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Noble Nebbiolo from Piedmont

Northside Staff Tasters: Dave Pohl, ed., Dana Malley, Kelley O’Neill, and Barry Manville

British wine writer Jancis Robinson states on her web site that "if Pinot Noir is the world’s most tantalizing grape, Nebbiolo runs it a close second." Unlike Pinot Noir, however, the Nebbiolo grape is nearly impossible to find cultivated outside northwestern Italy’s Piedmont region.

A finicky grape to grow, it produces what many believe to be Italy’s greatest wines in the hills surrounding the villages of Barolo and Barbaresco, near the town of Alba. A great Barolo or Barbaresco will possess a complex aroma hinting at cherry, roses, truffles, anise, and woodsmoke — its lingering flavor complex and memorable. A price tag of $50 to $100 a bottle (or higher) is typical.

Fortunately, many producers of these wines also make a Nebbiolo produced from vines just outside the more famous areas, or bottle some of their wine as "just" Nebbiolo, and charge a more palatable price.

The staff at Northside Wine & Spirits recently blind-tasted 14 Nebbiolos priced $30 and under. The outstanding 2003 Giacomo Grimaldi Nebbiolo d’Alba ($27 a bottle) was a group favorite, earning marks that fell into the "good" to "fine" range across the board [Sku 9141].*

Produced from 43 year-old vines in Roero, just north of Barolo, it has a fabulously expansive nose of red fruits, anise, mint, and smoke. The palate is velvety, and possesses a complex flavor that goes on and on.

Serve it with game, mushroom risotto, or pasta with a meat ragu, and see why so many wine drinkers go nutty over Nebbiolo!

"Top Wine Picks" as seen in The Ithaca Journal 12/18/2006

Northside Wine & Spirits is located in the Ithaca Shopping Plaza on Elmira Road.

Phone 607-273-7500

*To purchase this wine, simply type its "Sku" into the "Find" field at the top of the page, and then click "Go."

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