Nebbiolo Wines are perfect for enjoying with good food and close friends. Maybe consider limiting the number of friends though, it's rarely cheap stuff!
Nebbiolo's roots seem to be firmly based in Piemonte in North West Italy, especially since it is not very widely planted elsewhere. The two main sub-regions in Piemonte for Nebbiolo are Barolo and Barbaresco but it is grown all around the North West with fine examples coming from Langhe and Lombardia. The first recorded mention of the grape is under the name Nibiol back in 1266, 700 years before a terrible thing happened to Scottish Football fans.
The name derives from 'nebbia', Italian for fog and it is thought that this is either because of the thick natural bloom that covers the grapes when ripe or from the fog that often covers the Piemonte hills around harvest time.
The Nebbiolo vine is a pretty fussy when it comes to the soils in which it is planted and would appear to prefer the calcareous marl in Piemonte. In the conditions this region provides it can be vigorous, producing a good yield of grapes that truly express their terroir. Due to the quality potential and market value Nebbiolo is always planted on the best south-facing slopes in order for it to achieve full ripeness.
There are some successful plantings in Australia, California in the USA, and Argentina and there has been relative success in the small vineyard area planted in Mexico but probably around 90% of the world's Nebbiolo grapes are grown in Italy.
There are still a few Barolo wines made in the traditional way which draws arguably excessive tannin from the Nebbiolo grapes meaning the wines need time softening with extended aging in Oak Botti. Botti are large wooden tanks designed to age the wine gracefully without too much oak influence on the final wine. Modern Nebbiolo is generally more fruit driven in style with more efficiency in the winery meaning shorter maceration times, shorter fermentation and earlier bottling after more concentrated oak aging. The wines are often more accessible in youth though most still also age beautifully.
Food Matches for Nebbiolo
Italian cuisine is best for matching and as a wine from the north of the country with good fresh acidity, Nebbiolo is a great food wine. The grapes are late season ripening and have that sense of place the French call Terroir, so seasonal Autumnal produce makes for a cracking pairing. Pasta or Risotto dishes with mushrooms, squash or pumpkin pair very nicely with the earthy, floral and diversely fruited flavours of the wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. This earthiness in the flavour profile of the wine is also good with polenta and chickpeas.
Eating Game is particularly rewarding when washed down with good Barolo or Barbaresco, especially with seasonal vegetables all cooked in oodles of butter. The herbal nuances in the wines are also very helpful on the wine pairing front.
Cheeses local to the region are a fine match too, Fontina from the Valle d'Aosta is a particular favourite but Nebbiolo wines are good all round as a cheese and charcuterie accompaniment.
Discover our Collection of Wines made from Nebbiolo
We hope you enjoy discovering our range of the powerful yet beautiful wines made from the Nebbiolo grape, whether Barolo or Barbaresco or one of the others available.
If you're looking for a particular wine, please reach out to our team who'll be happy to help. Alternatively you can always explore our Wine Discovery Guide or Wine Collections for some inspiration.