Jancis Robinson, Master of Wine and acclaimed wine writer describes Nebbiolo as a “great black grape variety responsible for some of the finest and longest-lived wines in Italy.” Nebbiolo is native to the Piedmont region of North West Italy, where it makes the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) wines of Barolo, Barbaresco, Gattinara and Ghemme. Nebbiolo is also now grown in the New World including Australia and Californian wine regions. Nebbiolo is a sensitive variety on the vine and requires sufficient warmth to develop the sugars and fruit flavors needed to balance the grape's naturally high acidity and tannins. Nebbiolo is one of the first varieties to bud and one of the last varieties to ripen with harvest taking place late in the vintage schedule. Rains that occur during ripening can have a detrimental effect on quality so the best Nebbiolo tends to come from vintages that had dry weather in the weeks before harvest. Malolactic (secondary) fermentation is encouraged in Nebbiolo to soften some of the variety's harsh acidity. The wine usually spends a couple years in oak to soften the tannic grip of the wines however oak use must be well judged to ensure the vanilla notes of new oak do not obscure the flavour and aromas subtleties of Nebbiolo. Nebbiolo wines can require years of aging to balance the tannins with other characteristics.
Nebbiolo is characterised by a distinctive autumnal colour in the glass, taking on a brick-orange hue at the rim of the glass as it ages. Primary aromas include black cherries, plums, raspberries, violets, rose petals and herbs. Secondary aromas give this wine its distinctiveness with scents of tar, truffles, licorice, prunes, bitter chocolate, coffee, tobacco and spice.
Wines made from Nebbiolo are characterised by ample acidity and tannin in their youth, with an ability to sustain years of bottle age where they age into wines with soft online casinos rich tannins. In fact some vintages require significant cellaring before they are ready for consumption. As Nebbiolo ages, the bouquet becomes more complex and appealing with aromas of tar and roses being the two most common notes.
Nebbiolo is truly a food wine, and any dishes that mirror the complexity and depth of the wine will be a suitable accompaniment. Italian dishes are an obvious choice but any food you could serve with mushrooms will marry well with Nebbiolo. Suggested other food matches are slow cooked winter casseroles and game, meat with red wine sauce, osso buco, pasta and sausage, risotto, spicy Italian meats and aged parmesan.
Experience a Central Victorian Nebbiolo – the Tallis Nebbiolo 2008, a Signature Nebbiolo with its muted brick red colour. An attractive perfume of rose petals and spicy red fruits follow into a powerful savoury palate which belies the wines’ appearance. Orange peel, anise and floral characters are given complexity with a tarry, earthy palate. Nebbiolo is characterised by its distinctive acidity and firm tannins, and as the wine ages these characters soften to create a more generous mouthfeel. Your patience in allowing this Nebbiolo to age will be rewarded with greater complexity and smoother mouthfeel.