Dec 21, 2023by Andrew Lowry

Let's dive into one of our favorite wine grapes, and thus, wines! We love the contrapuntal characteristics of Nebbiolo -- at once elegant and fierce, fruity and earthy, giant and restrained. Keep reading to learn what wines made of Nebbiolo taste like, where the grape originated (and thrives), and some of the best producers of Nebbiolo. Let us begin:

What are common characteristics of the grape, Nebbiolo?

Nebbiolo is often described as a complex and elegant grape, offering a wide range of tasting notes. The most common flavors associated with Nebbiolo include red fruits such as cherry and raspberry, along with floral notes of rose and violet. Additionally, you may also detect hints of tar, leather, and spices like anise and cinnamon.

In terms of body, Nebbiolo wines are typically medium to full-bodied, with a high level of tannins. This gives the wine a firm structure and a long-lasting finish. The acidity in Nebbiolo wines is also quite high, adding to their overall balance and aging potential.

People who like Nebbiolo might like (and vice versa)...

If you're a fan of Nebbiolo, you might also enjoy exploring the world of Pinot Noir. While these two grapes have distinct characteristics, they share some similarities. Both Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir produce wines with delicate aromas, vibrant acidity, and a certain level of complexity. Pinot Noir is often described as having flavors of red berries, earthiness, and a silky texture, making it a great alternative for Nebbiolo enthusiasts.

Where did Nebbiolo originate?

Nebbiolo finds its origins in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. This area, known for its picturesque landscapes and rich winemaking tradition, is the birthplace of many renowned grape varieties. Nebbiolo has been cultivated in Piedmont for centuries, and its name is derived from the Italian word "nebbia," meaning fog. This is due to the grape's tendency to ripen late in the season when the fog often blankets the vineyards.

The DOCGs and DOCs in Piedmont for Nebbiolo

Piedmont is home to several prestigious wine regions that produce Nebbiolo wines. The most notable among them are the DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) appellations of Barolo and Barbaresco. These regions are known for their strict regulations and exceptional quality standards. Wines labeled with the DOCG designation must meet specific criteria, including aging requirements and adherence to traditional winemaking practices.

Other DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) appellations in Piedmont that produce Nebbiolo wines include Langhe Nebbiolo, Roero, and Ghemme. While these regions may not have the same level of prestige as Barolo and Barbaresco, they still offer excellent examples of Nebbiolo wines at more accessible price points.

Who are some of the most famous producers of Nebbiolo around the world?

When it comes to Nebbiolo, several esteemed producers have gained international recognition for their exceptional wines. Some of the most renowned names in Piedmont include Giacomo Conterno, Bruno Giacosa, and Angelo Gaja. These producers have consistently crafted Nebbiolo wines that showcase the grape's true potential and have become benchmarks for quality.

Outside of Italy, regions such as California, Australia, and Argentina have also embraced Nebbiolo and have seen success in producing outstanding wines. Notable producers from these regions include Ridge Vineyards (California), Yarra Yering (Australia), and Bodega Catena Zapata (Argentina).

We only have two wines made from Nebbiolo, but they are both bangers! We urge you to try them out if you know you like high tannins and a delicate wine, or if you have loved Pinot Noirs or maybe Sangiovese in the past! Cheers!