The group at #ItalianFWT (Italian Food Wine & Travel) is celebrating the Big B’s of Italy! Last month Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm led us on an exploration of Brunell. Earlier in the year, in May, Gwendolyn Alley led us to explore Barbera.This month I am leading us into Barbaresco and next month we will be on to Barolo!
So, here’s a bit about the region and this wine.
Barbaresco is a region in Piemonte in northwest Italy. Piemonte translates to “at the foot of the mountains”, and indeed the region sits at the foot of the Alps. This region is known for multiple wines, It is the second-largest producer of DOC and DOCG wines in Italy (the first being Veneto). There is beautiful scenery, truffles, and wines from grapes including Arneis, Barbera, Cortese, Dolcetto, Moscato and, the grape we will be focusing on, Nebbiolo.
(It’s the light purple region to the upper left of the map)
Nebbiolo in Piemonte
Nebbiolo comes from the word nebbia meaning fog. The fog hangs in the tight folds of the Langhe hills where Barolo and Barbaresco vineyards are found.
Barolo and Barbaresco are the 2 most prominent DOCGs for Nebbiolo although the grape is used in at least 7 other DOCGs as their primary grape. The wines are named after the two towns on historic hills by the same name. These wines are 100% Nebbiolo.
Barolo tends to be very intense requiring 38 months aging, 62 months for Reserva. Barbaresco is more elegant, slightly less powerful, and requires 26 months aging, with 50 months for the Reserva.
A classic nose on a Nebbiolo is often described as “tar & roses”. This black grape name I mentioned referred to the fog…well, there are other versions also some say the name comes for Noble (nobile) others that it referred to the “foggy” thick bloom on the grapes before harvest. The grape is the first to bud and the last to ripen and prefers hillsides with southern exposures.
While the wines made from Nebbiolo are powerful and tannic, the wine itself is lighter in color than you might expect, often looking like a pale Pinot Noir. It resembles Pinot Noir in another way also, in that it picks up on soils and can express itself very differently depending on where it is grown.
I mentioned that the color is light in these wines. Well, it doesn’t start that way. The anthocyanins (the color pigments) in this wine drop out quickly, so as it ages, it lightens in color, as all wines do, but faster than other varieties.
Barbaresco is Northeast and East of the city of Alba. Soils here are Calcareous clay that is said to give the wine its perfumed, fruit-forward style. There are also Marl soils that create more tannic wines.
Due to the climate, the grapes in Barbaresco ripen earlier than those in Barolo. Barbaresco sits close to the River Tanaro. This creates a lighter style of Nebbiolo which is why the aging requirements are less.
Join the #ItalianFWT writers will be gathering on Twitter on Saturday, November 6th at 8 am (Pacific time) or 11 am (Eastern time) to discuss this beautiful region and its wines. You can join the conversation by following and using the hashtag #ItalianFWT on Twitter at that time.
All of these writers will have their own takes on Barbaresco and what to pair it with. All of the articles will go live on Friday with links to them below.
- Wendy with A Day in the Life on the Farm shares Pure Comfort~~Roast Chicken, Wild Rice Pilaf, and a Glass of Barbaresco Wine
- Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares Risotto ai Tre Funghi, Rosticciana al Forno, + Fontanafredda Silver Label Barbaresco 2015
- Lynn of Savor the Harvest is Reaching for Barbaresco Basarin with Marco and Vittorio Adriano
- Susannah of Avvinare is Exploring The Beauty of Barbaresco
- Marcia of Joy of Wine is pairing Hearty Beef Stew and Barbaresco
- Martin of Enofylz Wine Blog has a 2017 Riva Leone Barbaresco Paired With Italian Fare and Friends
- Gwendolyn Alley of Wine Predator shares Affordable Riva Leone Barbaresco Meets Bolognese
- Nicole of Somm’s Table will share An Anniversary Celebration with La Spinetta Vursu Gallina Barbaresco and Braised Spatchcocked Duck
- Jennifer of Vino Travels shares The Beauty of Barbaresco with Vite Colte
- Here on Crushed Grape Chronicles, we will be sharing Barbaresco and Thanksgiving Flavors
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.