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  • Writer's pictureJohn Paul Kaminga

A Close Encounter with the Best Red Value Wine

We're huge fans of Nebbiolo, but our favorites tend to be $20+, if not $50+. When you're talking about Nebbiolo, it's usually in the context of the most famous red wines of Piemonte, Barolo and Barbaresco. Those wines are not inexpensive, and they often require years in the cellar to really show what they're all about..... not exactly every-day wine. There is, however, a raft of interesting Nebbiolo coming from Alto Piemonte, and here we've found a perennial favorite in Francesca Castaldi's Pianazze. This wine is always worthwhile, but the 2019 vintage ratchets things up a notch.

Made from less than one hectare of Nebbiolo planted outside the boundaries of the Fara DOC, where the Castaldi winery, and most of the family's vineyards, are located, Francesca's Pianazze takes a lowly vino rosso designation, but we assure you it is highly delicious. The 2019 Pianazze exhibits typical and beautiful Nebbiolo aromas: sweet red cherry, strawberry, rusty iron, wet stones, dried mushrooms, ethereal cedar and licorice, hints of roses and mint. It is lively and fresh on the palate, with juicy fruit, zippy acidity, and satin-textured tannins. This is not at all like Barolo or Barbaresco, rather much more lean and light; the tannins really take control on the finish, but they are far from strong, and when a fine Barolo or Barbaresco would present warm richness, this is all cool stoney goodness, like pure spring water. Hard to believe this is just $15. Only one issue with this wine: there's not much to go around. We have a good stash at the moment, but you should try it soon.

Francesca Castaldi vino rosso 'Pianazze' 2019 - $15

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