1. This is one of the best tastings of Nebbiolos that I've ever had. Probably because there was only
one Barbaresco included. And it was magnificant. I liken drinking Nebbiolo from B/B to stuffing violet
petals up one nostril, lilac petals up the other nostril, sealing both nostrils w/ a plug of hot road tar, sticking your tongue out between the jaws of a vice and torqueing that sucker down; there are some
pleasurable things involved... but there's also a lot of pain involved.
2. Groppello: There are several distinct grape varieties in Italy that go under the name Groppello. The
one around LakeGarda is known as Groppello di Mocasina. As usual, RobTebeau has a good rundown:
I've had two other Groppello. This one was easily the best. It reminded me a lot of good Refosco or
LaCrima di Morra d'Alba from it's plummy black cherry character. They should be planting this all
up&down the coast of Calif.
3. Nebbiolo&Terroir: It's been stated that Nebbiolo is the grape variety that displays its terroir more
than any other grape variety. NoNoNoNo insist the Burgundy-lovers, it's obviously PinotNoir that
expresses terroir best. Not sure I have the definitive answer, but I lean towards the Nebbiolo camp.
The diversity that Nebbiolo displays in Italy and in Calif is one of the things that makes the variety so interesting. I find it fascinating that many of the Calif winemakers who are interested in Nebbiolo are already making fine PinotNoir.
The big problem is to get folks to try US Nebbiolo with an open mind. Many folks will try a US Nebbiolo and find it lacking...it doesn't taste like Langhe Nebbiolo. Well....doh....there's no friggin' reason that it should...no more than Valtelline Nebbiolo tastes like Langhe Nebbiolo. For those folks, they should remain in their tiny little boxes and drink only Langhe Nebbiolo till the cows come home (Kansas colloquialism for "forever"). But I think the real potential for growth in the US Nebbiolo market is open-minded wine drinkers of Calif/WashState wines that try them and find something unique. Just like everyone from Atlanta doesn't speak w/ a Southern drawl; there is no reason that Nebbiolo can't speak in a different voice from Langhe or Valtelline Nebbiolo.
I thought all of these Calif/WashState Nebbs were as good as any I've had. They all spoke of Nebb varietal character..some w/ different voices than others. It's certainly not clear what PasoRobles Nebbiolo is "supposed" to taste like and those who worship at the altar of varietal typicity or the altar of terrior are likely to find hese US versions wanting...but I thought they were all danged fine wines. End of rant.
4. WashStateNebb: Way back when, PeterDow made the first WashState Nebbiolos. I did a visit w/ him early on at CafeJuanita where he made the wine. They were quite good and reminded me much of some of the Valtelline Sfursats. The wines were pretty big, fair amount of oak. Alas, never had an older one. I understand he no longer makes Nebbiolo. Cavatappi was the label. Just noticed a Cavatappi Nebbiolo Grappa at a local wine shop this weekend.
This WindRose of DavidVolmut's was the first new WashState Nebb I've tried. Never heard of the 24K vnyd before & not sure where it's located. Again, the Nebbiolo spoke in a voice I'd never heard
before. Definitely Nebbiolo, but a black cherry character that reminded me some of RRV or SRH Pinot.
A pretty big wine, but very well-made.
5. Pelizatti-Perego: I first encountered these wines back in the early '70's, when they were under the ArturoPelizzatti label up at LiquorMart in Boulder. They were wines that made me fall in love with
Nebbiolo, especially those from the Valtelline. The wines sorta disappeared from the market in the
mid-late '70's. About 2-3 yrs ago, I stumbled upon the wines from Ar.Pe.Pe (Arturo Pelizzatti-Perego)
up in Boulder. Not a name I recognized, but I immediately recognized the design of the label as almost exactly the old ArturoPelizzatti. Their WebSite (www.arpepe.com/en/copertina) is worth taking a look.
The vineyards are absolutely spectacular...must be brutal to harvest. I've had some 4-5 of the Ar.Pe.Pe wines since I rediscovered them. They have all been very good to outstanding. This Sassella absolutely blew me away...one of the most spectacular expressions of Nebbiolo I can recall. It had amazing aromatics and flavors that absolutely soared across the palate. I could only think of the TWA overhaul hanger in KansasCity, designed by the great Finnish architect Eero Saarinen, or MosheSafdie's spectacular EwingKauffman PerformingArtsCentre in KansasCity; two of the most spectacular pieces of architecture I know; structures that soar & sweep across the sky like an eagle gracefully seeking its prey. This wine is equally spectacular.
6. Harrington: These are wines made by BryanHarrington in SanFrancisco. WebSite: www.HarringtonWine.com He, like MattRorick/Forlorn-Hope, has an interest in making varietals that are on the obscure side. Alas, many of then are done in miniscule quantities. I think he's doing a particularly good job with Nebbiolo in Calif. And he's still trying to figure out how to make the stuff. Bryan's wines tend to be more on the elegant side of the spectrum. Particularly his Pinots are some of the more refined/elegant Pinots being made in Calif. Yet he hasn't (yet, anyway) become one of the poster childs for the IPOB crowd. But, given the right grapes, he's fully capable of making big/extracted wines that would play well in Monktown...if'n they ever made it there.