Everyday Piemonte

Dolcetto, Barbera & Nebbiolo for Repeat Play
Everyday Piemonte
If you polled wine professionals to discover which region’s reds are on highest rotation on their personal playlist, we’d wager Piemonte would top the charts. Beneath the twin pinnacles of Barolo and Barbaresco, this landscape is strewn with gems for savvy buyers who thirst for brightness, perfume and vibrant structure at reasonable prices.

What makes this pocket of northwest Italy so appealing? Well, you’re practically guaranteed unique personality and a clear sense of place, whether it’s Dolcetto d’Alba, Barbera d’Asti or Langhe Nebbiolo in your glass. With common threads of fresh fruit, savoury appeal, application at the table and life-affirming deliciousness, subtle shifts in structure and mineral nuance between variety and locale keep things endlessly enticing.

The best producers—a category into which all the below fall—take these wines as seriously as they do their Barolo or Barbaresco. Every care is taken in vineyard and cellar to express grape and place and promote pleasure—with the key difference that these bottlings are raring to go at a younger age. Spanning benchmark growers Massolino, Sandrone and Albino Rocca to next-gen custodian Piero Busso and emerging superstar Lalù, the wines below represent some of Piemonte's best, most exciting drinking today.

The Wines

Massolino Dolcetto d'Alba 2022
Massolino Dolcetto d'Alba 2022
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Massolino Dolcetto d'Alba 2022

Screwcap. Traditionally cropped from an ideally positioned 3.2 hectares within the Serralunga postcode, recent vintages also include fruit from Massolino’s Cascina I Maschi vineyard in Monforte d’Alba. The Dolcetto is raised entirely in stainless steel tanks. From a dry, yet classical vintage, this offers a touch more flesh and darker fruit profile than the 2021, yet it’s just as delicious. First produced all the way back in 1896, Massolino only uses its finest Dolcetto fruit for this bottling; the remainder is sold in bulk.

Massolino Dolcetto d'Alba 2022
Massolino Dolcetto d'Alba 2022
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Massolino Barbera d'Alba 2022
Massolino Barbera d'Alba 2022
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Massolino Barbera d'Alba 2022

Screwcap. Massolino’s two hectares of Barbera in a limestone-rich Serralunga vineyard are now complemented by fruit from Monforte d’Alba. The 2022 fermented for 10 to 12 days in cement tanks and was raised in the same vessels for a short period before being bottled and released. The palate is deep and pure, with some powdery tannins and vibrant acidity. The finish is tangy, perfumed and lingering. A super release and another super-value wine.

Massolino Barbera d'Alba 2022
Massolino Barbera d'Alba 2022
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Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021
Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021
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Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021

Screwcap. This wine just gets better and better. Early vintages of the Nebbiolo were sourced exclusively from Massolino’s younger vines in Serralunga—a declassified Barolo, if you like. Today there are two more parcels in play: Monforte’s Cascina I Maschi (Massolino credits this cool, chalky site with giving the wine lifted perfume and freshness); then there’s a parcel in Alba on lighter, sandy-clay soils, which brings depth of fruit. The blend is roughly one-third from each terroir, and there’s little doubt the sum of these three sites has bought even more finesse and early-drinking appeal to what was already an outstanding Langhe Nebbiolo. The 2021 is a gorgeous wine. Ripe yet pure-fruited (mulberry, red cherry, anise) with fine, chalky tannins and a terrific, perfumed finish. Following very gentle extraction, it was aged in large Slavonian oak casks (like all Massolino Nebbiolo) for 15 months, as opposed to 24-plus months for the Barolo wines. To call this a bargain is to undersell what’s on offer!

“Cherry, red fruit, a little almond, light spice, a touch floral with some aniseed. Medium-bodied, fresh red fruits, understated, lively, a little new leather, and a bright finish of good length, with some chalky grip following. Charming. A little bit frisky. Good drinking.”
91+ points, Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021
Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021
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Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021 (375ml)
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Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021 (375ml)

This wine just gets better and better. Early vintages of the Nebbiolo were sourced exclusively from Massolino’s younger vines in Serralunga—a declassified Barolo, if you like. Today there are two more parcels in play: Monforte’s Cascina I Maschi (Massolino credits this cool, chalky site with giving the wine lifted perfume and freshness); then there’s a parcel in Alba on lighter, sandy-clay soils, which brings depth of fruit. The blend is roughly one-third from each terroir, and there’s little doubt the sum of these three sites has bought even more finesse and early-drinking appeal to what was already an outstanding Langhe Nebbiolo. The 2021 is a gorgeous wine. Ripe yet pure-fruited (mulberry, red cherry, anise) with fine, chalky tannins and a terrific, perfumed finish. Following very gentle extraction, it was aged in large Slavonian oak casks (like all Massolino Nebbiolo) for 15 months, as opposed to 24-plus months for the Barolo wines. To call this a bargain is to undersell what’s on offer!

