(Nebbiolo pronunciation: Nehb-byoh-loh)
Nebbiolo is the finicky, thick-skinned grape variety behind some of the top quality wines of Piedmont northwestern Italy. The grapes coming from this region in northwestern Italy are sometimes referred to as Langhe Nebbiolo. The most well known wines the Nebbiolo grape goes into are Barolo and Barbaresco.
The Nebbiolo grape is known for being the first to flower, and the last to ripen making it highly susceptible to poor weather conditions. The grape requires a location with good drainage and a long bright growing season. The name Nebbiolo comes from the Italian word nebbia, which means fog, and is the condition it grows in due to its late ripening and harvest in the foggy wintery weather. Although grown mostly in Piedmont, Nebbiolo makes up roughly 8% of all grapes grown in this region. Small quantities of this grape are grown in the US, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, and Australia. California in particular has spent a great deal of time experimenting with the troublesome grape trying to make California Nebbiolo wine the next Pinot Noir.
This big, bold, red’s taste is rather deceiving when compared to its color. Nebbiolo wine is one of the few wines that with just a few years of aging can lose its color, fading from an already light ruby color to a pale garnet, or brick orange color. The Nebbiolo red wines delicate color is complimented by the light, fruity, rose aromas, and is contrasted by the bold flavors of cherry, coffee, anise, and earthiness. A powerful, full-bodied, extremely tannic and acidic wine is the final product of Nebbiolo. The wine pairs best with rustic Italian dishes, any meal featuring butter or olive oil, and nothing too lean.
To the delight of many of our online Wine Club members, those in our Garagiste and Gold wine subscriptions, were lucky enough to taste some small-production Nebbiolo wines - one that was an incredible 1995 vintage!
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