Nebbiolo: the King of Italian grapes

May 31, 2023Daniele Borgogno
Vineyards Nebbiolo

The world of Italian wine is renowned for its diversity and the presence of a wide range of grape varieties cultivated throughout the country. Among the countless Italian wine gems, Nebbiolo stands out as a grape variety that embodies the essence of elegance, character, and the identity of Italian wines. In this article, we will explore the origins and characteristics of Nebbiolo, as well as discover its fascinating expressions through some of Italy's most renowned wine regions.

Nebbiolo is an ancient grape variety that finds its roots in the northern regions of Italy. It is extensively cultivated in the regions of Piedmont and Lombardy, where it is considered one of the noblest and most prestigious grape varieties in the country. The name "Nebbiolo" derives from the Italian word "nebbia," meaning "fog," in reference to the harvest period during which the grapes ripen.

Nebbiolo wines are known for their extraordinary elegance, complexity, and longevity. They have an intense ruby red color with garnet reflections, which deepen with aging. On the nose, they offer a wide range of fascinating aromas, ranging from dried roses to spices, tobacco, and leather notes. On the palate, they are full-bodied wines with significant yet silky tannins, and a structure that allows them to age for many years, developing even greater complexity and finesse.

Piedmont is the undisputed homeland of Nebbiolo, and the Langhe region, in particular, is famous for producing two of the world's most renowned Italian wines: Barolo and Barbaresco. Both are exclusively made from Nebbiolo grapes and represent the pinnacle of elegance and complexity of the grape variety. Barolo, known as the "King of Wines," is a robust and structured wine, with an intense bouquet of aromas and an aging potential that can easily exceed two or three decades. Barbaresco, on the other hand, is characterized by a softer structure and a more approachable character, while still maintaining the refinement and balance that distinguish Nebbiolo. The Nebbiolo wines of Alto Piemonte, known as Spanna, are notable for their elegant structure, moderate tannins, and remarkable freshness. Compared to Barolo and Barbaresco, the wines from this region can be more approachable at a young age, while also possessing significant aging potential. Unlike the wines from southern Piedmont, the Spanna wines of Alto Piemonte often exhibit greater elegance and distinctive minerality.

Other than Piedmont, Nebbiolo is also cultivated in other Italian regions, such as Valtellina in Lombardy, where it gives rise to elegant and highly complex wines. Additionally, the Valle d'Aosta region is worth mentioning, where Nebbiolo is grown at high altitudes, imparting distinctive freshness and liveliness to the wine.

Nebbiolo represents one of the precious gems of Italian winemaking, a grape variety that enchants wine enthusiasts around the world with its elegance and unique character. Nebbiolo wines, such as Barolo, Barbaresco, and those produced in Valtellina and Valle d'Aosta, offer an extraordinary sensory experience, telling the story and tradition of their respective regions of origin. If you are a wine lover, your collection would not be complete without at least one bottle of Nebbiolo, ready to reveal the charm and magic of Italian wine.

These are just a few Nebbiolo selected by us:

Barolo DOCG - Roberto Sarotto

Barbaresco  DOCG Sanadaive - Adriano Marco e Vittorio

Ghemme DOCG - Ioppa

Gattinara DOCG - Paride Iaretti

Valtellina Superiore DOCG Valgella - Pietro Nera

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