“Cherry, red fruit, a little almond, light spice, a touch floral with some aniseed. Medium-bodied, fresh red fruits, understated, lively, a little new leather, and a bright finish of good length, with some chalky grip following. Charming. A little bit frisky. Good drinking.”
91+ points, Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021 (375ml)
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Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021 (1500ml)
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Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021 (1500ml)

This wine just gets better and better. Early vintages of the Nebbiolo were sourced exclusively from Massolino’s younger vines in Serralunga—a declassified Barolo, if you like. Today there are two more parcels in play: Monforte’s Cascina I Maschi (Massolino credits this cool, chalky site with giving the wine lifted perfume and freshness); then there’s a parcel in Alba on lighter, sandy-clay soils, which brings depth of fruit. The blend is roughly one-third from each terroir, and there’s little doubt the sum of these three sites has bought even more finesse and early-drinking appeal to what was already an outstanding Langhe Nebbiolo. The 2021 is a gorgeous wine. Ripe yet pure-fruited (mulberry, red cherry, anise) with fine, chalky tannins and a terrific, perfumed finish. Following very gentle extraction, it was aged in large Slavonian oak casks (like all Massolino Nebbiolo) for 15 months, as opposed to 24-plus months for the Barolo wines. To call this a bargain is to undersell what’s on offer!



“Cherry, red fruit, a little almond, light spice, a touch floral with some aniseed. Medium-bodied, fresh red fruits, understated, lively, a little new leather, and a bright finish of good length, with some chalky grip following. Charming. A little bit frisky. Good drinking.”
91+ points, Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021 (1500ml)
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Albino Rocca Dolcetto d'Alba 2021
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Albino Rocca Dolcetto d'Alba 2021

Albino Rocca’s Dolcetto d’Alba is drawn from a single vineyard in Barbaresco, a first-rate location with an east to south-east exposure for the most part. The vines were planted in 1960 and 1978. Thanks to the maturity and sensible yields they provide, this wine displays more intensity and texture than many a garden-variety Dolcetto d’Alba. The 2021 was raised in stainless steel for six months.

What a cracking Dolcetto. It's a riot of zest and energy, opening with a lovely interplay of summer berries, violets and spice before intensifying on the palate with a plush texture, deftly partnered with perfumed, juicy tannins and mouth-watering freshness. “Lights out”, indeed.


What a cracking Dolcetto. It's a riot of zest and energy, opening with a lovely interplay of summer berries, violets and spice before intensifying on the palate with a plush texture, deftly partnered with perfumed, juicy tannins and mouth-watering freshness. “Lights out”, indeed.

“The 2021 Dolcetto d'Alba captures all the elegance of this late-ripening vintage. Fresh and aromatic, with striking depth, the 2021 is lights out. A burst of dark red cherry, plum, rose petal and lavender lingers on the impossibly long finish. The 2021 is the best Dolcetto here in recent memory.”
91 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
Albino Rocca Dolcetto d'Alba 2021
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Albino Rocca Barbera d'Alba 2021
Albino Rocca Barbera d'Alba 2021
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Albino Rocca Barbera d'Alba 2021

Albino Rocca’s Barbera d’Alba is a small-volume cuvée from a parcel of vines planted in 2004 on the clay and limestone soils of San Rocco Seno d'Elvio—just outside the Alba township on the edge of the Barbaresco area. This Barbera was raised entirely in tank and bottled early to keep everything vibrant and fresh.

Super-pure aromas of red and blue fruit, chalky minerality and some pepper and anise spice flow from the glass. It’s flush with succulent fruit weight, the compact power cosseted by tightly wound tannins and bracing acidity. The finish lingers with traces of liquorice and spice. Another home run from Rocca in 2021. Add a bowl of ragù, and you'll have a feast.

