2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

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Robert Pavlovich
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2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#1 Post by Robert Pavlovich » December 5th, 2019, 10:39 am

Drinking up in Oakland the other night with a few friends and Nebbiolo connoisseurs. There was a good spread of wines on the table but a flight of two 2008 Nebbiolo’s yielded some shocking results. Both were poured in to decanters about 7 hours beforehand. We knew one of the wines was an 08’ Sottimano Barbaresco Riserva. The other wine was an unknown 2008 Nebbiolo, and I had (incorrectly) assumed it would be another wine from Piemonte.

When we got in to the wines, we started with what turned out to be the ringer, and it was immediately expressive on the nose with excellent typicity. There was some milk chocolate on the palate, but this note was there for both wines, and has been there on older Giacosa’s I’ve tasted. Anyhow, despite being a slight distraction, the wine was undeniably showing very well, and passing for a good wine from Piedmont, with attractive dark red fruit, elevated acidity, mouth coating tannins. Good, full finish. On reveal it was a 2008 Wind Gap Nebbiolo - Luna Matta & Glen Rose Vineyards, Paso Robles - 8 barrels, 180 cases

Just a crazy result.

The Sottimano in the next glass got some high praise for its color by one taster, and the wife of the host preferred it, though it was fairly closed aromatically, and a bit tighter on the palate. Darker in color, with finer grained tannins, it just lacked the openness and roundness that the Wind Gap had. That being said, in another ten years, I’d have to think the Sottimano would turn the tables and blossom, it was still a very shocking result and a reminder of just how bold of a variety Nebbiolo is.

Though I do think there were some conditions that allowed for the Wind Gap to perform so much higher than expectations, like the vintage and time we opened the wine being key. Maybe some intricacies in how the wine was made and the sites. Whatever it was, it went totally ignored by the market as the wine had to go on clearance and my friend bought 6 bottles at a ridiculous price of $10/each. Yes, we may have mentioned he should’ve bought a lot more, but lucky that he bought any quantity at all. It must have been pretty youthfully austere, and Nebbiolo wasn’t really a thing (less so than today, anyhow) in the SoCal market ten years ago.

We also had a 2008 Wind Gap Sonoma Coast Syrah, brought by Brian Tuite that was really showy and excellent.
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Last edited by Robert Pavlovich on December 6th, 2019, 2:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mike Rotondo
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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#2 Post by Mike Rotondo » December 5th, 2019, 11:01 am

That Wind Gap Nebbiolo was a cool wine - I really enjoyed the '06, similar to your experience, and I also regret not buying more at the blowout price.

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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#3 Post by Geoff F. » December 5th, 2019, 11:09 am

I preferred the 2008 to the 2006, and wish I had more. Unbelievable value at under $10 on blowout.
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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#4 Post by Chris Seiber » December 5th, 2019, 2:55 pm

I have one bottle of the 09 Wind Gap nebbiolo. Should I open it in the next couple of years? I've always been curious what that would be like, and how long I ought to age it.

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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#5 Post by Wes Barton » December 5th, 2019, 3:17 pm

We sourced Neb from Luna Matta from '08 to '16, blending it with another west side Paso vineyard through '14. It's an excellent site. Limestone with a cool coastal influence.

Giornata gets their Neb and some other stuff from there. Label co-owner Stefi is also the vineyard manager for that site.
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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#6 Post by John Morris » December 5th, 2019, 3:23 pm

Jim Clendenen is making some very impressive nebbiolos under his Clendenden Family label. Would love to try a Wind Gap!
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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#7 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » December 5th, 2019, 3:38 pm

I still have some of the 2009 Wind Gap in the cellar (and some 2006 may be buried down there). The ‘09 reminded me of the Ferrando Carema (white label) when I last tasted it.
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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#8 Post by Wes Barton » December 5th, 2019, 4:47 pm

John Morris wrote:
December 5th, 2019, 3:23 pm
Jim Clendenen is making some very impressive nebbiolos under his Clendenden Family label. Would love to try a Wind Gap!
Yes! The '08 Clendenen Family is probably the best CA Neb I've had. The Fogarty ones from their Gist Vyd. and Idlewild are a couple other faves.
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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#9 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » December 5th, 2019, 4:56 pm

I bought only one bottle each of the '06 and '08 (along with many of their other non-nebby wines) in the blowout. I think I already drank the '06 and still have the '08, but will have to check. I'm looking forward to that "I wish I had bought more of this" reaction (which always beats the "why did I buy this?" reaction).

