food and beverage underground

Nebbiolo Love at First Taste

I don’t believe in love at first sight, but I do believe in love at first taste...... and it was only a taste I needed to fall in love with Nebbiolo. In my opinion Nebbiolo is the greatest and in someways most versatile of grape varieties, no other variety can produce such a simple and fruit driven wine that can be enjoyed by itself on a hot day and at the sime time produce a wine so bold and gutsy with such tannin that it can rival the greatest Bordeauxs.

Nebbiolo is one of the over 2,000 native grape varieties of Italy. While Nebbiolo is believed to have originated in Valtellina, its true home is in Piemonte where is has given birth to two main and distinctive styles, Barolo and Barbaresco. Barolo boasts tannic and rich wines that can age for well in excess of 30 years. While Barbaresco gives birth to ellegant and equally concentrated wines that while also extensively ageable, become approachable at a much younger age. With aging these wines take on notes of tobacco, truffles (the claim to fame of Piemonte) and really begin to express there terrior. Nebbiolo is widely grown in the rest of the langhe, and produces other amazing examples of the grape.

I first worked with Nebbiolo 3 years ago and in my experiences, it is a far and away more obstinate variety, even than Pinot Noir to make. It is even more succeptable to oxidation than Pinot, somewhat due to its thin skins, but over time can extract incredible tannins. Traditional winemakers from the region may leave wine on skins for up to three months.

While I love Nebbiolo, it is more specifically the Nebbiolos from Barbaresco that I adore. Barbaresco can thank much of its image and developement to one man, Antonio Gaja. It was Antonio that first began to realise the full potential of Nebbiolo and transformed it from a badly made table wine to the beauty it has become today.

From Nebbiolo Wine to Burgundy Wine

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