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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Wine of the Week: 2010 Ettore Germano, Langhe Nebbiolo


“Fermented beverages have been preferred over water throughout the ages: they're safer, provide psychotropic effects, and are more nutritious.” ~ Dr. Patrick McGovern

I know it's crazy to have nominated two wines of the week, but this wine has so delighted me once again, I thought it deserved time to share the Wine of the Week spotlight.  It would seem the Nebbiolo grape has the correct name as it literally means little fog. Why do I say? That's simple; because from my experience most vino-sapiens find themselves in a fog when it comes to understanding the "grape of kings and the [and what some believe] king of grapes". If you'd like to find out more about the amazing history of this grape, there's a quick tutorial to be found here. 


One of a few funny [not funny ha-ha] things about Nebbiolo is that like Merlot, Chardonnay and other grapes most folks are accustomed to, it's relatively easy to say or ask for in a restaurant. One of the other things I find interesting to note is that not all Nebbiolo is Barolo, but all Barolo is Nebbiolo, which of course is an important distinction to make.  


While it may seem like I'm attempting to be too clever by-half, but hold on. There's a kernel of truth to what I'm saying. So don't run-off. See, to be called Barolo and get that fancy neck-label [its papers] it has to be more than just Nebbiolo. 


It has to meet some aging requirements first, sorry but there's no squishy feel good way to get out of those requirements either. What are those aging requirements? "To earn the name Barolo, the wines must undergo at least 38 months' aging prior to commercial release, of which 18 must be spent in barrel" If you'd like to read more I'm going link to the answer here.

What many have come to know as “Classic” Barolo with the traditional requirement of at least ten years in the cellar to tame those powerful tannins, has seen a shift toward what some call the international style. With some producers moving away from tradition and are moving towards more wines which are more approachable sooner. 


This new direction is of course not without a bitter controversy. There are those who think of themselves as the traditionalist, who believe any attempt to change the face [brand] of Barolo is nothing short of heresy. While the other group, known as the "modernist" [producing a more approachable wine in the short-term] who want to simply cash in on big-score, drink now and drink often crowd. These are wines, for any vino-sapien, who don't have the time or the desire to wait 10 years for those wines to age. If you'd like to read more about this true wine battle I'd encourage you check out this great article.

But at the moment we are going to skip that whole scene by me introducing you a wine you may not be familiar with, that comes from the same great region. You see the wine pictured above is a fantastic representation of what nearly every producer of Barolo does and, that's they make other wines simply labeled as either Nebbiolo d’Alba or Langhe Nebbiolo.

The wine you see above is produced by Ettore Germano. These wines are produced from same grapes that could ultimately be called Barolo, only they're not aged quite as long. The distinction between a Nebbiolo d’Alba and the Nebbiolo which is labeled Langhe is that it's from an even wider geographic area.  If you'd like to learn more about what goes on be-hind the label, here you go.

In my opinion, the wine you see pictured above, is a superb representative of what a wine with soul should taste like. From the first drop to the last splash, it over delivered in finesse and flavor. The color you can see in the glass is amazing, the nose a virtual potpourri of dried red/dark fruits, herbs and leather. After the first slurp, you’ll find this wine to be very generous, slapping your palate with vibrant red-currants, strawberry, licorice, and dried-violets. It has a SRP of $23 and in my estimation well worth the price of admission. 

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