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!
2016 Barboursville Nebbiolo Reserve
||7-9 days on the skins in stainless steel
|| 10-15 days
||12 months, French oak barriques, new 30%, used 70%
| Residual Sugar:
| Total Acidity:
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Tonight’s occasion: 2008 Nebbiolo by Ca’Nova, Ghemme, Piedmont, Italy.
As you’ve probably figured out by now, I am obsessed with Nebbiolo especially from Italy. They are hard to come by in this part of the world and fetch a premium. So while browsing wine.com for this month’s Explore & Taste selection, I decided to try a Nebbiolo off the beaten path.
Big warm aromatic nose permeates the space as soon as you pop the cork. This wine is still swing for the fences after 12 years. Upon closer inspection, nose is full of black berry, subtle sweet cherry notes, marshmallows and tart plum with faint slate rock undertone.
Body has a moderately acidic attack. Slightly chalky, minerality carries through. Tannins are slow to wake up, finally making their presence known towards the back. When they do, they conspire with the chalk to completely rob the palate and lips of all moisture and render dry. Body and finish feel to be one cohesive unit culminating in parched lips with a tingling of spice as you attempt to pry your parched lips apart.
This wine isn’t messing around. I think it is just now becoming approachable. For a 12 year old vintage it is appropriately aged for a Nebbiolo. It will likely drink like this for the next decade. It presents a very compelling value at around $36.
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Tonight’s occasion: 2014 Nebbiolo by La Cetto, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California, Mexico.
Yes folks. You read that right. Someone in Mexico is making a Nebbiolo. So tonight we are taking an oenological journey to find out. It’s always interesting to see how a region influences the expression of the grape. Nebbiolo outside of Italy is a rarity and often a passion project of the winemaker.
Lots of berry and oak in the nose. I suspect this has to do with the barrel aging process. A technique often used to tame a massive wine and make it a little more approachable in its younger years. The drawback is the risk of over-oaking the wine. I don’t think that’s the case here however I have to strain to pick out a subtle mineral terroir in the background. It is there nonetheless and a familiar pleasure. There is at least one more floral note I cannot pinpoint.
The body shows really good balance and restraint for a Nebbiolo especially. It’s expression sits somewhere between a classic Barolo and a crisp Barbaresco. Mineral terroir is more pronounced. Gives it more of a dry mouth feel. Firm, crisp tannins dominate the back, leading into a tart almost bitter finish. The palate quietly dries out with a tingle of spice lingering in an Iron clad tannic grip.
Once opened up it presents itself with a much more mature and refined posture. Out of the bottle the oak and berry were a bit distracting, however after letting it breathe, I must say I am impressed. The body also turns creamy.
We truly are living in a global wine making golden age. A time where I can sit in the comfort of my own home, explore and indulge in some amazing obscure vintages from around the world.
Bien hecho amigos! 🍷😁👌🏽
Tonight’s occasion: 2015 Langhe Nebbiolo by La Sacrestia. Langhe, Italy.
I am completely enamored with Nebbiolo from Langhe. This lesser known region offers great value and massively intense wines.
Crisp clean nose. Subtle tart berry with a hint of marshmallow/caramel in the back. Terroir is without a doubt all dusty mineral. Very characteristic of this region. The nose is very tight – even after aerating requires vigorous swirling to unlock the aromas – without doubt this wine has a long journey ahead of it.
Body is all business. First thing you notice is a bit more leather along with the mineral terroir. Mild acity is noticeable but restrained over a firm chassis. Good structure and balance for a Nebbiolo this young. It’s difficult to separate the body from finish as massive tannic grip emerges midway and dominates the entire experience. The more it breathes, the bigger the grip. A subtle spice makes an appearance after the fact, leaving your lips tingling.
It may be lesser known but it is no less of a Nebbiolo than its peers. It is a great bargain at around $16 from Total Wine. It presents a great opportunity. Pick up a bunch now and forget about them. Thank me in 5-10 years. 🍷😁👌🏽
Tonight’s occasion: 2017 Langhe Nebbiolo by Nada Fiorenzo.
Nose of leather and berry. Swirl it a little and out comes oak and cherry. Dry, structured and fairly balanced body features tart plum and a hint of vanilla in the back. Big, dry tannic finish leaves you parched and going for another sip.
This is a definitely Nebbiolo. Unapologetic. Unpretentious. Not unnecessarily complex or complicated. It is a well made quality wine. Although surprisingly mature for a nebbiolo this age, it is also very young and will show very nicely, given ample time. This Nebbiolo is very young but presents a unique value proposition. You can pick up a few bottles at @totalwine fairly inexpensively and forget about them for another 5 to 8 years when it should be showing marvelously. Salute! 🍷😁👌🏽
Tonight’s occasion: 2015 Nebbiolo by Travaglini Gattinara.
Clear, ruby red color. Unconventional for most Nebbiolo. Crisp nose with slightly earthy mineral terroir. A suggestion of tart plum, and at least another very faint floral aroma I cannot pinpoint. Body is dry, crisp plum, with lots of structure. A noticeable melange of leather and mineral rock emerges towards the back end of the body. An increasingly dominating tannic grip only gets stronger and more intense as it transitions to the finish by the end of which your lips and entire palate are held hostage by its intense, dry, ironclad grip. A spicy heat joins in the bold, forceful, dramatic expression and lingers long after.
This vintage is powerful and shows great potential. While it may be barely approachable now, it is nowhere near ready. I last opened a 2010 last year and reviewed it on here. This wine needs at least another 5 years. TotalWine stopped carrying it in California but I found some in Seattle this weekend. Unfortunately I am unable to continue building a vertical of it in my cellar.
[UPDATE] Wine.com carries this wine so I will resume building my vertical. See links below.
To the folks at Travaglini, I most certainly hope to see you when I visit Italy.
Molto bene! 🍷😁👌🏽
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Tonight’s occasion is a 2005 Barbaresco, Roncaglie, Poderi Colla. WOW!!! This 14 year old vintage still packs a heavy punch. It comes right out of the bottle swinging with a big nose full of dirt, terroir and aromas that instantly dominate the immediate space. A thick chewy body followed by a massive tannic finish that feels like it has no intention of fading or backing down without a fight.
I absolutely love the wine and the boat loads of attitude it has. Very unusual for a Barbaresco which tends to be on the mild side of the Nebbiolo variety. If you’re wondering what a big bold wine tastes like, then you really have to try this. The good news is you might be able to find it at your local Total Wine and every now and then you will find an older vintage like this or close. Worth every penny.
Tonight’s occasion we’re going back to Italy with this 2012 Barbaresco, Produttori del Barbaresco. I have a bit of a bittersweet relationship with Barbaresco. I’m obsessed with Nebbiolo but I find that the way it’s made in this region typically leaves me wanting more. Unlike a Barolo or a Langhe Rosso which pack a big heavy mouthfeel and long finish, the Barbaresco tends to be more delicate. I think it’s fascinating nonetheless. I feel fortunate to be able to contemplate such nuances from around the world. Have you tried any of the Italian wines? What’s your favorite?
Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Produttori del Barbaresco wines delivered to your doorstep.
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Tonight’s occasion: In honor of MLK. 2006 Barolo, Lo Zoccolaio. This wine is the embodiment of a big wine. Huge earthy nose, mineral attack with very subtle hints of caramel and berries, smooth body and long majestic gripping tannic finish that lasts all night. I am trying to build a vertical but they are rare and hard to find out here. I sometimes get lucky at Total Wine.
This wine means business. Another reminder why I am absolutely obsessed with the Nebbiolo grape and what the Italians have done with it. What’s your latest occasion?