Rarely do you find the words “affordable” and “nebbiolo” in the same sentence. You probably don’t even see them very often in the same paragraph. For most of us, the idea of an affordable nebbiolo exists in some alternate realm where we all ride unicorns and no one ever goes bald or gray and the weather is always sunny and 75 degrees with no humidity.
Nebbiolo, after all, is the grape upon which Italy’s two greatest, and priciest, red wines are based: Barbaresco and Barolo. The latter, the so-called “king of wines,” is particularly expensive, with good ones starting around $80 and rising into the hundreds.
Now, I love Barolo, one of the handful of wines in the world that I would call profound. I love it so much that when people ask what my favorite wine is, I often exclaim, “Barolo!” And they nod, and say, “Ah, yes. Barolo, of course.” But saying Barolo is a favorite is very much a misrepresentation of my everyday drinking habits. I mean, how often do I drink it? Outside of professional tastings, when I’m buying wine to serve at home or when I order it in restaurants, I probably have Barolo three or four times a year. Maybe five if I’m particularly flush.