(Langhe pronunciation: Lahn-gae)
The Langhe wine region is a hilly subregion east of the Tanaro River and south of Alba in the Cuneo province of Piedmont. Here there is a long history of vine growing well-established grape varieties. Within Langhe, Italy, are the regions of Barolo, Barbaresco, and Nebbiolo. Langhe is the plural of the local word Langa, which means long and low lying hills representing the characteristics of the subregion. These rolling hills are covered in fog making the top of the hills best for higher end grapes like Nebbiolo and the vineyards at the bottom of the hills acceptable for Dolcetto and Barbera grapes.
Langhe wines can be made as reds, whites, or Rosés depending on the grape varieties used. White Langhe wine typically uses Arneis and Vermentino grape varieties, while red Langhe wines use Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and Barbera. Langhe Nebbiolo is a very popular wine that although similar, usually falls behind Barolo and Barbaresco, but this was not always the case. In 1996, Angelo Gaia declassified all but one of his high-end, pricey, sought after Barbaresco and Barolo wines to Langhe Nebbiolo wines because he wished to add about 5% of another grape variety to manage the acidity. Langhe Nebbiolo allows up to 15% of other indigenous grape varieties whereas Barolo and Barbaresco wines do not.
Langhe wines share many characteristics with Barolo and Barbaresco including a full body, similar floral aromas, bold fruit flavors, and high tannins, acidity, and potential alcohol. However, Langhe wines have no regulations on minimum aging, and are usually aged in botti grandi, which are large Slovenian oak casks, because French barriques are too expensive for this wine. There also exists a sweet Langhe wine that can be produced, but is extremely rare. This junior version of Barolo and Barbaresco pairs wonderfully with charcuterie, steaks, and risotto.
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