The tag at left is affixed to the capsule of the 2008 Renato Ratti Nebbiolo d’Alba, a wine I discuss in a column to appear in the Globe Food pages at the end of October. It’s a beauty, by the way.
The theme of the column is how to use a simple technique well known to cagey enthusiasts to get elite wine quality – or something close to it – without spending elite wine money.
If you don’t know it, the trick is to seek out producers with vineyards adjacent to or near, but not within, cru sites and focus in on the ones known to be both conscientious and ambitious. Their wines can’t fetch cru prices, but are almost certain to punch above their weight.
A variation on this theme involves checking for second or third wines made by top producers: a Cotes-du-Rhone from a champ Chateauneuf-du-Pape property for example; or, as the column counsels, a nebbiolo d’Alba from a star Barolo or Barbaresco producer.
Unearthing values like these is easier if you have a steady connection to the staff at a good local wine shop. They’re the ones who can alert you to the simple Bourgogne that’s “a baby Meursault.” Why? Because (a) it’s the kind of they want to drink themselves and (b) it’s the kind of wine they can afford.
Learn from them.
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