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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#10 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » December 5th, 2019, 4:58 pm

Check out Idlewild for some really neat Cali Nebbiolo.
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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#11 Post by Andy K » December 5th, 2019, 5:38 pm

John Morris wrote:
December 5th, 2019, 3:23 pm
Jim Clendenen is making some very impressive nebbiolos under his Clendenden Family label. Would love to try a Wind Gap!
Yes, this! Best non-Piedmonte Nebbiolo I have ever had was a Clendenen Family Wines “The PiP” Nebbiolo. I think it was an ‘06 a number of years ago. Great wine, and value.
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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#12 Post by Dave H. » December 5th, 2019, 5:47 pm

Also like the Wind Gap neb. I have bought a bunch of wind gap at the clearance prices in recent months and the 2006 Nebbiolo is the best bottle I’ve had.
Have a few 2011 arriving sometime soon, too. Good wine!
Last edited by Dave H. on December 6th, 2019, 7:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#13 Post by D a v e M » December 5th, 2019, 10:05 pm

The two bottles Rob discusses fit within the night posted on by Brian Tuite Dec. 3 under the 'What bottle of wine did you open...' thread.

These two nebs did provide the greatest fascination of the night for me, especially in their interplay. The WindGap gained more from the (lengthier than one hour I think) decanting than the Sottimano, at this stage in its lifetime. Plenty of other good wines, too, but several were too young to show their true character. These two were singing even if the Sottimano might dazzle more complexly further down the line. And yeah, I'm the one who commented on how gorgeous it looked at this point even if the WindGap bouquet took it on points.

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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#14 Post by D a v e M » December 6th, 2019, 3:55 pm

Checked with the host and it was a seven hour single decant for both those 2008s.
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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#15 Post by Rich Salsano » December 7th, 2019, 4:15 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
December 5th, 2019, 4:58 pm
Check out Idlewild for some really neat Cali Nebbiolo.
Agreed. Tasted there in September. Really well made wines.
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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#16 Post by Richard Foxall » December 22nd, 2019, 12:45 pm

Geoff F. wrote:
December 5th, 2019, 11:09 am
I preferred the 2008 to the 2006, and wish I had more. Unbelievable value at under $10 on blowout.
Back in August, I stopped off at Giornata in Paso Robles's Tin City area. I recommend the area and especially Gironata. Stephanie Terrizzi, the co-owner and enologist, has a good explanation for why the younger '08 is actually the better wine. According to her, the vines matured in the two years (she actually pinpointed it to right between the 2007 and 2008 vintages) and grew noticeably thicker in the trunks. She thinks that the wines taste more developed earlier as a result. I think she probably knows Luna Matta as well as anyone, so I will take her at her word.

I have my own opinions about where Nebbiolo would do best in California, but the wines from Luna Matta, both the Wind Gap and the Giornata, have thus far proven the best to me. While we were tasting with Brian and Stephanie, Brian (her husband and co-owner/winemaker) was on the phone saving Luna Matta. Daou had made the owners an offer and planned to rip up the whole vineyard and plant Cab for their empire of supermarket Cab. Giornata and other wineries reliant on that vineyard for much of their Italian varietal grapes would have been devastated. Brian connected with an investor, winemakers committed to the vines, and the vineyard was kept out of the clutches of Daou. It was cool to hear that happening, and Brian is a wine-hero of mine for that.

I also liked this Wind Gap wine better than any other Pax Mahle wine I have had. Of course, Neb heads like me swoon for the grape, but I think because he doesn't really have an established style or a market expectation, he probably was more hands-off with it. I doubt it was made in large botti, but I don't get oak influence on it. (Brian uses neutral barrels at Giornata, but the volume is too small for botti. Also, used barrels are pretty cheap compared to custom made and shipped botti, I would guess. Brian claimed that he had only bought one new barrel in his entire winemaking career!)

Final note: I was the host of the event outlined above, great time with the crew. And I should have bought at least a case. But who knew?
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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#17 Post by Richard Foxall » December 22nd, 2019, 12:51 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
December 5th, 2019, 3:17 pm
We sourced Neb from Luna Matta from '08 to '16, blending it with another west side Paso vineyard through '14. It's an excellent site. Limestone with a cool coastal influence.

Giornata gets their Neb and some other stuff from there. Label co-owner Stefi is also the vineyard manager for that site.
Gotta be a really unique micro climate. I was really pleasantly surprised by the Giornata, and put together a patchy vertical from anything they would part with.
I've also been waiting to try the Baxter Fox Hill that I bought a while back, but it's so young. Same vineyard as the Idlewild, which I need to pick up. I talked to Sam Bilbro and he manages that vineyard. I am also worried about that vineyard--hopefully the current owners will sell it to someone who wants to keep growing Nebbiolo there, or they pass it along to another generation that wants to keep it as is when the time comes.
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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#18 Post by Wes Barton » December 22nd, 2019, 2:00 pm

