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March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by Robin Garr » Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:29 am

After a good month exploring Bordeaux, we bounce back to varietal wines this month: Let's look into Nebbiolo! Barolo and Barbaresco are the fancy options, and more power to you if you've got a cellar full. It's also possible to find value in varietally labeled Nebbiolo, mostly from Italy but also here and there around the wine world. Let's pull corks and start tasting this Italian icon!
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:41 pm

Sounds excellent. Quite a few nice Italian restaurants and bars that offer good fare and some fine wines. Should find something of interest eh. Forza Italia!
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by Rahsaan » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:09 am

Over the past year I've had about a half case of the 2012 Giamello Barbaresco, so fragrant, delicate and easy to drink. But tonight I moved on to the 2015. Richer and more robust, took a bit of decanting and air to coax out the elegance. Although it went very well with dinner (roasted mushroom pizza), it was always a bit on the awkward side. Must wait on the other bottles!
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by Tim York » Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:24 am

As a demonstration that Nebbiolo can produce something rather different from the classics from Barolo and Barbaresco, here is an old TN on my last bottle of an Amarone style wine from Valtellina in the extreme north close to the Swiss frontier -

1997 Conti Sertoli Salis Sforzato di Valtellina Canua - Italy, Lombardia, Valtellina, Sforzato di Valtellina (10/5/2014)
I'm not a big fan of Amarone from Valpolicella but this wine made by the same technique in Valtellina from Nebbiolo almost convinces me. The grape variety and terroir contribute a backbone and class without which the others tend IMO to cloy quickly, however impressive the first mouthful.

The nose here was well developed with notes of violet and hints of varnish on an underlying liqueur tinged richness. The palate was rich, slightly sweet and quite full but still bright with some attractive primary and well as candied fruit together with tar and herbs and firmness on the finish. I chose it to pair with quail in a sweetish sauce made with grapes and sweet Muscat wine; the pairing worked well as it did with Roquefort cheese which followed. Nevertheless towards the end, like Amarone albeit further into the bottle, the richness and high alcohol began to pall. Very good in limited quantity.

Posted from CellarTracker

I have a few from Barolo and Barbaresco from the late 90s left but there's fat chance of my finding any Gattinara, Valtellina, generic Nebbiolo di Langhe, etc. round here. I am tempted to make an order of an assorted dozen from Italy :D .
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:20 pm

Tim in a buying mood!! I am not seeing any Nebbs in my cellar :(
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by Tim York » Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:01 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:Tim in a buying mood!! I am not seeing any Nebbs in my cellar :(


In-house PO remains vigilant and keeps reminding me that we need a new car :roll: .
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by David M. Bueker » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:57 am

Rahsaan wrote:Over the past year I've had about a half case of the 2012 Giamello Barbaresco, so fragrant, delicate and easy to drink. But tonight I moved on to the 2015. Richer and more robust, took a bit of decanting and air to coax out the elegance. Although it went very well with dinner (roasted mushroom pizza), it was always a bit on the awkward side. Must wait on the other bottles!


2015 is an overall more structured vintage than 2012. Wait for 2016! That's gonna be a whopper. The basic Nebbiolos have been grand.
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by Rahsaan » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:34 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:
Rahsaan wrote:Over the past year I've had about a half case of the 2012 Giamello Barbaresco, so fragrant, delicate and easy to drink. But tonight I moved on to the 2015. Richer and more robust, took a bit of decanting and air to coax out the elegance. Although it went very well with dinner (roasted mushroom pizza), it was always a bit on the awkward side. Must wait on the other bottles!


2015 is an overall more structured vintage than 2012. Wait for 2016! That's gonna be a whopper. The basic Nebbiolos have been grand.


Yes, that's what I hear. I also have some basic 2017 nebbiolo waiting to open, should be friendlier.
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by David M. Bueker » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:18 am

Based on very limited tank samples at the Produttori, 2017 should be a friendly vintage.
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by Rahsaan » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:59 pm

Rahsaan wrote:Over the past year I've had about a half case of the 2012 Giamello Barbaresco, so fragrant, delicate and easy to drink. But tonight I moved on to the 2015. Richer and more robust, took a bit of decanting and air to coax out the elegance. Although it went very well with dinner (roasted mushroom pizza), it was always a bit on the awkward side. Must wait on the other bottles!


Last night was my final bottle of the 2012 Giamello Barbaresco. I probably could have held onto these a lot longer, but I need things to drink and this was in the approachable zone by my standards. The nose and the palate are so much deeper and more expressive than the wound-up 2015, which makes for lots of fun. But there is still more time to unwind further. I am far from a Giamello expert but I hear these age well. Maybe one day I will find out!
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by David M. Bueker » Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:38 am

Braised some lamb shanks and checked out a test bottle of the 2014 Vietti Barolo Castiglione. It definitely showed as a lighter vintage, and compared with the 2014 Produttori del Barbaresco side by side, there was little difference in color or weight. Not terribly shocking, given that 2014, while not "great" anywhere, was reportedly better in Barbaresco.

