The Langhe DOC is located in Piedmont, in the heart of the classic Italian wine region. The area encompasses the smaller DOCG regions of Barolo and Roero, and overlaps with the Barbaresco DOCG region and the DOC regions of Nebbiolo d’Alba, Barbera d’Alba, and Dolcetto d’Alba. Like Piave, and most other DOC regions, there are a number of different grapes that wines under the Langhe DOC are allowed to be produced from. Varietal wines can be made from Dolcetto, Freisa, and Nebbiolo for red wines and Arneis, Favorita, and Chardonnay for white wines. Though this region overlaps with many, more prestigious, growing regions, the region allows for more flexibility than many of the others, which in turn allows for more creativity in the wine-making.
The most common grape to find in Langhe wines, at least in the US, is Nebbiolo (often labeled as “Langhe Nebbiolo”, similar to how white Roero wines are often labeled “Roero Arneis“). Nebbiolo, which gets it’s name from the word “nebbia” – the fog that often settles over Piedmont during harvest, is the rock star of Piedmont and probably the most well-known Italian grape. The grape behind Barolo and Barbaresco, it is widely planted throughout Piedmont; and though it doesn’t match Barbera in quantity, it is universally known for it’s quality. However, because the Langhe DOC overlaps with those other, more prestigious, wine regions (particularly Barolo and Barbaresco), Langhe Nebbiolo’s haven’t always had a great reputation. They are often produced from the less desirable vineyards and grapes, as the best go to the other wines. However, a small number of producers have placed more focus on this region lately, which has resulted in the quality and reputation improving some.
This Langhe Nebbiolo, from the producer Guidobono, has a ruby red color to it, with a tint of orange, very characteristic of a Nebbiolo wine. The nose has aromas of spice, oak, and cherry. It is medium to full bodied, with medium levels of tannin and acidity. Nebbiolo is often known for being big and powerful, but this wine is a bit more reserved. However, the tannins and acidity are very well balanced, which makes this a great, easy drinking, wine. On the palate are more flavors of cherry and spice, along with oak and a hint of vanilla. It has a smooth finish that lingers nicely with a mixture of spice and vanilla.