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Piedmont 2019 reds. Get stuck in

The 2019 vintage in Piedmont bears the hallmarks of a balanced growing season with the best estates producing some excellent wines. While passionate Italian wine drinkers eagerly await 2019 Barolo, today we would like to shine the spotlight on Barbera, Nebbiolo d’Alba and Langhe Nebbiolo courtesy of Luciano Sandrone and Elio Grasso respectively.

Dear Reader,

Italian wine in general can be a very happy hunting ground for the adventurous wine lover. While the different grape varietals across all its regions on the face of it can be overwhelming, if you are happy to let your wine merchant guide you, there is so much reward to be found. Piedmont in particular is a very special place. There is a rich sense of tradition here and very close ties to its agricultural produce.

”Piedmont has so much to offer the curious wine lover…In the hands of the best growers, Dolcetto, Barbera, Langhe Nebbiolo and Piedmont’s other reds and whites deliver the same qualities that have made the region’s top bottlings so coveted. These are artisan wines from family-run domaines that convey a sense of place.”
Antonio Galloni for Vinous | September 2021

Luciano Sandrone Barbera d'Alba 2019
R 395 per bottle

”The 2019 Barbera d’Alba is pure seduction. Silky and plush, with lovely red berry fruit, spice and floral notes, the Barbera is wonderfully expressive today.”
93 points | Antonio Galloni for Vinous | November 2021

Barbera produces wines of plush, upfront red berry fruit that are naturally high in acidity thus making them irresistible youthful reds to drink with or without food. Warmer growing seasons tend to result in riper or ”bigger” styled Barberas, but in 2019 the temperatures were milder and the likes of the Barbera d’Alba from Luciano Sandrone is not to be missed.

Showcased today are two Nebbiolo wines, one from Elio Grasso and the other from Luciano Sandrone. The former is a Langhe Nebbiolo whilst the latter from Sandrone is a Nebbiolo d’Alba. What is the difference?

Nebbiolo d’Alba is produced from grapes exclusively from specific villages in the Alba province. This means that some of the top estates conduct a rigorous selection of the Nebbiolo that goes into their Barolo and what does not quite make the cut goes into their Nebbiolo d’Alba. Langhe is a territorial denomination, therefore Langhe Nebbiolo is a category of Nebbiolo wine based on careful selection of grapes in the vineyard (and the same category applies to Freisa, Dolcetto and Barbera).

Nebbiolo 2019 six-bottle case
R 2,730 per case

Elio Grasso | Langhe Nebbiolo ”Gavarini” 2019 | 2 x bottles

Luciano Sandrone | Nebbiolo d’Alba ”Valmaggiore” 2019 | 4 x bottles

”The 2019 Langhe Nebbiolo Gavarini offers Grasso fans something delicious and affordable to drink on an everyday basis. Sweet pipe tobacco, cedar, spaice and dried cherry open nicely in the glass. This deceptively mid-weight Langhe Nebbiolo packs plenty of punch, especially in its tannins.”
90 points | Antonio Galloni for Vinous | September 2021

”The 2019 Nebbiolo d’Alba Valmaggiore is a bright, sculpted wine that is going to need a few years to come into it own. Bright acids and firm tannins are a bit present today, so a few years of cellaring are a must. The Sandrone Valmaggiore has a track record of ageing well.”
93 points | Antonio Galloni for Vinous | November 2021

”The Luciano Sandrone 2019 Nebbiolo d’Alba Valmaggiore is a beautiful expression of this mighty red grape from the north of Italy. The Valmaggiore vineyard in Roero offers a spicy and accessible interpretation with plenty of wild cherry and blue flower. This vintage also offers pretty layer of crushed white peppercorn. You get terrific complexity and a very food-friendly ensemble at a competitive price.”
93 points | Monica Larner for Wine Advocate | June 2021

We recommend stocking up on these Piedmont 2019 reds and firing up a Winter-time stew. All three wines showcased today offer excellent value for the quality that a region like Piedmont possesses and from two legendary estates.