MCF Rare Wine Ltd.

Vallana Campi Raudii 2006 --

Ten Year Old Nebbiolo

Certain things come along in life that just seem like they're tailor-made with you in mind.  Loosely speaking, most everything Vallana makes would fit into that category, but today's wine is like something a guy like me would have dreamed up as the perfect thing to both drink and sell.

I've been celebrating the glory of Vallana's Gattinara for many years now, but today we're talking about their little gem known as Campi Raudii.

From the great 2006 vintage, this is a cuvee of Nebbiolo (90%) with the remaining 10% being dashes each of Uva Rara and Vespolina.  This is classic Alto-Piemonte that, considering the very fair price, offers a lot of character and aging potential.

Since older mountain reds from Italy have been discovered by us American drinkers, the word has gotten out on just how long these wines will last (and how good they get in the process).  You'll even find bottles of the Campi Raudii, which is a modest little Vino da Tavola, dating back to the '50s hanging around -- and they're great!

So what does it taste like now?

Well, even though it's already got a decade under its belt, it's still quite tightly knit.  On the nose, the airy red fruits show hints of tobacco and minty-ness on the edges and are anchored by the firm, green aromas that youthful Alto Piemonte typically shows.  That's the Vespolina, with its electric acidity, peeking through.

On the palate, there's a lot more stuffing than the nose would suggest.  The red fruits are suspended over a backbone of surprisingly burly (in the context of Northern Piedmont, of course) tannins and there's a great dirty earthiness on the finish before the acidity kicks in.

The wine will evolve in the glass over hours, allowing the sweet, pure reds fruits to really emerge and, in the process, revealing all kinds of mountain-y depth and complexity.

It's another great option to reach for with your more delicate and earthy Fall fare.

Or you could just bury your bottles of it under a tall stack and forget about them for another 10 years and you'll get into the super-elegant, nuanced phase that real hardcore mountain-red fans like.

Either way, you're getting a classic wine experience for under $20.

So you've got that going for you...which is nice...

Matt Franco

MCF Rare Wine, Ltd
237 West 13th Street
New York 10011