Nebbiolo

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Nebbiolo is among the most noble of Italy’s 350-plus grape varieties and is named after the nebbia (fog) that sometimes covers Piedmont vineyards. High in acid and alcohol with firm tannins, Nebbiolo can be unforgiving and hard to appreciate, even for the seasoned wino; however, drink the right bottle and you’ll be hooked for life. Nebbiolo excels around the towns of Barolo and Barbaresco, producing complex wines with aromas of roses, cherries, plums and tar. With numerous communes and ideologies, the region has seen many disputes over the years: ‘traditionalists’, such as Bartolo Mascarello, blend all of their Nebbiolo vineyards into a single cuvée, ageing it in large old oak botti; ‘modernists’ like Angelo Gaja produce single vineyard crus using shorter macerations and new oak barriques. Domaines also produce Langhe Nebbiolo, a value alternative to the top cuvées, and lovely wines are also to be found in nearby Gattinara and Valtellina.