Nebbiolo is one of Italy's finest grape varieties, often compared to Pinot Noir for its finicky nature in the vineyard and haunting fragrance in the glass. Rarely grown outside Piedmont, Nebbiolo remains little-known and largely under-valued on the international stage.
Nebbiolo's most famous wines are Barolo and Barbaresco from Piedmont, the best of which are extremely long-lived and famous for their scents of tar, violets, roses, prunes and bitter chocolate.
The grape needs plenty of sunshine to ripen fully thanks to its thick skins. When young, the wines are traditionally robust and tannic, needing a minimum of five years in bottle to mellow. These days however, many winemakers are making Nebbiolo wines that are more approachable at an earlier age.
Deep red in color with exotic aromas or cherries, tar and roses
Wines to Try
Cordone Barolo, Fontadore Damizio
Piedmont, Napa Valley
Spanna, Picoutener, Chiavennasca
- Nebbiolo takes its name from the fog (nebbia) that swirls around the Piedmontese hills at harvest time.
- Although most famous in Italy, Nebbiolo is also grown in small pockets of the New World.
- If you like Nebbiolo, you might also like: Pinot Noir from Burgundy. Brunello di Montalcino - Tuscany's most celebrated red and a match for Barolo in terms of body and longevity. Negroamaro - meaning the "black bitter one" - a strong, dark grape variety with excellent quality potential.