TN: Mostly Valtellina Nebbiolos...(long/boring)

We tasted tonight (9/7/16) some Nebbiolos. Since none came from the Langhe, most would not consider this
a true Nebbiolo tasting:

  1. Idlewild Nebbiolo FoxHillVnyd/MendoCnty (14.1%) 2012: Med.light color; lightly floral/lilacs bit alcoholic slight
    licorice/pungent some berry/Mendo tomatoey light oak pleasant nose; very tart/lean/hard light floral/lilacs bit licorice/
    herbal flavor w/ light very hard tannins; very long tart/tangy/metallic/lean light floral/lilacs finish w/ light hard/
    crunchy tannins; smells quietly of Nebb but definitely Nebb on the palate; badly needs some age; quite a pretty Nebb
    but just that. $40.00

  1. Ethan Nebbiolo StolpmanVnyd/BallardCanyon (100 cs; 13.8%) SantaMaria 2010: Med.color; very strong floral/lilacs/violets
    slight pungent/tarry/licorice light pencilly/oak lovely Nebb nose; lightly tart fairly floral/lilacs/violets light
    pencilly/oak flavor w/ light bit hard tannins; very long/lingering floral/lilacs/violets slight pungent/licorice light
    oak finish w/ light hard tannins; can benefit from a few more yrs; speaks strongly of Nebb but w/ a Calif ripeness. $40.00

  1. Cieck Nebbiolo Dd’OC: Canavese (13%; VitisImprts; EB; S.Giorgio/Canavese/Torino 2010: Med.color; quite
    fragrant floral/lilacs/Nebb bit smoked meats slight pungent/acrid interesting/bit strange nose; lightly tart/tangy light
    floral/violets/lilacs pungent/smoked meats bit metallic/acrid flavor w/ light tangy tannins; long some tart/tangy/
    metallic light floral/violets/Nebb finish w/ light sharp tannins; an interesting if sharp/tangy Nebb. $25.00 (WE)

  1. Incontri Dd’OCG: ValtellinaSuperiore (Terra di Vigne; 12.5%; FrancoWineImprts; Cantina
    di Villa/Villa di Tirano/Valtelline 2001
    : Med.light color w/ some bricking; quite perfumed licorice/tarry old Nebbiolo
    bit appley/dried rose petal dusty rather complex oldNebb nose; lightly tart/tangy strong licorice/tarry/smoked meats/
    orangey dusty/earthy old Gattinara flavor w/ light smooth tannin; very long dried rose petal/licorice/tarry/smoked meats
    dusty complex finish w/ light tangy tannins; a quite nice example of an old Nebb much like an old Gattinara. $25.00 (WE)

  1. LaCastellina Sassela DOCG: Valtellina Superiore (13%; A.I.Slctns/LongIslandCity) Fondazione Fojanini/
    Sondrio 2008
    : Med.color; bit acrid/burning metal/welding shop slight wet dog fur/funky slight pungent/tarry quite weird
    nose w/ little Nebb character very tart/thin/eviscerated bit acrid/burning metal slight pungent/tarry w/ light
    tight/hard tannins; med.long acrid/burning metal bit tarry/licorice finish w/ light pointy tannins; lacks any Nebb fruit
    and not very attractive. $24.00 (BergA)

  1. LaCastellina Sassella DOCG: Valtellina Superiore (13%; PalermoWineImports/N.Hollywood;
    Fondazione Fojanini/Sondrio 2010
    : Med.light color; stronger pungent/tarry slight floral/rosepetal bit menthol rather
    strange/atypical nose; softer lightly floral/Nebb/rosepetal rather lean/hard bit earthy flavor w/ light lean/bitey
    tannins; med. weak floral/rosepetal some pungent tarry finish w/ light hard/lean tannins; better than the previous but
    still pretty quotidian Valtelline Nebb. $29.00 (TWH)

