2019 Fabio Oberto, Langhe Nebbiolo DOC, Piedmonte, Italy.
This fresh and surprisingly fruit dense all organic Langhe Nebbiolo is a tasty and guilt free with a charming palate of macerated black cherries, plum and earthy currant fruits and snappy herbs, saline, loam along with lingering florals and black licorice. Obviously not as deep or as complex as a Barolo, but a wine that does not disappoint and delivers plenty of varietal character, making for a nice wine to have a casual meal with, considering the price, it is worth grabbing a case to enjoy for the next 3 to 5 years. I have had the wines of Oberto before, but I have not had any of the offerings from Fabio before and I was happily impressed with this new release. This dark ruby and garnet hued wine was even better when it was joined by food, especially grilled steak and hard cheeses, it complimented each bite and added a riper sense of fruit in the mouth and a touch more rose petal, though still showing a bit of umami, grilled orange and good natural acidity, keeping things energetic and balanced. It is good times for Nebbiolo lovers with an exceptional range of quality versions from Piedmonte from tasty bargain wines, like this one to stellar single cru bottlings that absolutely deserve a spot in the top cellars.
The Oberto family started producing under their own label in 1978, and after 22 years working with his father, Andrea, Fabio Oberto has set out on his own and now bottles small production wines with winemaker Sergio Molino under the Fabio Oberto “La Collina di Dioniso” label from sustainable, and mostly organic, vineyard sites the family owns with a focus on Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto, including a full DOCG Barolo from Alba’s La Morra sub region. The Langhe Nebbiolo DOC, 100% Nebbiolo, is grown in La Morra’s Barolo zone with southeast exposures and the classic clay-limestone soils. The Nebbiolo grape clusters are all hand-picked and after rigorous selections are quickly brought to the cellar within a few hours at most for de-stemming and crushing, then the must is fermented with frequent but gentle pumpovers for good extraction and depth of flavors. The grapes see an about eight days maceration period on the skins, after which the wine goes to steel tanks for spontaneous malolactic fermentation. Fabio’s Langhe Nebbiolo ages 6 months in a combination of used oak barrels and partly in stainless steel tanks, plus another two months in bottle before leaving the winery. Everything is done to make this medium bodied little Nebbiolo as pleasing and easy to love upon release, and Fabio has succeeded in this vintage, making a delightful and value packed wine to enjoy in its youth.
($24 ESt.) 90 Points, grapelive