Anyway, the Vietti was aromatically beautiful, with all the red fruit and floral I could have asked for. It just seemed to be too easy drinking for Barolo - too easy drinking for around $50, when the 2016 Vietti Langhe Perbaco carried more substance the last time I drank it, at less than half the price. The Barbaresco, at $35, held its own with the Barolo as well, so a better value in the vintage.
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by Rahsaan » Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:42 am

David M. Bueker wrote:...too easy drinking for around $50, when the 2016 Vietti Langhe Perbaco carried more substance the last time I drank it, at less than half the price..


Not sure I follow this logic. I guess you mean the 2014 Barolo was too simple? Too light? Or too undistinguished? Surely the 'ease' of the enjoyment need not be a detracting factor on its own!!
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by David M. Bueker » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:04 am

Rahsaan wrote:
David M. Bueker wrote:...too easy drinking for around $50, when the 2016 Vietti Langhe Perbaco carried more substance the last time I drank it, at less than half the price..


Not sure I follow this logic. I guess you mean the 2014 Barolo was too simple? Too light? Or too undistinguished? Surely the 'ease' of the enjoyment need not be a detracting factor on its own!!


Too simple for the price. Lovely drink, but I can do just as well for less than half.
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by Tim York » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:10 am

A recent Barolo in its 22nd year -

1997 Elio Grasso Barolo Ginestra Casa Maté - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (2/24/2019)
This Barolo was richer and more suave textured than many, no doubt due to the vintage conditions, but contained enough of the typical rose aromas, tar and acidity for character and balance with rounded and more covered (enrobé) tannins than often. Went very well with lamb and Tarbais beans. Very good.
Posted from CellarTracker
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by David M. Bueker » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:15 am

I am fundamentally bothered that 1997 was 22 years ago!!!
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by David M. Bueker » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:15 am

No need to get into specific notes, but recent nights included a high level 2004 Barolo from Brovia (current vintage about $80), as well as a humble 2015 Nebbiolo Langhe ($17) from Angelo Negro e Figli. Guess which one provided more pleasure.

Now the Barolo showed a ton of promise. It gave hints of what's to come. Even 24 hours of air only made incremental changes. I had hoped 15 years would get close, but no. At least I have a couple more.
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by Bill Buitenhuys » Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:57 pm

This week I had a bottle of 2008 Roagna Langhe Rosso. Aromatic, super balance, lots of primary fruit, decent and not overwhelming acidity, and a modest amount of gritty tannin. Very pleasing.
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by Rahsaan » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:58 pm

2011 Produttori del Barbaresco Muncagota
Big ripe and firm, showing all the heady power of a ripe year Barbaresco. But the fragrant lush sweet fruit is framed (and saved) by a firm mineral structure and gains more and more definition/structure with air. Very nice combination of elegance and power!

The structure grows with time but is never fierce or violent, at least in the 5 or so hours I had the bottle open. Obviously there is plenty more time for this to evolve, but there is also tasty fun to be had now, for the impatient among us.
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by David M. Bueker » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:10 am

Good for you having one of the more structured crus. The softer ones (e.g. Rio Sordo) are already losing focus. 2009 is even more extreme.
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by Rahsaan » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:29 am

2011s and 2009s already falling apart! Wow. I've had a few 2011s from various Barolo and Barbaresco producers over the past year because of the approachability. But then I've stopped hunting in that area because the ripeness does not deliver my favorite vintage characteristics. Still, I wouldn't have expected them to fall apart so soon!
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by David M. Bueker » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:56 am

2009 Ovello at the Produttori last summer was already quite brown at the rim, and totally mature.
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by Jenise » Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:06 pm

Last night we opened a 2004 Lattanzi Nebbiolo, fruit from Los Olivos, California. None of you will know this wine as it was made privately by a friend, and nor would you want to know it as it was cloudy and 'off' with some secondary fizz going on. Haven't been able to find any Washington nebbiolos; I've had several but they're just not in the marketplace locally at the moment.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by David M. Bueker » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:48 pm

Rahsaan wrote:2011 Produttori del Barbaresco Muncagota
Big ripe and firm, showing all the heady power of a ripe year Barbaresco. But the fragrant lush sweet fruit is framed (and saved) by a firm mineral structure and gains more and more definition/structure with air. Very nice combination of elegance and power!

The structure grows with time but is never fierce or violent, at least in the 5 or so hours I had the bottle open. Obviously there is plenty more time for this to evolve, but there is also tasty fun to be had now, for the impatient among us.


Sipping on the 2011 Asili tonight, and it’s still early days. Very tannic, but also unevolved in any other way. Site beats vintage!
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Re: March Wine Focus: Back to Basics with Nebbiolo

by Rahsaan » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:24 am

Nice of you to try the Asili and see what it might show. So many variables!

I went the other direction last night. With guests for dinner I opened the oh-so-easy 2017 Giamello Langhe Nebbiolo 'Villa Gentiana'. Dark firm fruit but in a fresh and accessible structure. Perfect wine for opening right at the dinner table and pouring to enjoyment. It did not last long so I will have to give my next bottle more air to see if any details or nuances emerge.
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