For wine drinkers reared on the myriad red grapes that are common all over the world, a wine made of nebbiolo is a departure.
It may flash a ready comparison to others: the combination of delicacy and intensity found in the best pinot noirs, the tannic potency of cabernet sauvignon, the taut acidity of barbera. Yet when you add in the specific aromas and flavors of nebbiolo (proverbially described as tar and roses), which are so unlike most red wines, you have a selection that seems entirely singular.
The blend of these remarkable characteristics results in wines that can haunt enthusiasts for the rest of their lives. Only fine red Burgundy rivals great Barolo and Barbaresco, the most prominent of the nebbiolo wines, for their ability to stir both the soul and the intellect, to dazzle aromatically, to delight the palate and to demand contemplation.
Yet while pinot noir, the red grape of Burgundy, is grown successfully in many places around the world, nebbiolo seems to prosper only in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy and in Lombardy, the neighboring region to the east.