Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Nebbiolo Reserve by Barboursville Vineyards, Virginia, USA.
Restrained nose with clear hints of cherry and caramel. I don’t expect an overly complex experience from Nebbiolo. This one is no exception. It is a little shy on the nose. Aromas are clean, crisp and delineated. A fine leather undertone emerges once opened up.
This is interesting. Body is equally restrained, light, dry, void of any fruit. A very subtle herbal leather undertone carries through. It is very balanced. A hint of black currant quickly counters a mildly acidic attack. It is approachable out of the bottle. Once decanted (at least 20 minutes), a dry tannic grip emerges to dominate most of the body through a slightly tart plum finish capped with a little spice. A relentless dry tannic grip leaves the lips (and palate) parched and sealed shut. Further decanting reveals caramel notes throughout the body and finish. I suspect this is from the oxidation of tannins and the lack of any residual sugars which allows such subtlety to play out on the palate.
This wine has more of the posture of a Barbaresco which tend to be on the lighter more nuanced side (for a Nebbiolo) as opposed to a Barolo which are typically dark, heavy and leathery or a Langhe Nebbiolo which are typically dark, massive, mineral, tannic beasts.
While still clearly young, I suspect this wine will not change much over the next decade and beyond. The attention to detail shows here. Nebbiolo in this part of the world is a labor of love and a passion project. There is an adherence to core traditional winemaking principles here. It is a well made wine. The more I progress with this tasting the more I appreciate it. I am very curious to see what it is like after it’s had 10+ years to relax and further develop.
Watching the sunset in my backyard in California, I am exploring a Nebbiolo from Virginia and it is a serious wine. Less than two weeks ago I had no idea grapes grew in Virginia. This is an amazing time for a WineSnob to be alive. Well done Barboursville!
|Fermentation:||7-9 days on the skins in stainless steel|
|Aging:||12 months, French oak barriques, new 30%, used 70%|
| Residual Sugar: