The 2002 Piedmont Vintage was universally panned. Piedmont 2002 is your Pearl Harbor vintage (the movie, not the event). It sucked HARD. This vintage has serious cooties. Many producers couldn't salvage much from a vintage of heavy rain and hail. The Nebbiolo grape doesn't take kindly to being bashed about and soaked, those with Barbera vineyards fared better. Possibly the worst vintage for 50 years, the 2002 Piedmont range is thin on the ground due to limited production, most bottles occupy wine lists in bars and restaurants.
Why am I telling you about this? Aha! Two reasons. Firstly, and whimsically, I have just sat through 45 minutes of the most horrendous rain and hail storms I've ever seen, which on the 3rd of September in the heart of the Veneto must surely have taken their toll on what is already a trying vintage. Secondly, I'm telling you because in every situation there are winners and losers and with the 2002 Piedmont vintage there are many good wines that are under priced (especially considering the crazy 2004 prices). Try offering a 2002 to a Piedmont fan! The reputation of this vintage is so bad that every wine suffers that carries the year. The upshot of this negative publicity is a very real 40% discount on what these wines might normally sell for. No one wants the plague after all.
If you're loving Barolo and Barbaresco but don't love laying down $75+ a bottle and are looking for wine to drink within this year then 2002 can hold some real bargains. The real bargains with bum vintage wines come at restaurants. I wouldn't personally recommend ordering any high value wines at restaurants but bum vintages can offer the best value and are usually for drinking younger. Below I have compiled a list of the best rated Nebbiolo based wines from 2002 and, where possible, the saving you can make from the 2004 vintage. Prices are contrasted against the same wines from the same online stockists.
Top 5 2002 Bum Vintage recommendations
Pio Cesare Barolo - €23 - Saving of 47%
Reverdito Barolo Moncucco - €20 - Unreal price for one of the best Barolos made in '02
La Spinetta Barbaresco - €40 - Saving of 45%
Ca' Del Baio Barbaresco - €13 - 2004 Vintage retails at 230% more
Albino Rocca Barbaresco - €15 - Saving of 60%
Saving the best till last. Albino Rocca is a legend, to be picking up any vintage of this wine for €15, especially the best Barbaresco of 2002 at €15, bum vintage or not, this is QPR overload.
$22. TWENTY TWO DOLLARS! Snap this up right now. These 2002's are drinking perfectly this year. If you don't normally buy top label wines then this is your chance to get one of the Piedmont's top producers on your Thanksgiving table for TWENTY TWO dollars. I don't want to hear that Barbaresco is not a wine for Turkey, at this price, it's a wine for Turkey! Click here. I'm moving to the states for this bargain!
Don't get me wrong, on the whole these wines are not up to the 2004 or even the 2003 standard, I am not selling you on 2002. The vintage still sucks regardless of the price but the above wines don't suck as much as they could for the price! The 2002's can be hard to come by, not only because of limited production but also because stockists don't want them so when you do find them, and if you find one of the wines listed above, snap it up.
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Bum Vintage bargains! The book says AVOID, but what do you say? There's nothing finer than finding a bargain, what are your bum vintage bargain recommendations?