Infographic source : wine folly
Nebbiolo is a black grape variety that grows almost exclusively in Italy. It is a thick-skinned grape known for both high tannin and acidity. Nebbiolo is most commonly associated with Northern Italy’s Piedmont region where it has grown since at least the 13th century.
There are different theories on the origin of the name. It most likely comes from the Italian word meaning fog, nebbia. Traditionally Nebbiolo harvest took place in October when the fog settles over the area’s sloping vineyards.
That autumn fog burns off slowly during the day, providing cooler temperatures and slow ripening. This is known as hang time for the grape. It allows the slow development of Nebbiolo’s hauntingly beautiful aromas and flavors. Extended hang time also produces those forementioned high levels of tannin and acidity – both important factors in the balance and ageability of Nebbiolo.
Nebbiolo needs particularly careful site selection as it is not only late-ripening but also early flowering, so there is no point in planting it anywhere that might suffer from spring frosts. Hence the suitability of the slopes of the Langhe hills. Nebbiolo is popularly thought to take its name from nebbia, Italian for the fogs that characteristically drape these hills in autumn, further restricting any ability to ripen late in the growing season. Growing Nebbiolo is a question of precision engineering – not least because the vines are naturally vigorous and need extremely strict treatment in the vineyard if they are not to waste all their energy on sprouting leaves rather than ripening fruit.
The richness of the nose is one of Nebbiolo’s most loved traits. The bouquet shows aromas of tar, raspberry, chocolate, licorice, and truffles. For all the depth in Nebbiolo wines, they are surprisingly light in color and generally don’t really start to show their beauty until after 10 years when the tannins have softened.
The best expressions of the Nebbiolo are from Barbaresco and Barolo wine- both made of 100 percent Nebbiolo as per DOCG regulations. Though, the two winemaking areas only make up about three percent of the total production of Piedmont wine.
Source : Valerie Quintanilla & Jancis Robinson
Photo source : snooth