Nebbiolo — A Guide to the Basics

Unlike lots of other fantastic grape ranges, Nebbiolo is geographically limited. A handful of great examples can be discovered in Baja California and Arizona, however this is a grape whose reputation is strongly rooted in Italy’s Piedmont area, where it reaches its peak with Barolo and Barbaresco. These are wines that frequently progress over the decades into reds of haunting perfume, unforgettable savoriness, and food-pairing majesty.

What is Nebbiolo Wine?
Nebbiolo is the name of the red grape range that is used to produce the fantastic bottlings of Barolo and Barbaresco, both of which are needed by law to be crafted entirely from it. It’s also at the heart of the red wines of close-by Roero, also in Piedmont, along with Gattinara. In all 4 locations, the red wines produced from Nebbiolo reveal both the intrinsic character of the grape range itself in addition to the distinct characteristics of the terroir and micro-climate in each.

Where Does Nebbiolo Wine Come From?
Nebbiolo is most notoriously grown in the Piedmont (or, in Italian, Piemonte) area of Italy, which lies in the northwest of the nation. The 2 most popular red wines from Piedmont are both crafted totally from Nebbiolo: Barolo and Barbaresco. Typically, Barolo was the more powerful of the two, but painting either with too broad of a brush is naturally deceptive. Considering that each is made up of a lot of constituent communes, specific hillsides, single vineyards, and more, the series of designs and expressions is impressive. The Nebbiolo-based red wines in Barolo’s La Morra, for instance, are really various from the ones grown in Serralunga d’Alba. In Barbaresco, the white wines from Neive are recognizably different from the ones grown in Treiso. And when it pertains to single vineyards and MGAs (basically the Italian version of the French principle of cru), the parsing out of the land gets back at more granular.

There, Nebbiolo is the heart of both Roero and Roero Riserva, as it is with Gattinara, another less-famous yet still really worthwhile Nebbiolo-based wine. Langhe Nebbiolo is a red wine based on its name grape range, and is a terrific way to experience Piedmont’s Nebbiolo-based red white wines without having to spend a lot of money, or even generally wait all that long for the wine to be all set.

In addition, pockets of Nebbiolo can be found in Mexico’s Baja California in addition to in Arizona, where Caduceus Cellars produces outstanding ones.

Why Should You Drink Nebbiolo Wine?
Nebbiolo produces some of the most extensive white wines in Italy. Nebbiolo not only produces excellent wine as an outcome of the character of the range itself, however it also has the ability to transfer the nature of the land in which it’s grown with particular clarity and profundity.

Red wines produced from Nebbiolo likewise have the capability to age remarkably, which makes them excellent additions to personal white wine collections. An excellent method for gathering white wines crafted from the range is to stockpile on earlier-drinking ones, like Roero Rosso or Langhe Nebbiolo.

What Does Nebbiolo Taste Like?
Nebbiolo, for all its age-worthiness when grown in the very best locations, is in fact not an overtly powerful grape range. Its color tends towards the translucent, as opposed to more nontransparent and dark reds from grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah. Still, these wines have a lot of complexity and structure, and the best examples are energetic with level of acidity and framed with assertive tannins that enable them to age for decades.
Nebbiolo grapes
In their youth, Nebbiolo-based red wines tend to display berries and cherries, as well as hints of citrus along the lines of blood orange, the savoriness of minerals or tar, and hints of mushrooms. As these red wines mature, however, roses and truffles often emerge, and alongside the fruit and tar, the resulting intricacy and depth is absolutely nothing less than haunting.

Nebbiolo needs to be delighted in from a Nebbiolo or Pinot Noir glass, and at somewhat less cool than cellar temperature level. Still, don’t chill them down too much: Cold Nebbiolo will come off as off-puttingly tannic and astringent. Decanting a great bottle of Barolo or Barbaresco is usually a good concept, as is matching it with food. Nebbiolo with truffles is a classic– in Piedmont, a beloved standard is the egg-yolk-rich pasta tajarin with white truffles shaved on top. Nebbiolo also works effectively with beef and hard cheeses; the fat and protein in the food helps to tame the red wine’s structure and allow more of its inner complexity to shine through.

Five Great Nebbiolo Wines.
There are numerous excellent Nebbiolo red wines on the market today. These 5 manufacturers, noted alphabetically, are a best way to start exploring all that Nebbiolo needs to provide.


One of the most iconic producers of Barbaresco and Barolo, and a leader in the renaissance of these great wines, the work of Angelo Gaja and his household delights in a track record that goes far beyond Piedmont. The 2019 Barbaresco requires more time in the glass– or, even better, a stint in the decanter– however hiding underneath its preliminary quietude is a wine of sophistication and subte strength, with wild strawberries, Morello cherries, the recommendation of increased water, and raspberries alongside rooibos tea, blood orange, and a serious core of minerality that rides through the long, well balanced finish.

Pio Cesare.

Among the iconic manufacturers of Piedmont, Pio Cesare has actually been making white wine because 1881, and their lineup is popular and highly respected. A current tasting of their 2001 Barolo was outstanding: A pure beam of fragrant violets notified red cherries, just-fallen fall leaves, and white truffles before a taste buds thrumming with licorice, lavender, orange peels, cranberries, and tar. It’s smooth and energetic, and at its peak right now.

Renato Ratti.

Ratti produces a series of wines in Piedmont, consisting of four standout Barolo bottlings. Their 2016 Barolo DOCG Marcenasco is at an amazing point in its evolution, a maturing yet still dynamic expression of La Morra whose lifted aromatics of increased hips, dried orange peel, and licorice are countered by hints of forest flooring, all of which tee up a taste buds of beauty and energy, with red berries and pomegranate seeds provided depth with dried flowers, blood oranges, bing cherries, and woodsy spice. It can certainly age for several years more, however it’s difficult to withstand today.

Tenuta Cucco.

Cucco has been producing white wine since 1967, and their 2016 Barolo DOCG Cerrati is fantastic. It’s from a south-southwest dealing with site in Serralunga d’Alba, and while it’s still dominated by its tannic structure, it holds great promise for the cellar: In another 5 to ten years, this should actually shine. Now, however, decanting will enable its singed mint and sage, fresh cherries, mountain berries, lavender, split peppercorns, and dried porcini broth to come through with severe appeal.


Family-owned for more than half a century, Villadoria produces reds, white, and rosés. Their 2014 Bricco Magno Langhe Nebbiolo proves that red wines identified as such can absolutely age well: This one still has time to go, however its dehydrated strawberries, cranberries, and orange peel notes, all flecked with rooibos tea, are still framed by tannins that assure another seven to 10 years of evolution, and perhaps more. Their 2014 Barolo del Commune di Serralunga d’Alba is also a savory reward, the dried leaves and fresh-shaved truffles signed up with by increased hips, white peppercorn, cherries, and the faintest tip of cherry pits.

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