Eugenio Bocchino Langhe Nebbiolo Roccabella (2009)

Eugenio Bocchino Langhe Nebbiolo RoccabellaItalian (as well as other Euro country) wine labels can be confusing, even for those of us who drink quite a bit of Italian wine. The idea that the wine is typically labeled for the region is especially confusing to Americans used to being told specifically what grapes they are getting in a wine. This can even lead to embarrassing situations.

That said, now that I have become more aware of how the bottles are labeled, I’ve developed a bit of a stereotype about Italian wines that are labeled with the grape name. They must be sub-par wines, I think, otherwise wouldn’t they be given the region name? Think about it – if you see a Tuscan wine labeled Sangiovese, isn’t it natural to wonder why it isn’t named Chianti, or Vino Nobile? Even Toscana IGT would make more sense than “Sangiovese”.

So, when a sommelier recently suggested this particular Nebbiolo as an option, my first instinct was to wonder why this wine – from Piedmont – was neither a Barolo or a Barbaresco. Clearly the winemaker could charge more with one of these prestigious labels, so he or she must not feel it is good enough to warrant that name. (I’m oversimplifying here, obviously.)

I’m glad I let the sommelier convince me otherwise, however, because my instincts were way off. I loved this wine. It had the wonderful earthy, complex, intoxicating aroma that Nebbiolo is known for, yet was also fruity and approachable at a very young age (Barolo especially can feature harsh tannins when it isn’t cellared for a while). In fact, I’d even say that one who isn’t all that familiar with the well-known but very expensive Barolo and Barbaresco wines should start here – where they can get the essence of the grape without breaking the bank. Once a love is established, the famous cousins can be called in.

Now, of course, I am left wondering what other wines I may be ignoring because they are labeled with the grape… Thoughts? Comment below.

Tasting Notes:

Amazing aroma of mushroom, earth, cherries and vanilla spice. Just a fantastic nose – I could smell this wine all freaking day. Taste is a great balance of medium bodied ripe fruits and those earthy notes. A bit of spice on the finish. Wonderful.