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Nebbiolo

Nebbiolo (Italian), or Nebieul (Piedmontese) is an Italian red wine grape variety predominantly associated with its native Piedmont region, where it makes the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) wines of Barolo, Barbaresco, Roero, Gattinara and Ghemme. Nebbiolo is thought to derive its name from the Italian word nebbia which means "fog." During harvest, which generally takes place late in October, a deep, intense fog sets into the Langhe region where many Nebbiolo vineyards are located. Alternative explanations refers to the fog-like milky veil that forms over the berries as they reach maturity, or that perhaps the name is derived instead from the Italian word nobile, meaning noble. Nebbiolo produces lightly-colored red wines which can be highly tannic in youth with scents of tar and roses. As they age, the wines take on a characteristic brick-orange hue at the rim of the glass and mature to reveal other aromas and flavors such as violets, tar, wild herbs, cherries, raspberries, truffles, tobacco, and prunes. Nebbiolo wines can require years of aging to balance the tannins with other characteristics.

So what does Nebbiolo at its best taste like? It's one of the few grapes you can sometimes identify simply by its colour alone, for it tends to take on a brick-orange tinge at the rim of its blackish ruby relatively early in its often-long life.

Perhaps the most wonderful thing about Nebbiolo is its perfume. The wine is typically intensely aromatic, developing the most extraordinarily haunting bouquet in which, variously, roses, autumn undergrowth, woodsmoke, violets and tar can often be found - together with a greater variety of other ingredients than most other grapes. On the palate, the wine is typically high in acidity and, until after many years in bottle, tannins.

Some top examples of Barolo and Barbaresco include Roberto Voerzio, Cerequio; Gaja, Sorì Tildìn; Aldo Conterno, Gran Bussia; Paolo Scavino, Bric dël Fiasc; Conterno Fantino, Sorì Ginestra; Domenico Clerico, Percristina; and Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia.

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