Saturday, March 29, 2014

Vietti Langhe Nebbiolo Perbacco, 2010

After giving me a sip to make sure the wine was not corked, the waiter at Rustica in Kalamazoo decanted this wine through an aerator. The next (aerated) taste was significantly better. This wine is definitely young, and I would not hesitate cellaring it for a decade or more. But it is drinking beautifully right now.

Perbacco is my favorite Nebbiolo and, although a bit pricey at about $21 to $25 a bottle, one of the best wine values on the market today. Made from excess grapes from Vietti's Castiglione Vineyard, it is basically a baby Barolo. If it were to carry the Barolo designation that it deserves, it would cost at least twice as much.

At Rustica, Perbacco is an even bigger bargain since the restaurant offers bottled wine at 50 percent off when ordered before 6:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. So this bottle, one of many vinous treats to help celebrate my 75th birthday, cost only $21, a few dollar less than retail.

One thing I love about Nebbiolo wines from the Piedmont region of Italy is their versatility. The high tannins are accompanied by an equally high level of acidity--allowing both power and finesse. Perbacco is a perfect match for my hanger steak with wine reduction sauce; and it also goes well with the fish soup ordered by my wife.

The color is a bright, deep ruby red with saturation all the way to the rim. The trademark Nebbiolo aromas of dark cherries, anise seed and flowers are tantalizingly slow to unfold but always there. The same is true of the flavors. Beautiful acid/tannin/fruit balance. Drinks like a Pinot but with Barolo potential. Still young. Very long finish that will become even longer and more complex as the wine matures with bottle age.

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