What is Nebbiolo?
Nebbiolo is one of the world’s oldest and most distinguished grape varieties. It has been described as Italy’s most revered wine grape, is responsible for some of their finest wines – Barolo and Barbaresco. Wines made from the Nebbiolo grape can be profoundly complex and hauntingly beautiful. Nebbiolo is referred to as both the ‘wine of kings’ and the ‘king of wines.’
Where is Nebbiolo grown?
Nebbiolo is exceptionally finicky about where it will grow. Its heartland is in Piedmont, along a cluster of fog prone hills around the villages of Alba and Asti. Nebbiolo needs careful site selection as it is early flowering but also very late ripening. It cannot be grown in an area that suffers spring frosts, demanding a long growing season with sunshine and warmth without excessive heat. In Piedmont, it is given the best hillsides which are generally south facing.
Nebbiolo is also fussy about soil type, and does not adapt well to all soils. It performs best on low fertile clay and limestone soils which also have sand and are well draining. It produces the finest wines when planted on calcareous soils.
The late harvesting of the grapes often means that fermentation occurs when the weather has turned cold. These cool temperatures delay the the start of fermentation for several days extending the time on skins and the extraction of tannins. With high levels of tannins these traditionally made Nebbiolos require long ageing in oak barrels to soften the astringency. The more modern techniques utilize shorter maceration and cooler ferments that preserve fruit flavours and aromas and fine tannins.
What does Nebbiolo taste like?
The wonderful thing about Nebbiolo is its perfume. The wine is typically intensely aromatic, developing the most extraordinary and haunting bouquet, in which dried roses, autumn brush, woodsmoke violets and tar are often found. The complex aromatics and fullness of flavour balance the relatively high acidity and substantial tannins.
It is also one of the few wines that can occasionally be identified by its colour. From early in its life it has an orange halo along the edges of its blackish-ruby colour.
With maturing vines and increasing viticultural and winemaking knowledge, many fascinating wines are being made with Nebbiolo grapes in Australia. These wines are often not classic styles but reflect their Australian microclimates and the soils in which they are grown. Nebbiolo seems to have found a home in the Hilltops region of New South Wales, with Grove Estate, Freeman Vineyards, and Ravensworth all producing excellent expressions.
What foods pair well with Nebbiolo?
Nebbiolo needs food in order for it to be experienced at its best. The fresh flavours, brisk acidity, and fine tannin structure require a comforting slow braise or ragù to round its edges. In turn, Nebbiolo often brings balance to the richness of the food.
David Hook Nebbiolo 2019
The grapes for this year’s wine come from a vineyard just to the south of the small town of Wombat, in the Hilltops region of New South Wales. The quality of the fruit was excellent. The grapes were handpicked and warm fermented in traditional open vat fermenters that were hand plunged. The ferment only lasted for 5 days, in order to produce a wine that was fresh in style with fine and well-balanced tannins. This medium-bodied wine effortlessly pairs with a wide variety of dishes.
Try this noble variety for yourself.
$37.80 Online Price