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Blog: Nebbiolo | Grape variety

Nebbiolo is the grape variety which is the basis for the top wine from Piedmont: The world-famous Barolo and its 'little brother' Barbaresco. Nebbiolo wines are characterized by independence and captivate by their sometimes severe tannins and present acidity and the typical fragrance which is often described as tar and roses. A not so obvious characteristic is the tendency to lose some color with time. After a few years of harvest, Nebbiolo wines turn from deep red with purple inclusions to beautiful brick orange.

Nebbiolo is the most important grape in Piedmont and the basis for many of the region's red wines - the grape is represented in five of the region's DOCGs and numerous DOC wines. Even its name is inspired by the rolling hills whose vine-covered slopes are blanketed in mist on cool autumn mornings. From the word fog (nebbia) comes the derivation of the name Nebbiolo. Moreover, the name is extremely appropriate for a late-ripening grape variety that is harvested later than other vines in the region (e.g. Barbera or, in particular, Dolcetto).

Powerful and intense, Barolo is the most famous and prestigious incarnation of the Nebbiolo grape and has always competed with the more light-bodied and fruit-driven Barbaresco. The latter was for a long time overshadowed by its big brother and only gained increasing importance in the course of the late 20th century. Although not nearly as famous, the high quality wines of Roero are worth a mention - their vineyards lie just across the Tanaro River and provide affordable alternatives to Barolo and Barbaresco.

About a hundred kilometers to the northeast of the Roero area, Nebbiolo is also a predominant grape variety - in the wines of Ghemme and Gattinara and near some scattered villages along the border with Lombardy. The grape variety has even spread beyond the regional borders and can be found in the adventurous mountain scenery of Valtellina. Here the grape variety is cultivated under the name Chiavennasca and produces red wines (bright and fruity in contrast to Piedmont) as well as a powerful Amarone-like meditation wine (Sforzato di Valtellina).

Nebbiolo's sensitivity to terroir is one of its trump cards, but it is also a drawback. Pinot Noir and Riesling are good illustrative examples: These grape varieties showed how high their appeal is to wine enthusiasts, so that you enjoy watching regardless of the growing region. While these two grape varieties can be grown in many climatic zones of the world, this is not possible with the Nebbiolo grape. Nebbiolo requires a high drainage capacity of the soil and needs a long growing season. In Piedmont it is one of the first grape varieties to blossom and the one with the slowest ripening. This makes the variety susceptible to weak weather periods in spring as well as in autumn.

Fortunately, the grape variety is perfectly adapted to the 'foggy' weather in Piedmont and shows good resistance to pests and rot. However, the grape suffers greatly from introduced parasites and was almost completely wiped out during the great phylloxera disaster in 1860. The replanted vines at that time consisted mainly of more robust Barbera.

Despite its difficult handling in the vineyard, the irresistible fascination of this grape variety has generated worldwide interest. Nebbiolo remains a niche variety and is considered by connoisseurs around the world to be one of Italy's most interesting grape varieties. - Gerardo [TS09/22]

Nebbiolo Rebsorte

CategoryGrape Variety

Shop: Nebbiolo
´Bric del Baio´ · Langhe Nebbiolo DOC 2020, Ca' del Baio, Piemont

Bric del Baio · Langhe Nebbiolo DOC 2020, Ca' del Baio

Ca' del Baio, Piedmont
€ 13,95
18,60 €/L
Langhe Nebbiolo DOC 2022, Marco Porello, Piemont

Langhe Nebbiolo DOC 2022, Marco Porello

Marco Porello, Piedmont
€ 11,95
15,93 €/L
´Torretta´ · Roero Rosso DOC 2020, Marco Porello, Piemont

Torretta · Roero Rosso DOC 2020, Marco Porello

Marco Porello, Piedmont
€ 16,95
22,60 €/L
´Vigna Santa Rosalia´ · Nebbiolo d'Alba DOC 2019, Giacomo Brezza & Figli, Piemont

Vigna Santa Rosalia · Nebbiolo d'Alba DOC 2019 (Bio), Giacomo Brezza & Figli

Giacomo Brezza & Figli, Piedmont
€ 16,95
22,60 €/L
Langhe Nebbiolo DOC 2021, Ca' del Baio, Piemont

Langhe Nebbiolo DOC 2021, Ca' del Baio

Ca' del Baio, Piedmont
€ 9,95
13,27 €/L