Archive for ‘Nebbiolo’

January 5, 2020

Giovanni Rosso Langhe Nebbiolo, 2016

Giovanni Rosso Langhe Nebbiolo, 2016

I think Anthony Gismondi said that Cab Sauv drinkers should navigate towards Nebbiolo.  That was a Doh! moment for me; of course they should–why I’ve never said that myself is a conundrum…  I think, however, the acidity and tannins are not so similar, and while the average California Cab Sauv is “remarkable” from first sip, the average Nebbiolo is a wait and see and, if decent, an ooh-la-la.


This is a red that opens up.  There is no James Bond caper on the first sip; it’s more of a subtle start, Arvo Part minimal leading to a Handel’s Fireworks halfway through.  This is a two-bottle wine; at the last sip you will simply want some more.


There is a lot to be grateful for here in the New Year that you can still source a wine of this calibre (IN BC, at the BC government stores) for under $30.  When we started this blog x-teen years ago the bar was $20.  Tax has done us in on that score.


Although not as 100% food friendly as the Vajra Barbera we’ve waxed on about here previously, or as assertively Italian as the Vajra Nebbiolo, the Langhe is value, comfort, balances the acidity delicately and has a lighter, more Pinot-ish flair than the Vajra.


Price: $29 at BC Liquor stores.


Market Liquidity: The ultimate fireside winter sipper.

December 19, 2019

GD Vajra Langhe Nebbiolo, 2017

Vajra Nebbiolo

If we drank one Vajra Barbera this fall we drank 100.  See us falling in love all over again here.  There is no more flexible red at the dinner table.


This, the Nebbiolo, is more expensive.  So, let’s call it what it is: The Nebbiolo is better, smoother, has fewer tannins, is gorgeously juicy, refined, elegant, a little suave, and also a little too polished perhaps.  While you can score it for $30 in QC, it will set you back over $40 in BC.  If you can find it.


This is a wonderful wine; serve it to guests; impress them.  No one will complain.  But for our tastes, for the glorious slightly rough around the edges hugely food friendly Barbera, we’ll stick with the common cousin, despite the measly 89 points awarded by Gismondi.


Price: $43 at Kits Wine Cellar but with a 10% half case discount a better price than many proud BC reds.


Market Liquidity: A stellar older sister to a more in your face kid brother, we’ll take the Barbera thanks.

November 20, 2018

Sartirano Figli Cantine e Vigneti Piemonte, 2015

This is a smooth, nearly tannin free red, with juicy tree fruit accents and a delectable smoky finish.  Oak but not too much.  Some Nebbiolo grabs you by the throat and never lets go.  This is more gentle persuasion.  We especially liked the low-ish alcohol content.  It sipped brilliantly, evocative as it opened, but was a bit of a shrinking violet with red meat.


Here’s the thing: Browse a bit online and you will find plenty of dissatisfaction, adjectives like sour, disappointment, undrinkable.  A mere two stars over at the Sunday Times wine club.  Yet nearly 10 stars in Denmark.  Then only three stars at an Italian blog.  So it goes.  Perhaps we scored with the 15?


Price: Gifted, but in the 30 range at private wine stores. With 60% consumed in Europe, you’re unlikely to find it handily on the West Coast.


Market Liquidity: Likeable but not lovable.

February 16, 2016

Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 & Rosso Langhe Nebbiolo, 2012

OK, so in keeping with the Vancouver Magazine review theme, see our other comments here, two more reviews which, ultimately, drove us to wines not on the Vancouver Mag list…

Langhe Nebbiolo, Giovanni Rosso, 2012

Langhe Nebbiolo, Giovanni Rosso, 2012

Simply put not worth the price. But quite good (when compared against other Italian reds at BC Liquor). I would say, in my humble opinion, that if you must drink Italian wine in Vancouver, then you’re better off with Chianti, as the range, prices and options are more diverse. If you are buying this thinking you are getting a Barolo, at one-third the price, you are delusional. If you are hoping for something more approachable (young) than a Barbaresco, I’d say this is not Langhe’s finest moment.


For a better description of why you might buy Nebbiolo, see a wonderfully succinct intro article over at the New York Times.


Price: $26.99 (with tax $31.04) at BCL

Market Liquidity: Some of the hits of its tony cousins, but none of the peaks.


Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012

Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012

So smooth it’s glib. A crowd pleaser if ever there was one, but you won’t catch me lining up for an Apple release, the Star Wars franchise or playoff tix. And that’s all you can really say about this enormously, overwhelmingly populist wine, which drinks like velvet but has nothing memorable to say about itself or the varietal except that it will please in droves. When you’ve bought your Banana Republic jacket, your Club Monaco khakis, your Aldo shoes, your Foot Locker kicks, your Abercrombie underwear, your Fossil watch and want to cap it off in keeping with a generic wine which will offend not a soul, cin cin.

Price $24.99 (with tax $28.74) at BCL

Market Liquidity: Socially acceptable.

January 27, 2016

Ca’ Rozzeria Barolo, 2010

Who’s opened the 2010 so early? Shurely shome mishtake? Alas, this is not an honorable mention in the Barolo Hall of Fame.

Ca’ Rozzia Barolo. 2010

If you equate rich, tannic, heaviness with Nebbiolo, this will sorely disappoint. If you are just wine curious, this is hugely satisfying. Overtly fruity. Assertively fruity. Think Rip Taylor tossing confetti with his wig just a tad askew. Intensely light and cherry slash currant slash pomegranate fruity. For the life of me I couldn’t place the varietal blind. With four hours air after decanting this was like a New World Pinot Noir. Delicious, yes. Barolo, classic Barolo? No. It was not wrong to open.


Price: A thrifty $19.99 USD before the CAD tanked.


Market Liquidity: When terroir is a bit of a tease.