Sunday, May 23, 2010

TN: A handful of recent Nebbiolos

I've been on a bit of Nebbiolo kick of late as it's a varietal of great character--tannic and acidic, yet also aromatic and lithe. Unfortunately, it's a varietal that rarely performs well as a value priced wine. That hasn't stopped me from trying to find reasonably priced wines, however. The most respected Nebbiolos--Barolo and Barbaresco--not only are expensive, but typically requires years if not decades to peak. It's a waste to drink them excessively young, which is where their less expensive siblings like Nebbiolo d'Alba and Langhe Nebbiolo come in.

Having tried a mix of domestic and imported versions, I'd have to say that only the Vietti Perbacco and Matteo Correggia were really complete wines. Both are around $20, though, which is a nice value in my book. I'll be buying some higher end Nebbiolos to age, but the young drinkers actually are a solid value if you like the style. I do, and I'll be back for more.
  • 2006 Vietti Langhe Nebbiolo Perbacco - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
    This one is a winner. Aromas are hard to pin down--very much a bouquet. Some spice and anise notes along with pure darker fruits. Just a hint of tar. Very good body and texture for a Nebbiolo. Plummy flavors. Steely acidity picks up on the finish along with earthy nuances. Moderately tannic, but not astringent. The finish lasts on this one. Really packs a lot of depth and character given its price.

  • 2000 Bricco Buon Natale Ragazzo Legnoso Estate Bottled Bricco Buon Natale - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley
    50% Nebbiolo, 50% Barbera. Good rustic wine with a bit of age. Herbs, leather and horse sweat on the nose. Lighter body with high acidity. Nice freshness, still has plenty of fruit on the palate. Not much to the finish. A table wine with with character, but not much depth on the mid-palate and finish.

  • 2005 Damilano Nebbiolo d'Alba - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Nebbiolo d'Alba
    Nice tar, anise, herbs and spice on the nose. High acidity. Liking the mildly herbaceous flavor. But perhaps lacking a bit of flesh and a hair over-extracted. The dark color (for Nebbiolo) and medicinal cherry flavor suggest over-extraction, at least. Definitely varietal Neb, albeit fairly direct. Although this is still moderately tannic, I don't think this is going to get much better with age. Cork said Damilano Barolo. If this is indeed declassified Barolo, it definitely was the right decision. This is right on as entry level Nebbiolo, but I wouldn't be enamored at all with a Barolo name and price.

  • 2003 Martin & Weyrich Nebbiolo Il Vecchio Reserve - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
    Tobacco/cigar box, dried cherries, licorice, ginger. Fruit is on the sweet/roasted/raisined side. But the acidity and tannins are also there. Sweet fruit wins out, though. It does show some varietal character and is comparable to a similarly overripe Piedmont Nebbiolo I had recently. A nice deal at $5 in the bargain bin.

  • 2005 Azienda Agricola Matteo Correggia Roero - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Roero DOC
    Really needed some air to open up, 1 hr+. Orange peel, balsamic, tobacco and dried cherries on the nose, though weak until open. Palate is good and acidic with pleasant drying tannins. Picked up weight with time, showing red fruit, balsamic and earth. Still on the light-medium body side of it. Clean, linear flavors with a pleasant finish. I really like this style of wine (high acid, honest tannin) though more effusive aromas are preferred.

  • 2005 Mckeon-Phillips Nebbiolo Bella's - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
    Fruit-forward style. Tight on the nose, eventually yields tobacco, asian spice and some cheesy funk. Good acidity. Not much structure, kind of a Beaujolais-style Nebbiolo. Like the cleanliness on the finish, very dry without being punishing. Nice delicious factor, but missing the depth and structure of an old world wine. Opens up with air.


Matt Mauldin said...

I bought a bottle of that Vietti a month or so back... glad to hear the vote of confidence.

Lisa Lorenz said...

My fav is Vietti's Nebbiolo Perbacco...I just adore this wine! Magnficent! I think I am going to go open a bottle now. Everytime I see them in stock at my SAQ (wine store in Quebec) I buy them all! Nice blog you have