To put it simply, the Caparone 2005 Paso Robles Nebbiolo has set a new benchmark for inexpensive Nebbiolo in my book. Everything about it, from the surface, is surprising given its origin: the 13.6% ABV, the $14 price, the varietal expression, the attractive rusticity and the complexity. Having been to Caparone's winery about a year ago, though, I can say one should expect nothing less from this producer. Some wines are more rustic and funky than others, but this is old school wine making at its best. No manipulation, no extreme ripeness, no excess new oak. Just honest wine at a fair price.
There's plenty to say, but the key points are as follows. This wine is wildy aromatic, practically exploding from the glass, there is a transparency to its flavors, and there is structure in its firm slightly bitter tannins and acidity. It's a complete wine brimming with character and then some. While this is no substitute for a Pinot Noir, this wine has a lot of the same qualities that make Pinot so attractive (and for a fraction of the price).
- 2005 Caparone Nebbiolo Estate Grown - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso RoblesThis sets my new benchmark for inexpensive Nebbiolo. Light color is a feature, not a bug, as Nebbiolo is never especially dark. The nose is effusive: sweet pipe tobacco, figs, fennel and leather. It just explodes out of the glass. Not as rustic as other Caparones I've had, but not squeaky clean, either. The flavors are wonderful--good freshness of cherry and strawberry with an earthy undercurrent. Fairly high acid, some noticeable tannin on the finish that firms the wine up. The finish goes on forever. This is a medium bodied wine, very pure and delineated in its flavors. 13.6% ABV and $14, unique for a CA wine.