The most popular Nebbiolo-based wines, Barolo and Barbaresco, are quite expensive. Luckily, you can get your cherry, tar, and rose-fix from a few other regions where there are more pocketbook-friendly options. The neighboring regions such as Roero, Gattinara, Ghemme, Nebbiolo d’Alba and Langhe in Piedmont, as well as Valtellina in Lombardy, are made with 70-100% Nebbiolo and offer similar (if not strikingly similar – Roero) flavor profiles to Barolo, with a little lighter tannin and price.
Drink some other Nebbiolo-based wines.
For the most value-friendly option, a Langhe Nebbiolo is a great way to get started. 2015 was a good vintage, and these wines are on the market now. If you didn’t already know, Barolo and Barbaresco are actually grown within the Langhe hills of Piedmont, and some of the Langhe Nebbiolo are made from declassified vineyards. Upon first sip, these wines are substantially lighter on the palate, but from a good vintage, they exhibit the same sexy aromas of cherries, roses, and subtle hints of leather.
For those looking for baby-Barolo, look no further than Roero Riserva DOCG, which requires a minimum of 32 months of aging, including 6 months in barrel. The 2010 and 2011 vintages are excellent places to start.
For those who love Amarone, in the region of Valtellina, there’s a Nebbiolo wine made in a transverse valley that opens up to Lake Como. It’s make with the same grape-drying technique as Amarone della Valpolicella. Sfursat (aka Sfurzato) is usually delicately colored, but rich in texture and red-fruit flavors.
Here is a lot more detail on Nebbiolo if your palate has been piqued.
Create Your Own Comparative Wine Tasting
We created a set of tasting mats that will help you assess wine and create your own wine tastings. The set includes mats for up to 80 wines, instructions on how to create a tasting, as well as a wine aroma wheel.