Nebbiolo is one of Italy’s most revered grape, a very old variety capable of producing perfumed, expressive, age worthy wines of great beauty.
The name Nebbiolo comes from nebbia, Italian for “fog”. The term could be referring to the fog that cover Piemonte hills when these late-ripening grapes are harvested, or could be referring to the thick, natural bloom covering the ripe berries, as if they were covered in layer of fog.
Nebbiolo is one of the oldest and most widespread varieties of Piemonte.
Early budding, very late ripening, vigorous and very fussy about soils, preferring calcareous marls such as those to the north and south of Alba on the right bank of the Tanaro in Piemonte.
Because it ripens so late, and because of the quality (and market value) of its wines, Nebbiolo is given the best hillside sites, usually facing south or south west. It’s fussy when it comes to soils, too, and produces the finest wines when planted on calcareous marls to the north and south of Alba on the right bank of the Tanaro in the DOCG zones of Barbaresco and Barolo respectively.
Nebbiolo is rivalled only by PINOT NOIR in its ability to express the subtleties of different terroirs, which is why these two zones have been so assiduously divided into named crus, but in very general terms unadulterated Nebbiolo tends to be light in colour, turning orange with bottle age rather faster than most other red wine varieties, to be high in both acid and (especially) tannin, and to exhibit a haunting array of aromas which might include tar, cordite, leaf mould, dried cherries, liquorice, violets and roses.