Nebbiolo is a red grape that is most associated with the wines of Piedmonte. A highly tannic grape, it can require many years to settle down and reveal its more elegant flavours. Thought to have been originally documented in the first century AD in the Pollenzo region (now in Barolo DOCG) the wines described showed similarities to Nebbiolo. The thirteenth century was the first documented evidence naming Nebbiolo, and half a millennia later it attracted the attention of the British who were looking to find alternatives to Bordeaux after falling out with the French.
I tried two wines from the most notable regions for Nebbiolo, Barolo and Barbaresco. Barbaresco is lighter than Barolo and is more relaxed in the rules controlling its production, whereas Barolo from an area three times the size of Barbaresco is usually concentrated and dark in its youth and then with amazing finesse at its peak.
2008 Terredavino La Casa In Collina Barbaresco
Gentle cherry spice with a little element of cherry tunes coming through. Some sweet aniseed balls come out of the nose with a lovely freshly squeezed cherry. The palate has lovely bright fruit, then it becomes darker and more earthy. Lots of tobacco, cherry stones and plum skin mixed with a pepper element coming through. The finish is a bit leathery with a cracked black pepper spice, a nudge of alcohol, and some liquorice. 88pts
2007 Fontanafredda Barolo
Dark, dry and dusty with some black cherry and boot polish. There is a dark, aniseed spice coming off, almost a bit of fennel as well mixed with a little bit of menthol. Up front you have earthy spice, dark, tannic and savoury. There is a tobacco flavour coming out that is quite big with lots of spice, alcohol, soy sauce and leather. There is some soft, violet flavours just battering their way through but the velvet glove is still in its box. 87pts