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Nebbiolo Wine: More Than Just Barolo & Barbaresco
Nebbiolo wine is made from Nebbiolo grapes. It is famous for making Barolo and Barbaresco, which are some of the best Italian wines. But Nebbiolo is more than these wines in Italy, it also makes less intense wines that don’t need to be aged as long. I will tell you about them here.
Nebbiolo is grown in the southern portion of Piedmont, in the foothills of northern Italy. Like Barbera wine, another Piedmont favorite (but not made from Nebbiolo), it thrives in the southern region on the south facing slopes around the city of Alba and in the Langhe hills.
Nebbiolo takes a long time to ripen, and late in the season the vineyards become thick with fog, called Nebbia in Italian, where this grape gets its name.
This is a full-bodied Italian wine, with lots of complex flavors of berries, plum and spices. It has aromas of cherry, licorice and mushrooms. As Nebbiolo makes Barolo and Barbaresco, both highly tannic wines, you can expect to find a good amount of tannin in any Nebbiolo wine.
Nebbiolo grown around Alba is different from Barolo and Barbaresco as it does not need to be aged as long as they do. It is aged for a year and then released.
It is lighter and less intense than Barolo and Barbaresco wine, and certainly less expensive too. You can find Nebbiolo d’Alba between $20 - $35 a bottle.
Unlike Barolo and Barbaresco, these wines do not need to be aged. Take a look at these notable Nebbiolo d’Alba makers.
Nebbiolo delle Langhe
Nebbiolo made in Langhe is not subjected to the strict requirements that wine in Alba or Barolo and Barbaresco are. It is a Vino da Tavola, or table wine in Italian.
Langhe is where Piedmont vintners can try new techniques in winemaking, that are not allowed in Alba. If you come across a bottle from here, like this one, be sure to try it.
Pairing Nebbiolo Wine
Nebbiolo is a big and bold wine from Italy, so your best bet is to pair it with Italian dishes. It grows in the same area as the ingredients for Italian food does, so it is a perfect match.
Try with a pasta dish with a meat sauce. Nebbiolo would also be delicious with game meat, grilled or roasted red meat, hearty stews and Italian cheese like Marscapone, Fontina, Caprini or Robiola.
Because Nebbiolo is grown in an area where truffles also grow, it has also been known to have aromas of mushrooms. One nice way to pair Nebbiolo would be with mushroom risotto.