“The 2021 Barbera d'Alba is another beautiful wine from this vintage at Albino Rocca. Raspberry, freshly cut flowers and spice are all perked up by bright acids. This brisk, delineated, tank-aged Barbera is all class.”
91 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
Albino Rocca Barbera d'Alba 2021
Albino Rocca Barbera d'Alba 2021
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Albino Rocca Langhe Nebbiolo Rosso di Rocca 2022
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Albino Rocca Langhe Nebbiolo Rosso di Rocca 2022

Rosso di Rocca is 97% Nebbiolo with a smattering of Cabernet Franc. The Nebbiolo hails from a vineyard at Magliano Alfieri in the first hills of the Roero region. The vines were planted in 1967 and 2002, and the parcel was purchased by the family in 2016. The Cabernet Franc comes from 20-year-old estate vines in Barbaresco.

Roero’s sandy soils gift a lighter, brighter, earlier-drinking wine than the Rocca Nebbiolo d’Alba—a Nebbiolo party in a glass. The wine’s upbringing (solely in tank) and early bottling helps keep to this theme, and 2022 is another cracking rendition.

It’s super-bright, perfumed and crackling with energy, with a swish of blood orange in front of blue fruits, steely minerality and savoury spices. Succulent and structured, it’s an approachable and harmonious Nebbiolo with fresh acidity, powdery tannins and impressive fruit concentration. A fabulous introduction to the beautiful world of Piemonte Nebbiolo, and superb value to boot.


Albino Rocca Langhe Nebbiolo Rosso di Rocca 2022
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Lalù Barbera d'Alba 2021
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Lalù Barbera d'Alba 2021

Organic. Lalù’s Barbera from fruit purchased from Monforte’s San Sebastiano—a site that Lara Rocchetti and Luisa Sala believe is exceptional for this variety.  Made with a third each of whole-berry (Leroy style), whole-bunch and destemmed fruit, the wine fermented and was raised entirely in concrete, where it aged for eight months. Lalù’s is a radiant, linear, focused Barbera that wafts from the glass with shades of fresh red fruit, woody herbs and floral lift. The palate is silky and vibrant with depth and texture, and while it delivers a serious dose of fruit, you’ll find plenty of finesse and mineral freshness, too. A lovely, new-wave Barbera.

Lalù Barbera d'Alba 2021
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Lalù Langhe Nebbiolo 2021
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Lalù Langhe Nebbiolo 2021

Organic. This vibrant, perfumed Nebbiolo equally blends two sites that were both planted by Lalù. The first site, Roncaglie in La Morra, is a plot of land that Lara Rocchetti and Luisa Sala bought in 2015 and planted in 2017. Looking towards Verduno, this parcel faces east at an altitude of 400 metres. It’s a cool, windy, slow-ripening site. The second source is Bussia Bovi, a sub-Cru within Monforte’s superstar Bussia MGA. Lalù’s parcel is located at 320 metres above sea level, in the south of Bussia, between Bricco San Pietro and the area historically known as Bussia Arnulfo. The soils here are rich in sand, gifting a perfumed wine with supple fruit and great delicacy—the yin to Roncaglie’s yang. The fruit from here fermented as whole bunches and was raised in concrete to retain as much fragrance as possible. Both vineyards could be classified as Barolo (when the vines are of age), which says a great deal about the quality on offer here.

This Langhe Nebbiolo delivers more than most. The 2021 is a juicy, pretty Nebbiolo brimming with vibrant red and dark cherry fruit, anise, florals and some wood spice. In the mouth, the typical austerity of young Langhe is traded for svelte, integrated tannins and supple texture, all supported by mouth-watering energy. 

Lalù Langhe Nebbiolo 2021
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Luciano Sandrone Dolcetto d'Alba 2021
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Luciano Sandrone Dolcetto d'Alba 2021

Sandrone’s Dolcetto is, without doubt, one of the very finest examples of the region. The consistent quality of this wine—its purity, silky texture, fine tannins and balance—can only come with perfectly ripe fruit from top sites. In this case, the sites are also high-altitude, which brings added freshness to the layers of fruit. From estate vineyards in Monforte d’Alba, Sandrone draws from Castelletto and Cascina Pe Mol. The latter sits at the top of the ridge leading from Monforte d’Alba to the hamlet of Perno and is among the highest vineyards of the region. In Novello, there are the Rocche di San Nicola vineyards and the whitish marls of Ravera—where the easterly exposure contributes perfume and aromatic complexity. Joining these sites now is fruit from Rivassi and Crosia in the commune of Barolo. There are typically 10 different parcels contributing to the blend, with any fruit not making the grade sold off in bulk. Each parcel is vinified separately before blending and the wines are aged in tank only.

