Food and Drink: A taste of Piedmont

Ceppi Storici 1990, pounds 4.89, Winecellars, London SW18 (081- 871 2668). An affordable example of fresh and fruity quality barbera; lively fruit tinged with cinnamon spiciness.

Dolcetto Pria S Francesco Croera 1991, Voerzio, pounds 6.99, Oddbins. Vivid ruby red, a pure, raspberryish, almost pinot-noir- like dolcetto from one of the Langhe's up-and-coming stars.

Vignaserra 1989, Voerzio, pounds 10.99, Oddbins. Voerzio's new- wave blend of barbera and dolcetto produces a gently smoky aromatic note, and rich, soft fruitiness on the palate.

Oddero 1989 Barbaresco, pounds 9.95, Luigi's Delicatessen, London SW10 (071-352 7739). From a traditional family grower, this is as delicate as barbaresco can be, already drinkable with delicious soft, cherryish fruitiness plus power and backbone.

Barolo 1988, Ascheri, pounds 7.49, Oddbins. From a fine vintage and one of the region's most successful producers of accessible barolo, this wine has a subtle aromatic spiciness and vibrant nebbiolo fruit.

Rocche dei Manzoni 1985 Barolo Riserva, Bricco Manzoni, pounds 18.95, Luigi's Delicatessen. Just starting to ease out of a coat of tight tannins, the bouquet of this fine barolo is sweetly perfumed and tarry, the fruit showing the richness, muscular power and complexity of a fine barolo, still with years of life ahead of it.

Bussia Soprana Barolo 1986, Aldo Conterno, pounds 19.29, Winecellars. Recession, what recession? A combination of one of the great producers and one of barolo's best sites has produced an outstandingly aromatic, rich and complex barolo, just beginning to get into its stride. Not claret, but a great wine.

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