Last week’s 2016 Barolo was one for the cellar… here is the baby version, Italian Langhe Nebbiolo with all its rustic, brickish charm, ready to drink now. Giovanni Rosso’s Langhe Nebbiolo from the warm 2017 vintage is a delicious, generous, and brooding example of Italy’s king grape Nebbiolo. Langhe is the wider DOC zone of Piedmonte, south of Alba and encompassing Barolo DOCG and Barberesco DOCG, amongst other villages.
Nebbiolo is a fascinating variety. Italy’s late ripening answer to Pinot Noir, loaded with red fruits, black cherry, spice, tar and roses, but delivering more oomph, earth and tannin. It grows in the cooler parts of Italy, the north and north west, on the foothills of the Italian Alps, where it routinely ripens until October. Barolo is where it reaches its highest qualities, and Giovanni Rosso has almost all of his vineyards in this appellation. The fruit for this Langhe Nebbiolo is from some younger vineyards in the Barolo town of Serralunga, and from sites in the nearby Roddino.
As we discussed last week, Davide Rosso (owner and winemaker of Giovanni Rosso) is a traditionalist and wants his wines to be a perfect copy of their terroir, their vineyards and vintage. He ferments in cement for purity and ages in large 5000L oak barrels. Ageing for this wine is only 6 months, to capture freshness. 2017 is warm and in general it will not be a vintage to collect and laydown Barolo, however it becomes a good vintage for the earlier drinking Langhe Nebs. Gary Walsh at the Wine Front sums up the efforts best, with “plenty of flavour here, and a fair amount of Serralunga character too. Dark cherry, red fruit, liquorice, some earth/clay aromatics, plus a little spice. It is fleshy, plump in fruit, even flow, a good mix of bass and treble, a bit of ‘mineral’ to the acidity, fine powdery tannin, and some oomph on the finish. Heaps of enjoyment in the glass.”
The wine is light in the glass with the trademark brickish/ amber hue. Looks can be deceiving though, as it packs aroma, power, and tannin. Whilst lighter than the Barolo, it is a juicy, medium bodied mouthful of wine with plenty of tannic structure. Drink now and over the next few years and enjoy with almost any cuisine, though steering away from chilli and spice.
Tom and Dan