There is something shocking you should know about this wine. Half of the blend is made from Cabernet Sauvignon, a grape not particularly welcome in a place known for the great wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. These wines are made from Nebbiolo which many locals and wine connoisseurs consider to be the “King” of grapes. Nebbiolo isn’t planted in great quantities anywhere else in the world. It seems to have found its soul mate in the foggy hills of Italy’s Piedmont. So what’s Cabernet Sauvignon doing trying to break up this perfect match?
In the late 70s, the legendary winemaker Angelo Gaja planted Cabernet Sauvignon in the heart of Barbaresco. His father called the action shameful. As a result, Angelo named the wine from this vineyard “Darmagi”, Piedmontese for “what a shame”. As someone passionate about wine and indefatigable in his pursuit to achieve international recognition for his homeland, perhaps he saw it necessary to plant it. However, the action came with much criticism. Some believe that he had betrayed his roots by replacing a native grape with an outsider.
Today Gaja's unconventional wine goes for about $277 a bottle. Think his dad is still ashamed?
Since then, there have been more plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon in the Langhe, but native red grapes like Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto and still reign supreme. Our Lot 60 Langhe Rosso is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Nebbiolo and 25% Barbera picked from vinyards south of the town of Alba. Each varietal was aged separately in French barriques before blending and bottling. In it you’ll find Cabernet aromas of black currant and mint that mingle nicely with the earthy, savory qualities of Nebbiolo and Barbera. After tasting it, you’ll want to run for a rack of lamb or a sliced of aged Parmesan. That’s what I did, anyway.
If you consider yourself a wine “purist” the addition of all this Cabernet may seem like a sacrilege. However, don’t let your preference for tradition blur your ability to discover something new and special. The old way of doing things shouldn’t be the only way. Freedom to experiment and innovate has made our lives better in practically every other facet of life, and the same should apply to wine. Try to differentiate between what’s traditional and just old. Cabernet may not be native to the Italy’s piedmont, but this wine is proof that we are better off that it’s there now. Besides, there are still plenty of traditionally made wines from the Langhe for your liking. Did I mention that our Lot 27 Barbera d’Alba is back too?
Hopefully you will enjoy this “shameful innovation” with your friends and neighbors while it lasts. There are only 500 cases available, so we hope everyone gets a bottle or two before it’s all gone.