There is something about the Fall months that really makes me want to open wines made from one of my favorite grapes, Nebbiolo from Piemonte. Don’t get me wrong, I like Nebbiolo most anytime, so why the Fall thing? I really have no idea except maybe it’s the crisper air or the scent of dried leaves. Maybe it’s the thought of seasonal wild mushrooms or truffle. Or maybe it’s that dinner slowly roasting in the oven, filling the house with savory aromas. Well, whatever the reason, it just seems to be the perfectly appropriate time of year for a good Nebbiolo, with its fragrant aromas of red fruit, flowers and spice. And, when it comes to food matches, it works great with a variety of flavors and textures, from lighter fare like chicken, turkey and pork as well as heavier roasts, lamb, sausages, and game.
So, you say, I like Nebbiolo too, but those big tannic Barolos and Barbarescos need plenty of time to come around, not to mention they are usually on the fairly pricey side. Yes, you are mostly right on both counts and that’s why a number of producers bottle a Nebbiolo that’s for earlier drinking and easier on the pocketbook. This is very fortunate for us and the winemakers as well, since they certainly like to drink their Nebbiolos too!
Here are some very affordable and excellent Nebbiolos to enhance your Fall Season dinners. By the way, the Piemontese name, Nebbiolo, comes from the word nebbia, or fog, which often appears during the Fall months at the bottom of the steep vine covered hills.
2008 Giovanni Almondo Nebbiolo – Roero DOCG ($17.99): From the Roero region north of Alba across from the Tanaro river, this wine displays classic red fruits, Asian spice, slight earthiness and good lift from its bright, fresh acidity. Try with roasted chicken, turkey, pheasant or grilled tuna.
2008 Cornarea Nebbiolo – Roero DOCG ($24.99): Also from the Roero region,with a similar flavor profile as the Almondo, this wine has a broader texture, density and weight, and a bit more complexity than the Almondo. Try with lamb chops or sausages.
2008 Ca’Rossa “Audinaggio” Nebbiolo – Roero DOCG ($34.99): A very fine example of how good Roero Nebbiolo can be, this beautiful wine displays richness and elegance. Cherries, flowers and spice combine to create an intriguing bouquet that leads to a round and smooth long finish. Try with pork chops and rosemary or filet.
2008 Angelo Germano Nebbiolo – Langhe DOC ($21.99): From the Langhe, the region south and east of the Tanaro river, this Nebbiolo displays red fruits, spice and a touch of tobacco and earth. Medium bodied, the wine unfolds nicely in the glass, gaining more nuance and complexity. Have with grilled Portobello mushrooms or game.
Gary M., Beltramo’s Wine Consultant