Piedmont: Home to the Italian Grape Nebbiolo

My work in the wine business during the last 15+ years has gifted me the ability to travel to Italy. Long, winding roads, flanked by an endless sea of vineyards and farms, are common in Italy’s countryside. I have reveled in this bucolic beauty many times, but particularly when I visited Piedmont: home to the Italian grape nebbiolo. A lesser-known wine region, Piedmont is still tucked away from the massive crowds, unlike some of the larger wine areas. I like to venture to off-the-beaten-track places to uncover these hidden gems.

Nebbiolo (pronounced “nebby – o – low”) is grown in Piedmont’s Langhe region, and specifically the top-notch wine areas of Barbaresco and Barolo. When you see the words Barbaresco and Barolo on a wine label you know now it is made from nebbiolo.

Nebbiolo, an ancient grape, comes from the root word nebbia which means fog in Italian. Nebbiolo produces a full, powerful and slightly tannic wine, particularly when it is young. So do not let its lighter color fool you. It also has great aging potential – particularly the Barbaresco and Barolo wines that garner the highest price tags. So if you prefer a powerful red, then Nebbiolo can be one of your go-tos.

Nebbiolo shows a varied flavor profile of anise, plum, coffee, black cherry and often leather that coat the mouth and teeth. Because of the wine’s tannic nature, you should pair them with foods that have a high fat and protein content. I recommend Italian cuisine featuring Bolognese sauce, wild boar, rabbit and filets of beef with nebbiolo.

piedmont_home_to_the_italian_grape_nebbiolo

My Nebbiolo Picks

Here are my picks for great nebbiolo from Langhe, Barbaresco and Barolo that are all boutique family-owned properties.

Viberti Langhe Nebbiolo. The Viberti estate was born in the 1920s and today produces many selections including the prized Langhe nebbiolo. The primary fruit of strawberry and cherry come together beautifully with additional floral notes. They are well integrated with vanilla and coconut notes from one year’s aging in large wooden vats. The wine is then aged an additional year in stainless steel tanks before being bottled. It is an easy sipping wine with soft tannins and great drinkability. Should be consumed young, within five years.

Borgogno Langhe Nebbiolo. Borgogno is one of the oldest wine estates in the Barolo village, dating back to the 1760s. It is now owned by the Farinetti family which got its fame from Eataly, an Italian food and wine market that started in Turin, Italy and migrated to the U.S. Borgogno’s nebbiolo is from the Langhe area and uses the same grapes that are used in Barolo. So this rendition is quite a value. It has aromas that you might expect from Barolo – classic rose petal and tar. The taste profile is of black cherry, raspberry and herbal notes. Fresh and vibrant, this is a great selection to enjoy while young.

Cocito Barbaresco Riserva Baluchin. Made from 100% nebbiolo, this selection comes from a tiny plot of land. Baluchin is the word for “star” in Piedmont dialect and refers to the vineyard’s ideal position for star gazing at night. The wine has bright aromas and flavors of blueberries, plums and graphite. Cocito always ages the wine longer and releases it later so the mouthfeel gives us a silky, soft feeling. Aged for about two years in small French oak barrels, it displays a great focused wine that can last for 10+ years.

Cordero di Montezemolo Barolo. In the family’s 19th generation, Cordero di Montezemolo is located in the small village of La Morra. Its Barolo is a blend of different lots of nebbiolo that they then age in a mix of Slovenian and French oak barrels for 18-24 months. The result is an intense garnet color with a round, full mouthfeel of dark cherry, blackberry, cocoa and plum notes,. They are intertwined by a hint of vanilla and hazelnut. A top selection for sure that is approachable at a young age.

Enjoy Nebbiolo!

Read the recent blog post Top Five Travel Packing Tips For Traveling Abroad.

Please follow and like us:

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts

Vespa, A Gem of Manduria

Known as the heel of the boot of Italy, Puglia is renowned for its vast farmland, stunning coastlines that are snuggled in between the Adriatic and Ionian Seas and red wines made mostly from the Primitivo grape, indigenous to the area. Manduria is within Puglia, in the Taranto province, on the...

read more
Savoring the European Long Lunch

Savoring the European Long Lunch

My travels, whether France, Spain or Italy, always give me something profound that is an integral part of our European neighbors' lives, the European long lunch - il pranzo lungo. That tradition may seem more foreign to us here in the U.S. than any imported meats, but it is part of the culture,...

read more