Richard Foxall wrote:
December 22nd, 2019, 12:45 pm
I have my own opinions about where Nebbiolo would do best in California, but the wines from Luna Matta, both the Wind Gap and the Giornata, have thus far proven the best to me.
Have you been to a NEB event? It is grown all over, in small amounts. It's quite interesting to taste such an array of takes on it, with all the soils and climates and winemaking approaches. https://www.facebook.com/NebNebbioloEnt ... Believers/
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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#19 Post by Jason T » December 22nd, 2019, 4:23 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
December 5th, 2019, 4:47 pm
John Morris wrote:
December 5th, 2019, 3:23 pm
Jim Clendenen is making some very impressive nebbiolos under his Clendenden Family label. Would love to try a Wind Gap!
Yes! The '08 Clendenen Family is probably the best CA Neb I've had. The Fogarty ones from their Gist Vyd. and Idlewild are a couple other faves.
I was lucky enough to have that wine once. I enjoyed it just as I enjoyed Jim’s other wines but the experience was a bit wasted on me because at that point only had a handful of Barolos. Would love to try it again someday, though I’m guessing those don’t come around often.
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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#20 Post by Richard Foxall » December 30th, 2019, 4:15 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
December 22nd, 2019, 2:00 pm
Richard Foxall wrote:
December 22nd, 2019, 12:45 pm
I have my own opinions about where Nebbiolo would do best in California, but the wines from Luna Matta, both the Wind Gap and the Giornata, have thus far proven the best to me.
Have you been to a NEB event? It is grown all over, in small amounts. It's quite interesting to taste such an array of takes on it, with all the soils and climates and winemaking approaches. https://www.facebook.com/NebNebbioloEnt ... Believers/
I reached out a while ago to Tom Hill and am part of the group, I believe. No events seem to have been scheduled since then. I live down the street from Pietro Buttitta's tasting room, but haven't had a chance to say hello to Pietro since reaching out to Tom. (Last time I saw Pietro he was out of Nebbiolo.) Brian and Stephanie told me they were eager to have another event happen as well. Soon?

So far, I've tried Clendenen, Giornata, Wind Gap and one from Clarksburg. I'm sitting on bottles of all those except the Clendenen, plus Campovida, one from San Benito, Baxter (can't get the Idlewild, it's constantly sold out), and am on the list to get some from Presqu'Ile when they have it again. I spoke to the folks at Montevina a few years ago about their plantings and they didn't have anything much good to say about the wines it made. Supposedly Kevin Harvey has a new planting in a secret (is it still?) location. I haven't had the Palmina or a few other noteworthies. I am not sure where all the plantings are, but I've got a pretty good grip on it. I'm always looking to learn more.
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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#21 Post by JDavisRoby » March 9th, 2020, 6:44 pm

Ended up with a couple bottles of 2008 Palmina Nebbiolo at a non-profit wine pull this weekend. I know the donor so I believe provenance should be good. Are these hold or ready to go? CT lists 2018 as the ending drink date.
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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#22 Post by Pat Martin » March 9th, 2020, 7:57 pm

Never had the Nebbiolo, but in my experience Wind Gap syrah and especially the chardonnay are some of the most under the radar wines in all of the New World.
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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#23 Post by Robert Pavlovich » March 10th, 2020, 10:10 am

JDavisRoby wrote:
March 9th, 2020, 6:44 pm
Ended up with a couple bottles of 2008 Palmina Nebbiolo at a non-profit wine pull this weekend. I know the donor so I believe provenance should be good. Are these hold or ready to go? CT lists 2018 as the ending drink date.
Try one and let us know. Rare that a CA wine from that vintage will need more than 10 years bottle age.

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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#24 Post by JDavisRoby » March 21st, 2020, 8:31 pm

Opened a 2008 Palmina Nebbiolo tonight. Threw lots of sediment but I didn’t stand it up. First taste was very tart with lots of cherry. Let decant an hour and it began to soften. Still a lot of cherry with some prune showing thru. Really nice wine.
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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#25 Post by Kasey Dubler » March 23rd, 2020, 8:55 am

I think what's happening in the US with Nebbiolo is exciting right now. More people are starting to focus in a little bit more on it, with great results. I have a bottle of 1988 Il Podere dell'Olivos Nebbiolo Parabola I'm looking to open soon. Made by Jim Clendenen if I'm not mistaken, curious to see how California Nebbiolo ages...

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Re: 2 x 2008 Nebbiolo’s with Shocking Results

#26 Post by Wes Barton » March 23rd, 2020, 12:51 pm

Kasey Dubler wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 8:55 am
I think what's happening in the US with Nebbiolo is exciting right now. More people are starting to focus in a little bit more on it, with great results. I have a bottle of 1988 Il Podere dell'Olivos Nebbiolo Parabola I'm looking to open soon. Made by Jim Clendenen if I'm not mistaken, curious to see how California Nebbiolo ages...
He brought one of his first ones to a NEB event a few years ago (2016 or so) for the industry tasting. It was holding together and enjoyable. It was a candid taste and discuss session. He provided a sampling of vintages of Nebs he made to show his progression over time. His '08 Clendenen Family was amazing, and the best CA Neb I've had. (These spend a long time in barrel. The '09s were just beginning to enter the market.)
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