Langhe Nebbiolo Uncorked: 2010 Ettore Germano

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

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 an understanding the "grape of kings and the [and what some believe] king of grapes." If you'd like to find out more about the fantastic history of this grape, there's a quick tutorial to be found here.

It's entertaining to note that like Merlot, Chardonnay and other well-known varietals most folks are accustomed to, it's relatively easy to say Nebbiolo or ask for a bottle in a restaurant. It rolls off the tongue rather easily, compared with asking for some Greek wines.

One of the other things I find interesting to note is that not all Nebbiolo is Barolo, but all Barolo is Nebbiolo. On the cusp, it may appear that 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 be awarded the neck-label it has to be more than just Nebbiolo. It has to meet some aging requirements first and being from one of the recognized communes of Barolo. What are those aging requirements? What does it take to earn the name Barolo, the wines must undergo at least 38 months' of aging before commercial release, of those thirty-eight months, 18 of those months must be spent in a barrel at a minimum. Then there's another plot twist to the story, enter Barbaresco Nebbiolo di Langhe oh-my. So much to see and do; but if you'd like to read more about the subject, here's a link.

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 traditionalists, who believe any attempt to change the historical image [brand] of Barolo is nothing short of heresy. While the other group, known as the quote on quote 'modernists' who believe in producing more approachable wines for short-term success, or producers simply seeking to 'cash-in' via a big-score from well-known critics.

Wine consumers, err, or what I like to describe as vino-sapiens who don't have the patience to wait (the recommended) ten years for traditional styles of Barolo to age, may actually want or be open to wines which are ready to drink sooner, rather than later. Which is why wines like the one in today's review fit the profile of the (my now familiar catchphrase) "drink now and drink often" crowd; a bridge if you will, to choose between traditional and modern international styles. If you'd like to read more about this intriguing cultural shift in approach to making wine in Piedmont, I'd encourage to check out this great article.

But at the moment we are going to skip that whole scene by introducing you this wine, one you may not be familiar with, that comes from the same fantastic region. You see the wine pictured above is an excellent 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 produced by Ettore Germano is from the same varietal, but necessarily the same grapes that could ultimately be called Barolo. One distinction is they're not aged quite as long, and perhaps it's not their best vineyard blocks either. Another difference 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 behind the labeling requirements, here you go.

The wine you see pictured above is, in my opinion, a superb representative of what wines with 'soul' should be. 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, the finish long and gratifying. It has an SRP of $23 and in my estimation well worth the price of admission.

Our mission at the Cuvée Corner Wine Blog is wine, wine-travel, wine-pairing, and tasting discovery, making the complex knowable. To make wine more accessible to the masses. To shine a light in the dark cellars, uncovering wines which fit our favorite catchphrase "You can pay more, but you seldom get more." Life is short, drink like a prince on a paupers budget, drink wines of place and learn why wines of effort are just that. That's all for today folk, until next time, remember life is short, so sip long and prosper cheers!

Full Disclosure: The wine in this review was sent as a sample for the review process.


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