Nebbiolo is a beautiful grape, native to the Piedmont region of Italy. A late ripener, vintners tend to celebrate Nebbiolo’s harvest toward the end of October or early November when the Langhe region becomes submerged in thick, pea-soup-like fog. Indeed, the name Nebbiolo is said to stem from the Italian word for fog, nebbia. Out of this darkness, this denseness, this stone-wall of a cloud, comes one of Italy’s most noble and notable grapes. A shy shade of red in its youth and often quite tannic, the wine ages into rich and vibrant colors — not unlike dragon’s fire — and develops deep aromatics, complex flavors, and matures right out of those sticky tannins. Nebbiolo, at its peak, can be one of the most intense wines alive.

Of course, these are characteristics associated with the Italian varietal¬†from Italy. I don’t believe I’ve yet had the opportunity to taste a Nebbiolo from the United States. Until I popped the Big Cork on Big Cork Vineyards 2015 Nebbiolo.

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