Inexpensive Nebbiolo can be a difficult thing to locate, so it’s appealing to come across an affordable example such as this humble Langhe from Sobrero. Good Barolos and Barbarescos are so satisfying and complete, I fear a little tasting this wine and being comprehensively dissatisfied.
While this lacks some stuffing, there’s plenty of interest here and it seems quite its own wine. The nose gives up little on opening, slowly releasing iron and blood aromas mixed with prettier florals. These contradictions are the essence of the variety for me, so it’s nice to see them here, and the style doesn’t pander for a moment the way some cheaper Australian wines do, for example. Quite the opposite: this is a fairly uncompromising wine, and it takes a while for any semblance of flesh to build through the mid-palate. When it does, there’s some red fruit mixed in amongst the iron filings, though it’s kept in check not only by more savoury notes but by satisfyingly firm Nebbiolo tannin. One drinks these wines for their structure, and this has a nice lick of drying texture through the after palate.
With a day or so of being open, this does soften a little, structurally, and its reticence reveals itself as partly a function of intensity, or lack thereof. But it becomes more attractive as its fruits dare to sweeten, and there’s a definite lift in expressiveness both aromatically and in the mouth. It ends up a transparent wine and in many ways benefits from a lack of density. The word pretty keeps popping up in my mind.
To be sure, this is a fairly humble wine and I wish it had a bit more of everything. At the same time, I like what’s here very much.