Why are these Wines so Yummy?
All wines are available individually too!
A Wine Decoded ‘Context & Contrast’ Wine Bite
This one is all about getting your head around Nebbiolo. We’ve put a set of crackers together for you. By the time you’re done, you’ll come away with an appreciation of the diversity of flavours, aromas, textures and styles of Nebbiolo all on the back of 6 pretty impressive drinks!
Tasting in Context & with Contrast
The Context – Nebbiolo d’Alba and Langhe Nebbiolo Wines with a ringer from the Adelaide Hills
The Contrast – Regions & Years
If you really want to get your head around these wines, try 2 or 3 at a time!
It makes it so much easier to find the differences and helps you to appreciate each wine’s qualities. Having a glass for each wine is the way to go!
If you’re up for it taste them all at once with some scaly mates. Don’t fear they’ll last for a couple of days open.
What to look out for
Tasting Order: This can be challenging, normally you’d taste by increasing fruit weight, and, increasing tannin. That’s our rationale for the pairings below.
1st Pair – Vajra + Cortese
2nd Pair – Sordo + Rivetto
3rd Pair – Arrivo + Voerzio
Aromas & Flavours: Compare the wines looking for red fruits vs dark fruits, perfume vs earthy & savoury characters.
Tannins & Texture: Think about how they feel in your which wine has softer tannins? Which wine has tannins that run further along your tongue? When you’ve finished trying them stand-alone, try them with food and see how that changes the way the tannins feel in your mouth.
Balance: Does the acid, tannin and alcohol balance or does one stick out?
When your tasting, think about the 5 elements below, they’ll make it simple and ensure you cover off the important aspects of good wine. We’ll be exploring these in detail in a series of posts for members only soon!
Tips for Drinking these Wines
🌡Temp: 16°C. We tend to drink reds an edge warm. There’s nothing wrong with chucking the bottles in the fridge for 15minutes to drop a few degrees off them. If they end up too cold they’ll warm up quickly in the glass.
🍷Decanting: All of these wines will benefit from being thrown in a decanter, particularly in their youth. If you’re using a Coravin or other wine preserver, pour enough into each glass to be able to try them over the course of several hours. These young reds will open up and be more expressive with a bit of time in the glass.
⏳Time: I love trying good wines stand alone, with food, and, often the next day. It gives them the chance to shine and ensures you don’t miss a good wine through impatience or fail to bring out it’s best by not marrying them to food.
🕯Cellaring: The rules of thumb for cellaring differ for each of the varieties and producer depending on their sites, quality of fruit and winemaking methods. Each of these wines drinks beautifully now, a testament to a skilled makers, who clearly understands the interplay between oxygen, fruit, and, tannin! These delicious Nebbiolo’s will drink well from now and over the next 5-10 years.
🥩🍝🍕🍳Food Match: Just think Piedmontese, braises, rich tomato based ragù, truffles, beef, quail, lamb, wild boar, rabbit. Beef carpaccio with egg yolk and truffle oil! Head south and pair it with a pizza and you’ll go to a happy place. They make for excellent BBQ wines too.
The Best 2 Options for Preserving your Wine:
- Grab a Coravin wine preserver.
- Watch this video, “Stop the Wine-ocide” Kaani 2012 – My Deep Dark Secret, one of my first, about saving open bottles of wine from the drain, sorry about the quality, but, the message is still there.
Nebbiolo, pronounced NEH-bee-oh-low, is such a unique variety. The name is derived from the Italian word Nebbia meaning fog. To theories for the name exist. The first that it refers to the fog that the vineyards of the Langhe are often immersed in. Second that the natural bloom that covers the grapes gives them a foggy appearance. Given the latter applies to most red grapes I prefer the former! There are 4 main clones of which Nebbiolo Lampia dominates over Nebbiolo Michet, Rosé (now proven to be a different variety), and, Bolla.
Where is it grown?
Southern central and north Piemonte: Langhe including Verduno, Roero, Ast, Carema, Biella, Novara and Vercelli. It is also grown in the lower parts of the Valle d’Aosta where it is known as Picotendroi, and, Lombardy amongst others.
What does it taste like?
The ultimate case of not judging a book by its cover, Nebbiolo, at first appears pale in colour, old wines can have the appearance of rusty tap water.
Then you smell it! The aroma of most red wines is dominated by fruit characters. In contrast, Nebbiolo’s aroma is typically a mix of complex secondary aroma, earthy, tary, spice, rose, citrus peel, woody herbs like rosemary, liquorice, phenol, dark chocolate, tabacco, truffles, leather, and, dark cherry fruit, often more evident on the palate. You’ll see this difference immediately comparing the Barbera and Dolcetto in this trilogy.
Good Nebbiolo has a core of fruit running the length of your tongue, along with layers of those same secondary characters. Nebbiolo’s grape tannins give it a distinct texture, that for those who have not tried it before can seem hard, and, unyielding. Look for the quality and depth of tannin.
Achieving well balance tannin, alcohol, and, acidity makes for great Nebbiolo.
More than most other Italian wines, Nebbiolo, demands food to be at it’s best. A little fat and salt, enhance the texture and bring out the flavours.
Where in the World do the Wines Come From?
Arrivo from the Adelaide Hills.
Vajra’s from Barolo, Novello, Sinio and Bricco Bertone all in Barolo
Sordo’s from the Roero just to the north of Barolo and the Commune of Valmaggiore
Cortese’s from the Rabajà vineyard in Barbaresco
Rivetto’s from Serralunga d’Alba in Barolo
Voerzio’s from La Morra in Barolo
The 2007 Vintage
2007 in the Adelaide Hills an excellent year. Cooler, pristine fruit. The wines tell the story now.
The 2016 Vintage
2016 was a beautiful, classic vintage. Locals called it “a farmer’s year” for what is a very rare combination of high quality, purity of aromatics and generous crop. After a mild winter, temperatures dropped in March with a lot of rain that enriched the water reserves. Flowering was abundant thanks to the gentle weather conditions, shaping the vintage into one of lift and energy over concentration. Night temperatures remained low throughout the Spring, and phenological ripening was delayed until the very end of the summer. It will be reminded as one of the longest-lasting vintages of recent days, with picking starting in September and well into late October, similarly to 2004, 2008 and 2013.
The energy we’re seeing from Barbaresco is incredible.
The 2017 Vintage
2017 was a vintage of rich wines with plenty of energy and aromatics. After a mild winter with little snow and an anticipated vegetative development, temperatures brutally dropped around mid April, causing frost across Europe (4/19th-20th). The Vajra vineyards were entirely spared from the ice, being located at high elevation, with our immense relief and gratitude. Starting May, weather turned stable. Days were hot but nights cooler than in 2003 or 2011. The major diuturnal drop preserved the vines from water stress, despite little rainfalls. High elevation sites received more water too, contributing to a very healthy balance for the vines. By early September, night temperatures dropped even further, enhancing phenolic ripening while slowing down sugar accumulation. Average time between bud break and ripening was of 185 days. As a reference, ‘hot’ vintages lengthen 170 days and ‘late’ vintage 200 days (source: Consorzio Langhe).