Nebbiolo is a red wine that was born in the mountains of northern Italy in the region of Piedmont. This is the region that’s famous for its Barolo and Barbaresco wine, which can fetch hundreds of dollars per bottle, but what many don’t realize is that Nebbiolo is the sole grape used to make these high-end wines. Often times, the Nebbiolo grapes used to make Barolo and Barbaresco are grown within feet of the grapes used to make Nebbiolo, and the only difference is the perceived quality of one vine over another, similar to Burgundy’s Cru classifications.
Barolo and Barbaresco can only be made in a few villages in the region of Piedmont; if your vineyard is not located in one of those villages, you can’t make Barolo or Barbaresco. But Nebbiolo is grown all over the region, not just in the villages that use it to create the high end wines.
As a winemaker’s wife in Italy once told us, Piemontese sell their expensive Barolos and Barbarescos on the international market, and leave affordable and delicious Nebbiolo for themselves. “It’s the wine we drink when we celebrate an occasion,” she said.
One of the most beautiful aspects of Nebbiolo is its scent — the wine actually smells of roses. This makes the wine wonderful for celebrating special occasions, and perfect for the decanter.
In addition to this notable scent, the wine has a great amount of acidity, mouth-drying tannins and earthy flavors that go well with all types of food. Making a prime rib roast? Nebbiolo will got with it beautifully. A rack of lamb? Nebbiolo’s there to marry all the flavors. A rich mushroom lasagna? Nebbiolo’s got you covered. Trust us, with almost any dish you’re going to make this wine will pair perfectly.
While Barolo and Barbaresco may be the wine of kings and queens, with the price tag to prove it, Nebbiolo’s the wine for the rest of us, with great bottles that can be found for a price that’s usually only around $20. As our Italian friend said, “Nebbiolo’s our little secret here.” And now it’s yours too.