Is expensive wine always worth it?
Northern Italy is the spiritual home of Nebbiolo, the noble red grape used to make some of the world's most exquisite and renowned wines like Barolo and Barbaresco. As with all highly revered grape varieties, there are winemakers from all around who have fallen in love with Nebbiolo and made it their mission to try and replicate the magical wines it is known to produce. In doing so, we now have a variety of Nebbiolo-led wines of different styles, from different regions and at hugely different price points.
Today we're comparing two wines, one on the slightly cheaper side from Baja California in Mexico (£15), with a classic Barolo from Northern Italy (£55). But is the Barolo really worth the money? Have a look below to see what conclusions we came to. Oh, and in case you were wondering, there is also a special offer available on both wines.
The L.A. Cetto vineyards are located at 300m altitude which is relatively high and means cooler nights and a longer growing season which in turn means better colour concentration and firmer tannins.
L.A. Cetto this is the largest wine producer in Mexico, which does hamper our interest a bit. Being the largest wine producer in Mexico, means that the vines are most likely machine harvested and does explain why the price is quite low, and you are probably getting more residual sugar in the wine, which is usually an easy way of improving the flavour.
Aged for 14 months in barrel, but this wine is definitely more fruit forward than the Barolo, which means it tastes sweeter and juicier. Whilst the initial taste is quite jammy, the finish is relatively short and it almost makes us think that if we did a blind taste of this wine we'd be closer to guessing Malbec than Nebbiolo.
Superb value, totally drinkable but not really what you'd normally expect from a Nebbiolo. Great for easy going parties, barbeques and for times when you're not trying overly to impress.
Barolo, Eraldo Viberti, Piedmont 2010
£55 per bottle
The tiny 6-hectare property is in the picturesque village of La Morra, in Piedmont, Northern Italy. This particular area is known for producing Barolos with a little less ferocity when they are young.
Eraldo Viberti is the winemaker and the wines are aged for 30 months in large barrels and racked without any other filtration or fining, a classic biodynamic approach to winemaking. All grapes are handpicked and he personally oversees all the work in the cellar. He's been making these wines for over 30 years.
Classic Barolo, in being the most fruit forward and full-bodied of all the Nebbiolo-producing regions and this is exactly what we get this wine. A rose-like delicateness in the aroma, but a gentle wallop when you taste it with the tannins really taking control. This wine is so beautifully made and with a little age behind it (2010 vintage) that it doesn't really need any decanting, it's ready to go from the bottle.
Barolo Eraldo Viberti is a triumph and shows that patience in making this great wine will always be rewarded. When quality matters, there is no substitute for the real deal.