  1. cantine Garrone Prunent Dd’OC: Valli Ossolane Nebbiolo Superiore (13.5%;
    Domodossola/Crevoladossola 2013
    : Med.dark color; lovely fragrant Nebb/floral/lilacs/rather fruity light tarry/pungent/
    licorice bit earthy/granitic very perfumed nose; lightly tart slight pungent/tarry/earthy/granitic strong floral/lilacs/
    violets/Nebb complex flavor w/ modest ripe/bit rough tannins; very long/lingering strong floral/lilacs/violets/rose petal
    light tarry/pungent complex finish w/ modest ripe tannins; lots of ripe bass notes w/o the high-toned fragrance of
    Langhe Nebb; tannins have a full/broad texture and not the sharp/brittle ones of most Nebbs; speaks loud & clear of Nebb
    and reminds some of Val d’Aosta Nebb, some of ElDorado Nebb; quite a lovely Nebb & a bit different than most.
    $nc (ES)/$42.50 (WM)

  1. Mamete Prevostini Sassella DOCG: ValtellinaSuperiore (13.5%;; Crotasc/Mese 2010
    : Med.dark color; lighter very fragrant high-toned floral/lilacs/rose petal/
    Nebb light oak very aromatic lovely nose; lightly tart very floral/rose petal/lilacs/violets perfumey/bright/lively flavor
    w/ light gentle tannins; very long/lingering perfumey/floral/violets/rose petal light oak finish w/ ample gentle/smooth
    tannins; a very polished/well-made Nebb that has the high-toned character of Langhe Nebb but w/o the tannic bite;
    lovely Nebb that has more yrs to go at a great price. $27.00 (BB)

  1. SandroFay DOCG: Valtellina Superiore CostaBassa (13%) 2011: Med.light color; very fragrant/perfumed floral/violets/lilacs/
    rose petal very slight tarry/pungent lighter/more delicate nose; lightly tart/tangy bright/delicate floral/Nebb/lilacs/
    violets/rose petal flavor w/ light bitey tannins; very long bright/delicate quite floral/violets/rose petal finish w/
    light bitey tannins; the most delicate of the Fays and a lovely/high-toned expression of Nebb at a very good price.
    $24.00 (K&L)

  1. SandroFay DOCG: Valtellina Superiore Valgella Ca’Morei (Chiavennasca; 13.5%; ToscoWines) SanGiacomo di Teglio 2011:
    Med.color; more intense floral/Nebb/violets/lilacs/rose petal very aromatic slight volatile lift slight oak slight piney/
    herbal/earthy/dusty deeper big fruit complex nose; fairly tart strong floral/Nebb/violets/rose petal/perfumey slightly
    herbal/piney/spicy flavor w/ ample smooth/graceful tannins; very long/lingering very strong floral/violets/rose petal/
    spicy slight pungent/tarry finish w/ ample rich/ripe tinnins; could use another 10 yrs; beautiful expression of Nebbiolo.
    $35.00 (K&L)

  1. SandroFay DOCG: Valtellina Superiore Valgella Carteria (13.5%) 2012: Med.dark color; much the same strong floral/Nebb/
    violets/rose petal slight big fruit/berry slight oak lovely perfumed nose; somewhat tart very floral/violets/Nebb/rose
    petal slight berry bit oak flavor w/ ample ripe/bit harder tannins; very long/lingering strong big fruit/floral/Nebb/
    violets/rose petal slight oak finish w/ ample bit harder tannins; a bit bigger in fruit & not the complexity of the
    Ca’Morei; almost like a Calif expression of Nebbiolo; beautiful Nebb at a great price. $35.00 (K&L)

  1. Nino Negri Sfursat Carlo Negri DOCG: Sforzato di Valtelline (Dried for 3 mo.; 15.5%) Chiuro 2009: Dark color; rather
    strong ripe/grapey/lush bit alcoholic rather simple nose w/ little Nebb perfume; soft lush/ripe grapey bit earthy
    rather hot/alcoholic simple flavor w/ light ripe/smooth tannins; med.long soft/ripe/grapey/lush some alcoholic finish w/
    light ripe tannins; a pleasant enough simple red that shows little Nebb character; a simple/dull oafish red; way
    overpriced at $50.00 (AV)

More baloney from TheBloodyPulpit:

