Some grapes are just better than others. I’ve written about Nebbiolo several times before, and if you’re wondering why this might be so, I’d like to direct your attention back to the previous sentence. Nebbiolo, also known as Italy’s noble grape, but the fact that “Nebbiolo” and “noble” share most of the same letters is pure coincidence, I assure you.
Grown primarily in the Piedmont region of Italy, there are several designated places particularly celebrated for the grape, the most famous of which are Barolo and Barbaresco. I’ve reviewed both in the past, but today I’m going to review another Barbaresco, because while I may not enjoy it quite as much as Barolo, I did find a bottle for $20. A Pennsylvania Chairman’s Selection, the Terre da Vino La Casa in Collina Barbaresco 2009 allegedly retails for $35, although a quick Google search seems to reveal other places selling it for (or below) the PA price. For shame, Chairman.
But enough of that; let’s get to the wine itself. Pouring a nice shade of ruby red, aromas of cherry were most prominent, as well as blackberry, licorice and a slight hint of orange peel, something I’ve come to expect from Nebbiolo. The palate continued this pattern, adding sturdy wood notes into the mix, but this was about it: surprisingly, the wine didn’t really open up any more, even after getting some time to breathe. Full-bodied and fairly tannic (both positive attributes as far as I’m concerned), this would have paired nicely with prosciutto, parmesan cheese or other such things, but I ended up eating it with kielbasa – which also worked well enough, I suppose.
Ultimately though, I feel this wine lacked the complexity I would have expected from a $35 Barbaresco, albeit perhaps not a $20 Barbaresco. I’ll admit that I probably drank this a bit young (Nebbiolo is famous for its ability to improve with age, and at a mere four years old this wine would still have been a toddler), but I’ve had equally young Barbaresco in the past that has more than pulled its weight, with considerably less reliance on fruit.
I award the Terre da Vino La Casa in Collina Barbaresco thumbs up, in its current form. I can’t really complain, but I can’t effuse either. And since you DO only live once, perhaps you’d do better to seek out another Nebbiolo.