You might have heard of Barolo and Barbaresco from the Piedmont region of northwest Italy – and paid upwards of $100 for a special-occasion bottle – but this area has other, less pricey gems using its esteemed nebbiolo grapes. Take De Forville's Langhe Nebbiolo, which can be had for as little as $20 a bottle. We're hard-pressed to think of another wine from any region that delivers more quality for the buck.
Established in 1860 by a Belgian family that had recently migrated to Italy, De Forville is best known for its ultra-classic Barbarescos (ultra-classic meaning extended maceration and no new oak barrels). Made using fruit harvested from younger vines in the Barbaresco appellation, De Forville's Langhe Nebbiolo is essentially baby Barbaresco. The 2009 version is a knockout, with tart cherry flavors, a great earthy note carrying across the palate, and pleasantly rustic tannins. It is complex enough to be served with a serious meat or pasta dish, but light enough to be happily consumed with a hamburger at a summer cookout – and at $20 a bottle, it can be bought as an all-purpose wine. De Forville is represented in the United States by renowned importer Neal Rosenthal, whose impeccable taste has put a lot of sensational wines on our retail shelves over the years. The De Forville Langhe Nebbiolo is one such gem. [$20; sussexwine.com]