WINE NO. 3
Santa Barbara, California 2016
GRAPE: NEBBIOLO [neh-bee-OH-low]
Nebbiolo is as famous a grape name as one can find in Italy, let alone the world. It is most notable from Barolo and Barbaresco in Piemonte, where it expresses its brawn and brooding depth, but it can be truly remarkable from many other growing regions. From the greater Langhe to the rolling hills of Roero, to the Alto Piedmont appellations: Ghemme, Gattinara, Boca, Lessona and Carema, and up into the steep and remote Valle d’Aosta, all Nebbiolos are very much worth exploring.
Santa Barbara County features a unique transverse mountain range where the cool air from the Pacific meets warm and dry desert air and creates a microclimate that can be very similar to Piedmont. There, the dichotomy is between the Alps and the Mediterranean but the two growing conditions have distinct similarities.
Where Nebbiolo can be brooding and sometimes intimidating, this wine does a fabulous job of displaying its brighter disposition with tart cranberry and a pomegranate pop. It is still, afterall, Nebbiolo. Allowing this wine to breath before you dive in will benefit all parties involved. As it opens up, that is when the expected tertiary notes of dusty cinnamon, nepitella, fennel flower, fresh mushrooms and dried rose petals all line up beautifully in a neat little row. There are equal parts cherry leather and bitter citrus rind that provide the backbone and the finish is a teetering balancing act of tannin and warm southern california sun kissed fruit.