for $22.00 (but it’s almost gone, so act fast).