When it gets fresh and colder, it moves again through the alleys and hangs in the trees. The fog, la nebbia, and runs to top form. We pay homage to the much hated here, we celebrate it. With a grape variety named after him: Nebbiolo.
The Nebbiolo grape is one of the most famous Piedmontese grape varieties. It is the queen of Piedmont and has a total of 109 synonyms, another royal privilege. Is it possible that it got its name not because of the fog that often appears in Piedmont, but because of the white, fog-like coating that covers the grape when it is fully ripe? It is difficult to say. Just as its origin is considered impossible to determine, because it is believed that its parents no longer exist today. As befits a true queen, she does not like the hustle at all, on the contrary. Nebbiolo is considered one of the slowest ripening varieties of all and is demanding beyond measure in other ways as well. For example, it loves calcareous marl soils and steep south or southwest-facing slopes. Its cultivation is difficult, and very vintage-dependent, as it reacts strongly to climatic conditions, especially in autumn. In short, its requirements are high and its cultivation outside Piedmont is difficult. Only Valtellina excels with outstanding Nebbiolo wines, here climate change helps. The very great Nebbioli are also among the noblest wines of Italy.
They come from Barolo and Barbaresco. If they come from there and in an optimal year rigorously processed and aged in the cellar, also without haste, can produce wines that are intense, dense and heavy, while remaining fresh and elegant. Rose or violet scents emerge, sometimes smelling of ripe stone fruits, tar, tobacco, licorice, leather or cedar. Thanks to their corset of tannins that enclose them tightly, great Nebbioli can be stored for decades, their aging potential is fabulous. Don't be fooled by the color, it is surprisingly light, which incomprehensibly does not go down well with many people.
At the table, a Barolo or a Barbaresco comes as a good friend. Mostly these are strong companions with profile, character and pizzazz. Thanks to its elegant acidity and tannic strength, it can easily and happily take on stronger dishes. Truffles? Braised dishes? Stews? Game? Indispensable, especially when it gets rainy, cold and foggy outside. The smells waft tantalizingly through the kitchen and the slow braising reweaves the ingredients into a dense feast for the palate. The fog outside seems forgotten. And the Nebbiolo inside, after uncorking, you can calmly give it some time in a narrow carafe. Look how it shimmers in the glass, it will be a royal meal and everything will match perfectly. Perhaps even to the spicy cheese, if the carafe is not then already empty.