January 12, 2005

Produttori del Barbaresco 2002 Langhe Nebbiolo

About $17. Imported by Vias Wines, New York.

As the grape that makes up the fragrant, long-lived reds of Barolo and the gruffer beauties of Barbaresco, Nebbiolo is all too often out of the price range of mere mortals. It's not surprising, given the challenges of its preferred stomping ground, Piedmont, Italy, where rain, hail and cool temperatures often decimate the harvest.

But this one, made by a highly regarded cooperative, avoids the high prices by forfeiting the cachet of the better-known appellations and opting instead for the looser regulations of the generic Langhe name. The result has enough of the grape's hallmark dried spice and dried-cherry flavors backed with dry tannins to fill in for a more expensive Barbaresco - especially next to a nice beefy ragout over tender papardelle.

This recommendation originally appeared in the Denver Post.

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