In many ways (tannins, body, acidity) Nebbiolo is nearly Pinot Noir’s opposite. But in regards to the difficulty in working with, Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir are nearly identical. Both varieties present numerous challenges to both viticulturalists and winemakers, including the fact that the characteristics of both grapes vary significantly based on soil and climate conditions.
In regions such as Italy’s Barolo and Barbaresco, the difficulty in working with Nebbiolo is more than made up for with the production of exceptional, age worthy wines. These wines have massive structures, rich, deep colors, significant tannins and good acidity making them excellent candidates for continued improvement with bottle aging. Nebbiolo is to Italy’s Piedmont as Cabernet Sauvignon is to France’s Bordeaux.
As with other varieties, various regions in the U.S. have attempted to replicate and improve upon Italy’s success with Nebbiolo. To date, the Santa Maria Valley and Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County have had the most success with producing quality Nebbiolo-based wines.
- Nebbiolo is a tough wine to get right — but worth the effort - October 16, 2015 at The Seattle Times