Damilano "Marghe" Langhe 2011
I picked this wine up the other day because it stood out to me as a good value. The Langhe region is located in Piedmont, Italy and wines are made with the Nebbiolo grape. Nebbiolo is also the grape used for the world renowned wines of Barolo and Barbaresco, which can be quite expensive. There are a few reasons for their high cost. First, the Nebbiolo grape presents some challenges both in the vineyard and in the winery, so it's not an easy grape to work with. In Barolo the wine requires a maturation of at least 3 years prior to release, and the regions of Barolo and Barbaresco have a reputation for producing outstanding reds. These wines are meant to age and their structure of high tannins, high acidity, and high alcohol allow them to improve in the bottle, usually taking decades to reach their peak. Sounds fancy, no?
There is a loophole, however! The large region of Langhe overlaps both Barolo and Barbaresco, so Nebbiolo that does not meet the standards for these more prestigious areas are declassified to the Langhe region. A Langhe wine will show many of the classic characteristics of Nebbiolo: red fruits, rose, and hay, but it will be less complex and less tannic compared to Barolo, but enjoyable nonetheless.
I spotted the Damilano "Marghe" Langhe 2011 while I was browsing through one of my local wine shops and grabbed it immediately. "Marghe" is the name of the vineyard that the grapes are from. Noting a single vineyard on a label is an indication of distinction, as the wine is from a single, notable site as opposed to being a blend of grapes sourced throughout the region.
The wine showed aromas of ripe strawberry, black cherry, rose, hay, and a gamey note. It's a medium bodied wine and it had flavors similar to its aroma with fresh strawberry and sour cherry giving way to an earthy finish. This wine is great to drink by itself and would also pair nicely with roasted meats and game birds, or rich dishes like risotto. At $18.99 a bottle, it's an affordable and tasty option for Nebbiolo. Next time you're looking for an Italian red, keep an eye out for Langhe!
Damilano "Marghe" Langhe 2011: Thumbs up! Try it.