Nebbiolo: What should you know?

Nebbiolo is the grape that will make you crave full-bodied, flavorful reds that will keep you coming back for more. The Nebbiolo grape is known for its rich, complex tannins and natural acidity. They are great for pairing with hearty dishes.

What is Nebbiolo?

Nebbiolo grapes are dark-skinned varieties that are used to make red wine. It is mainly grown in Italy’s Piedmont area. The grape gets its name from the Italian term for fog, “nebbia”, which refers to thick blankets common throughout the region between September and October. Nebbiolo wines are light-coloured and have prominent tannins. It can be difficult to drink young, so they’re best if they age.

Where Does Nebbiolo Come From?

While most scientists agree that Nebbiolo is a Piedmont grape, some evidence suggests it could be native to Valtellina in neighbouring Lombardy. Nebbiolo is a grape variety that buds first and ripens last. Harvests are usually held in October. Nebbiolo thrives in calcareous marl soils.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean all Nebbiolo comes from Italy. While Nebbiolo is a grape that has been traditionally associated with Piedmont, it is now being grown in California and Oregon.

How Is Nebbiolo Made?

Although Nebbiolo can be vinified in many different styles, most winemakers will use some oak usage during the aging process. Piedmont’s preferred aging vessel is the large Slavonian oak, Botti. It can hold thousands of litres. Vinifying Nebbiolo traditionally involves long periods of maceration that can last from 20 to 30 consecutive days.

What Does Nebbiolo Taste Like?

Even though every wine has its unique tasting notes, Nebbiolo wines are well-known for their ability to show flavours such as cherries, rose petals and tar.

Are Nebbiolo and Barolo the same thing?

Sort of. Barolo red wines are made from Barolo grapes. There are many other appellations that Nebbiolo-based wine can be produced, both in Piedmont and beyond.

Where Is Nebbiolo Grown?

While Nebbiolo is associated with Italy’s Piedmont, it is now being grown in other parts of the world. Today, Nebbiolo can be found on the West Coast of America (in California, Oregon and Washington), as also in Australia (Victoria) and South Africa (South Africa).

What are some good food pairings with Nebbiolo?

Nebbiolo-based wines are great with meaty Italian-style dishes because of their high acidity and prominent tannins. For out-of-this-world pairings, try hearty foods like braised meats or ribeye steaks.

Pe. Pe. Rosso di Valtellina

The family Pelizzatti Perego, located just south of the Italian/Swiss border, has grown vines in Lombardy’s heart since the 1860s. Today, Ar. Pe. Pe. Pe is considered one of the best quality producers in Valtellina. The entry-level Rosso is made from fruit from 50-100-year-old Chiavennasca vines (Nebbiolo, in the local dialect), grown at 350 to 400m above sea level. It has a bright, persistent palate full of flavours such as sour cherries and dried flowers.

Cameron Winery Nebbiolo

Are you looking for West Coast Nebbiolo outside of California? John Paul founded this small family winery in 1984. It is located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, in the hills above Dundee. The small-batch Nebbiolo has flavours of dried cherries and anise. The wine’s bright acidity and gritty tannins are reminiscent of Alto Piemonte’s most famous appellations, such as Ghemme, Gattinara and others. Cameron is committed to sustainable farming. The estate has become the first Salmon-Safe winery to be established in Oregon and proudly displays a variety of animals and encourages cover cropping.

 

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