Responsible for some of the most elegant and age-worthy wines in the world ...
Responsible for some of the most elegant and age-worthy wines in the world, Nebbiolo, named for the ubiquitous autumnal fog (called nebbia in Italian), is the star variety of northern Italy’s Piedmont region. Grown throughout the area as well as in the neighboring Valle d’Aosta and Valtellina, it reaches its highest potential in the Piemontese villages of Barolo and Barbaresco. This finicky grape needs a very particular soil type and climate in order to thrive. Outside of Italy, growers are still very much in the experimentation stage but some success has been achieved in parts of California. Tiny amounts are produced in Washington, Virginia, Mexico and Australia.
In the Glass
Nebbiolo at its best is an elegant variety with velveteen tannins, mouthwatering acidity and a captivating perfume. Common characteristcs of a well-made Nebbiolo can include roses, violets, licorice, sandalwood, spicebox, smoke, potpourri, black plum, red cherry and orange peel. Light brick in color, Nebbiolo is a more powerful wine than one might expect, and its firm tannins typically need time to mellow.
Nebbiolo’s love affair with food starts in Piedmont, which is home to the Slow Food movement and some of Italy’s best cuisine. The region is famous for its white truffles, wild boar ragu and tajarin pasta, all perfect companions to Nebbiolo.
If you can’t afford to drink Barolo and Barbaresco every night, try the more wallet-friendly, earlier-drinking Langhe Nebbiolo or Nebbiolo d'Alba. Also search out the fine offerings of the nearby Roero region. North of the Langhe and Roero, find earthy and rustic versions of the variety (known here as “Spanna”) in Ghemme and Gattinara.
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Conterno Fantino Barolo Sori Ginestra 2003Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
Marchesi di Barolo Barolo 2003Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
Damilano Barolo Lecinquevigne Riserva 2003Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
Travaglini Gattinara 2003Nebbiolo from Piedmont, Italy
Guido Porro Barolo Vigna Lazzairasco 2003Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
Giovanni Corino Barolo Arborina 2003Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
E. Pira e Figli Barolo Cannubi 2003Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
Sandrone Barolo Le Vigne 2003Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy