I feel pretty confident in saying that Piedmont is at the top of the list if you created a ratio of “quality and intrigue of red wine that many still haven’t discovered” vs price. I’m sorry, Bordeaux, but you’re still widely inconsistent and let’s not even discuss the volume you churn out. I love you, Burgundy, but you’re out of my price range for your better Pinots because you can’t make enough wine. Piedmont is a sweetheart deal.
If you step away from the bulk wines labeled as “Asti spumante” and then the top shelf sweet wine under Moscato d’Asti (Moscato is the grape, Asti is the town or region) which outshines the formers, there’s a lot to discover. Very quaffable Roero Arneis (Arneis is the grape, Roero is the town or region) and bright yet savory Gavi (Cortese is main grape). If you’re tired of Pinot Grigio at any point, these pack it in. When we were with family last year in Connecticut, we hit up Batali’s Tarry Lodge in New Haven. The Gavi on their menu didn’t have a giant markup because it’s lesser known and it was a hit at the table.
But reds get all of the attention in the fine wine world. Barolo and its little sibling Barbaresco are two regions based on the grape Nebbiolo and they typically offer red to red-orange hues like bricks, red fruit, violets, and other subtleties, enveloped with tannin that unwinds the bottles over years. These are your cellar wines but you can drink them short term after some decanting and time.
Dolcetto and Barbera are two grapes that bring you value and good drinking in their youth although quality will vary from producer to producer although the price might not. Let your local shop steer in the right direction.
If you join us tonight at House Wine, you’ll hit the gamut of Piedmont (well, most of it), for only $15. Ca’Rossa is known for bang for the buck wines and we’ll share their Gavi with you. Then it’s off to the reds. Elio Altare is considered one of the best of the region, led today by Silvia Altare. Her limited Dolcetto will be flowing along with their next door neighbor Mauro Veglio’s Barbera. And to keep it neighborly and familiar, we’ll share the Barolo from Mauro’s cousin Gianfranco Alessandria that’s more fleshy and fruited in its youth.
We’re pretty proud of what we offer each week for our Thursday Night Tastings but tonight’s tasting is a culmination of the best producers and great wines, a learning opportunity, and a pretty good deal. If you look at the wine below, this is a bottle of Mauro’s Dolcetto that I shared with my wife in January. Our market wasn’t moving through it quick enough so it became a $10 closeout. The few in the know jumped on this wine but the wide audience of wine drinkers didn’t. We went through our fair share. After tonight’s tasting, you’ll just be adding more to your arsenal to know which wines are steals when the opportunities present themselves. See you tonight!