Indigenous Nebbiolo d'Alba 2012
Region: Alba, Piedmont
I've been looking for a "Baby Barolo" for some time, specifically a Langhe nebbiolo for around $20 that I could share with you. Nebbiolo is the grape in Barolo, lovingly known as the King of Wines, and Barbaresco, his queen, wines named for the place in which they're grown. Langhe is further north, without the prestige of royalty, but capable of producing perfectly delicious nebbiolos for drinking now. While I couldn't find a Langhe, or a Boca or Gattinara (also places in northern Piedmont making moderately priced nebbs), this one from Alba kinda checked the box.
Last week, I wrote about co-operatives, in part as a reaction, or rather as support for my recent interview with André Tamers of De Maison Selections, who noted the reign of co-ops in Rioja and Spain in general, but he also mentioned private labels and how they mediocritize a region by flooding the market with cheap examples of said place. Indigenous isn't a co-op, but it is a private label, yet one with some integrity, so far as I can tell. Actually, it's quite the genius business move for Giorgio Rivetti, the international sales arm of his family's La Spinetta empire, that he created his own import company to move the wines from Piedmont and Tuscany to the US, effectively bypassing the middle man. Normally I'd curl my lip at this project, but I bought it from the reputable Bin 428 on Magazine Street, which carries some excellent selections, and after a little research, discovered that the vineyards are farmed without chemicals of any kind. I call that sustainable farming plus. Indigenous Selections also imports some beautiful wines I've had and loved and selected for The Vine Club collaboration with The Carriage Wine and Market, each producer focusing on indigenous Italian varieties that reflect terroir and place.
Indigenous Nebbiolo d'Alba 2012 is a good value, with cherry notes on the nose and palate, decent acidity and breadth across the tongue. The tannins are on the light side, which lends it to more versatile food pairing. Good finish, excellent with a meaty tomato sauce.