I have been thinking about these two Nebbiolo wines for many months now.  I have tried each wine at least a couple of times, and I am reflecting on this great thing called Nebbiolo, the grape which is used to make them.  We have for consideration two very fine, and relatively affordable, examples.  One hails for Barbaresco, from one of the biggest and most renowned producers, Produttori del Barbaresco.  The other from further north, from the less well known Carema, and the Produttori di Carema.  Both are 100% Nebbiolo.  Both hail from the 2006 vintage.  Both are classics.  And both are screaming bargains.

The Produttori’s are sort of an alliance of growers which all contribute their grapes/wine to produce wine under the ubiquitous labels of their respective regions.  It’s what the French might call a wine cooperative.  In other words, a collection of growers who make wine together.  In all of Piemonte (Piedmont), there is no more famous Produttori than Produttori del Barbaresco.  They produce not only a Langhe Nebbiolo, but a Barbaresco, and in great vintages, a wide range of single vineyard Riserva Barbarescos.  They are very highly regarded wines across the board and they are often cited as the most successful Produttori in all of Italy (and perhaps the world).  And then there is Produttori di Carema.  Located in a very northerly situation, it does not enjoy the reputation for Nebbiolo that has brought renown to the Barolo and Barbaresco.  But it would be very foolish to overlook the Nebbiolo wines from the Carema, or other great areas like Boca, Ghemme, Gattinara, etc. in Piemonte.  Some of these so called “mountain Nebbiolo’s” can not only be some of the most elegant, perfumed, and longest lived Nebbiolo’s, but can also be relative bargains compared with your Barolo/Barbaresco price points.  Everyone who thinks that they know anything about fine wine bangs on about Burgundy, I would love to see what Burgundy brings at these prices.  Nothing even close.  That’s what.  But don’t get me started…

Cantina dei Produttori Nebbiolo Di Carema 2006 ~$22.00

This is classic Nebbiolo.  Text book.  And affordable.  Perfumed lavender, cocoa, balsamic, and fresh leather mingle with a nice amount of acidity.  This is drinking now, but should easily hold and improve for 5-10+ years.  Cheap and classic, how can this be?  Give this 30 minutes to open or the decanter treatment for ultimate enjoyment.  Available at Frankly Wines and Astor Wines.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – EXCELLENT VALUE

Produttori del Barbaresco 2006 Nebbiolo  ~$32.00

The wine is youthful upon opening.  Plum and lavender and lite spiced perfume.  Its almost too ripe still (for a Barbaresco), its pretty, but with further patience it should only improve.

Cut to day two, the youthful plum/lavender fruit is now sharing the driver’s seat with some acidity and tannin which seemed a bit lacking at first, and it’s banging.  There is now spice and leather and everything nice.  It’s pointing in the right direction, but this one needs time.  I am thinking 5 years would be a good starting point, but 10+ will surely be better.  Either open 24 hours in advance or check back in on this from 2015 onwards please.  Available at Astor Wines.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – GOOD VALUE