The amount of care that goes into the growing of this wine is quite remarkable and it shows in the glass. There is some history here: when Luciano Sandrone was starting off, he was driven to produce greatness, yet he could only access a limited quantity of Barolo vines. He, therefore, channelled a great deal of his drive and energy into his Dolcetto (and Barbera). This helps explain the quality on offer. 

“The 2021 Dolcetto d’Alba is bright and punchy. Blue/purplish fruit, violets, spice, licorice and rose petal all meld together in this bracing, taut Dolcetto. This is an especially understated, super-classic style for Sandrone, and it works so well.”
91 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
“The Dolcetto is as dark as night and stains the glass with its intense extraction of color. This richness in color is just the prelude to the ripe and luscious plum aromas that mingle with notes of violets and dried herbs. The palate is plush and full in body with the core of fruit being dominated by black plum and black cherry with a subtle leather note peeking through on the finish.”
90 points, Jeff Porter, Wine Enthusiast
Luciano Sandrone Dolcetto d'Alba 2021
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Luciano Sandrone Barbera d'Alba 2020
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Luciano Sandrone Barbera d'Alba 2020

Sandrone’s layered and polished Barbera is drawn from four sites: Cascina Pe Mol, (mentioned above); Ravera and Rocche di San Nicola (in Novello); and Albarella (in Barolo). At between 350 and 450 metres, these are some of the highest, most exposed vineyards in the region, bringing superb freshness and vibrancy to this wine. To balance the structure and acidity for which this wine is noted, Sandrone matured the wine in 500 litre tonneaux (40% of which are new). The estate has special, untoasted barrels made in Burgundy for this cuvée to ensure the wood impact is as discreet as possible. Of course, when the wine is young, some wood shows through on the nose, but it is seriously classy oak and is hardly noticeable. With aging, the integration is seamless. 


“The 2020 Barbera d’Alba is another wine that shows the greater refinement at Sandrone these days. Even so, there’s plenty of richness in the ripe red cherry, plum, mocha and spice flavors. Soft, silky contours wrap it all together, with a gentle kiss of oak that lingers. The 2020 is an absolute delight.”
93 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
“This is a terrific value wine. Darkly saturated and rich, the 2020 Barbera d'Alba is packed tight with dark blackberry and plum. This hot-vintage Barbera is lovely to pair with grilled meats or easy chicken recipes. This is a luscious, generous wine from Piedmont.”
93 points, Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate
Luciano Sandrone Barbera d'Alba 2020
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Piero Busso Barbera d’Alba Majano 2020
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Piero Busso Barbera d’Alba Majano 2020

The domaine crafts two Barbara wines, both sitting at what we could call ‘the serious end’ of the Barbera spectrum. In a Bibendum setting, this means closer in style to the structured, ageworthy style of Cavallotto, rather than, say, the approachable and seductive character of Sandrone or Massolino. This wine is the more fruit-forward of the two and is drawn from the Majano vineyard in Neive, sitting at 190 metres on sandy clay. The oldest vines here have reached 50 years of age, bringing uncommon depth and vinosity. The wine was matured in stainless steel for 12 months before bottling.

This is superb; bloody and ferrous yet with lovely florals and a pure, dark cherry core. It immediately speaks as to why we love this producer. There’s depth yet great finesse and it’s loaded with character.

This is superb; bloody and ferrous yet with lovely florals and a pure, dark cherry core. It immediately speaks as to why we love this producer. There’s depth yet great finesse and it’s loaded with character.

Piero Busso Barbera d’Alba Majano 2020
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Piero Busso Langhe Nebbiolo 2021
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Piero Busso Langhe Nebbiolo 2021

The Langhe Nebbiolo is crafted from a selection of 10- to 15-year-old vines in the Neive crus of Balluri, Albesani and Gallina. The wine fermented in stainless steel and then aged in oak botti for 12 months before being bottled unfiltered.

This is just a gorgeous, old-school rendition of Nebbiolo. Pale-coloured, medium-bodied, and loaded with red and blue fruits, hints of rosewater, red meat and leather, as well as plenty of powdery tannins. A Nebbiolo to open when you’re in the mood for a Pinot-weighted wine. Gorgeous.

This is just a gorgeous, old-school rendition of Nebbiolo. Pale coloured, medium-bodied, and loaded with red and blue fruits, hints of rosewater, red meat and leather, as well as plenty of powdery tannins. A Nebbiolo to open when you’re in the mood for a Pinot-weighted wine. Gorgeous.

Piero Busso Langhe Nebbiolo 2021
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