The Nebbiolo (neeby-oh-low) grape is one of Italy’s top red grapes. It is grown in the Piedmont and Lombardy regions of Italy. In fact, it does truly define the Piedmont region’s status as one having world-class quality wines. In particular because that is where the powerful reds of Barolo and Barbaresco are produced.
In the past months, as I have mentioned before in this blog, I have been tasting lots of wines for the nearly opened 530 Wine Bar. A number of the wines are Italian and are produced with Nebbiolo grapes.
Nebbiolo grapes are difficult to grow. They need the perfect growing spot as it is early flowering and needs to have a site where it will not suffer from spring frosts. It is also a late ripening grape.
What Nebbiolo Tastes Like
When produced, Nebbiolo shows deep red, almost purple hues. But it is known for its rapid transition (normally a couple of years of aging) when it goes from a deep red hue to a brick red and brick orange hue in the glass.
Nebbiolo’s aromas are a prominent feature of its wines. It can produce wonderfully scents of “tar and roses.” Much of the “tar” smell comes from the use of large-format Slavonian Oak casks. Other aromas are floral notes, cherries, plums, violets, graphite, smoke, mineral oil, and leather.
On the palate, Nebbiolo is medium-bodied but rich with high alcohol levels (lots of legs on the side of your glass). Next to its trademark color and aroma, it offers one final element which is its high and drying tannin levels which are next to its elevated levels of freshening acidity. This well-developed “structure” means Nebbiolo wines can age for decades. In fact, most of the Nebbiolo wines are almost unapproachable in the earlier years. One may need to wait to drink these wines for as many as eight to 10 years.
What Food Pairings Work Well
When you start pairing food to Nebbiolo you will need food that is as equally mellow and robust. Go for dishes that are just fully enough to match the big tannins in the wine. For spicy food Nebbiolo’s that have a big structure like Barolo and Barbaresco, meat is a great pairing. You will want cuts that are not too intense but are still rich and fatty. Slow roasted pork ore beef is ideal. Roasted poultry is also a great option.
The wine also goes well with soft cheeses such as brie or fatty feta or goat cheese. Washed rind cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano are a good pairing with the wine, as well.
Veggies also pair well with the wine. Of course, tomatoes will work as will almost any red sauce, but also leeks, onions, shallots, and garlic are great compliments. More traditional Italian veggies, such as capers, olives, butternut squash and wild mushrooms, also work very well with Nebbiolo.
The next time you are in your favorite wine shop, or at the 530 Wine Bar, consider getting a nice Nebbiolo wine to try. You cannot go wrong.
As always, I appreciate your support of our wine blog and encourage you to share it with family and friends. If you care to share your comments on this blog posting or other topics, please do so in the comments section below.
Until next week,
2022 Wine Events at LEX 530 Event Center
Friday, February 4 – Wine Dinner
Friday, February 25 – Wine Talk & Taste
Friday, March 11 – Wine Dinner
Friday, March 25 – Wine Talk & Taste
Friday, April 8 – Wine Dinner
Friday, April 22 – Wine Talk & Taste
Friday, May 13 – Wine Dinner
Friday, May 27 – Wine Talk & Taste
Friday, June 10 – Wine Dinner
Friday, June 24 – Wine Talk & Taste
Friday, July 8 – Wine Dinner
Friday, July 29 – Wine Talk & Taste
Friday, August 12 – Wine Dinner
Friday, August 26 – Wine Talk & Taste
Friday, September 9 – Wine Dinner
Friday, September 16 – Wine Talk & Taste
Tuesday, October 11 – Wine Dinner (Oktoberfest)
Friday, October 21 – Wine Talk & Taste
Friday, November 4 – Wine Dinner
Friday, November 18 – Wine Talk & Taste