  1. Prunent: The folks at WineMonger label the grape from Garrone, which they import, as the “forefather” of Nebbiolo.
    I’m not quite sure what that means. They further state that “DNA analysis confirms it is the most ancient Nebbiolo on Earth”.
    I wasn’t aware that DNA could make any indication of age of a grape variety. d’Agata makes only a mention of Prunent
    in his section of Nebbiolo. He points out that Prunent was first mentioned back in the 1300’s as being in the
    Val d’Ossola (this is the northernmost part of Piemonte, a finger/valley of land sticking up into the Val d’Aosta.
    I gather that DNA has identified Prunent as a Nebbiolo cultivar. Whether it is a clone or a biotype or whatever is
    not clear. Even though this is the first mention of Nebbiolo, this does not necessarily imply that Nebbiolo originated
    from the Celts in Val d’Ossola. d’Agata seems to indicate that he thinks Nebbiolo originated in Valtellina/Lombardy.
    However, since Freisa is one of the parents of Nebbiolo, this seems suspect and the origins are more likely in Piemonte,
    where Freisa was once widespread. This parentage would also cast doubts of it originating in Val d’Ossola. It’s all very
    confusing and a huge mystery.
    The pictures of Val d’Ossola on the Garrone WebSite ( are absolutely spectacular. Very rugged
    alpine scenery. I can hardly wait to visit the area and Cantine Garrone, lugging along a DueVigne or Castelli Nebbiolo.
    Before a month ago, I’d never heard of the Prunent grape nor the Val d’Ossola. In conversations w/ EmilySchindler/
    WineMonger (; I mentioned I was involved in NEB. She insisted that I try their Garrone Prunent
    and sent me this btl we tried. I was mightly impressed by this. Definitely not a Langhe Nebb but a beautiful Nebbiolo
    in a different sort of way.

  1. Canavese: This is an area in Piemonte, in an alpine enviornment due north of Torino. The DOC is mostly well-known for
    its whites from the Erbaluce grape. I’d never seen a red wine, much less Nebbiolo, from here.

  1. Ethan: This is, of course, Ethan Lindquist, son of BobLindquist/Qupe. Unfortunately, the Nebbiolo vines at Stolpman
    were pulled and he no longer makes Nebb. Too bad, this was a very good one.

  1. Incontri: Ohhh…the sights you can see. Tracking down their WebSite, I Googled “Incontri Sondrio”. All the hits were
    in Italian, which I couldn’t read. Opened one of them…my, oh my!! “Incontri” is Italian for “encounters”. You can
    do a Google of Incontri “any city” and get similar results. They are all hookup sites for men seeking hookups w/
    women. And the women do advertise their assets…in all their glory. Don’t try this at work, though.

  1. Prevostini: This wnry is located in the village of Mese, not in the Valtelline itself. Heading North by LakeComo,
    instead of turning East on SS3B towards Morbegno/Sondrio, you continue North on SS36 towards Suisse for about 15 mi.
    Don’t think there are any other producers up that way.

  1. Tannins: When I’m looking at the tannins in a red wine, I not only look at the intensity/level of the tannins, but
    I find the texture of the tannins on the palate is very informative. Nebbiolo has very weird polyphenolics,
    particularly the anthocynanins. Which is why they turn this orange/onion-skin color w/ age. In particular, I find
    the tannins from the Langhe have a rather sharp/piercing/screechy texture to them. This seems a little less so for
    Nebbs from the AltoPiemonte. But one of the reasons I find the Valtellina Nebbs the greatest expression of that
    grape in the world is that their tannins, even at a high level, have a bit softer/rounder texture to them than many
    other Nebbs. Maybe it’s because Nebbiolo reflects terroir more than any other grape…so we’ve been told.

  1. Both the Prevostini and the SandroFay were some of the best young Nebbs from Valtellina I can recall, maybe better
    then the ArPePes. Of the Fays, I slightly preferred the Ca’Morei because it was a bit more interesting and complex.
    But they were all right up there. The Fays seemed a bit more skilled w/ the tannin management and the tannins, though
    certainly there, were not so hard & bitey.

  1. This is one of the best tastings of Valtellina Nebbs I can recall & just reconfirmed my opinion that the greatest
    expression comes from Valtellina. They don’t (often) have the ethereal perfume of an aged B/B, but they are also
    not as hard & bitey in the tannins as B/B.

Thanks for this interesting set of notes! Fay and Prevostini are two of my favourite producers. Oh the value of buying Carteria and Ca’Morei at the winery for 12-13€. That was also ten years ago though. To me, both producers fall in the ‘modern’ school of Valtellina but are mostly still very elegant wines with bright cherry fruit, nebbiolo roses and very clever, almost polished handling of tannins given that they are light-medium bodied, cool climate nebbiolo.