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Holiday Wine Pairing


Here we are, the end of 2020, and I hope there have been many positive takeaways from this odd year.  My takeaways do not come in the form of how to clean my door knobs properly or what fabric is best for fashion masks.  Rather, they come in the form of discoveries. Of life’s little pleasures and spoils; to find and unearth.

Being in the wine trade, I take the choosing of wine very seriously, and I take great joy in helping people make satisfying purchases.  There is nothing worse than opening a bottle of $30-$40 wine and thinking, “Bullocks, this is so very average.” 

One thing I will say right now: If you want to be adventurous, do not spend $30-$40 on a wine you are unfamiliar with. There are many gems in the $14-$22 range. 

With a plethora of free time on my hands during the Covid autumn, I started to get creative with my exploration of Italian wine. With past scandals in Italy of mixing who-knows-what in bottles, Italian wine laws have become more strict, and the quality of the wine, even moderately priced Italian wine, has greatly increased.  You can now find wines outside of Barolo DOCG or Barbaresco DOCG that are worth writing home about. 

Enter Langhe Nebbiolo.  My new guilty pleasure in wine.  This is not a new wine I have discovered, but yet, a wine that I have decided to spend time exploring and getting to know better.  

Langhe Nebbiolo just happens to come from the area next door to Barolo and Barbaresco, or maybe even from there, but being neither of those famous locales are stated on the label, the price tags are economically approachable.

Langhe Nebbiolos tend to be younger, brighter and fruitier than their big brother and sister, Barolo and Barbaresco. They are meant to be consumed upon release, but can, as well, benefit by time in the bottle. 

My recommendation (and obsession) for this week: 

E. Pira & Figli Langhe Nebbiolo, Chiara Boschis.  This is a low production wine and fairly hard to find.  Minnesota gets about seven cases of this annually.  You can find this at a boutique wine shop but don’t hold your breath on finding a bottle from a big box store. Chet’s Drive-In Liquor in Lilydale, Atomic Liquor in Eagan and Richfield Liquor on Cedar Avenue are currently with inventory of the E. Pira & Figli.

Expect flavors of cranberry and nutmeg, soft but slightly grippy tannins and aromatics of cedarbox, crushed raspberries, tobacco and black licorice.

What should we eat with Langhe Nebbiolo? Well, the old saying, “what grows together goes together,” can certainly be applied here. Any buttery, penne pasta with shaved truffles would benefit greatly with a glass of Langhe Nebbiolo by its side, as well as, an aged, hard and salty Parmesan cheese.  Marcona almonds, Cheez-its and Wiley Wallaby black licorice are a quick, but divine, snack match with the wine, as well.

I hope you are able to try it soon and it may even taste better when shared with a loved one.

Until next time, I am Amber with your Simple Lux Life tidbits and tips and keep an eye out for my blog after the first of the year. 

Cheers all!

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