After a quick stint off the mainland, we’re back in Piedmont, and back to Nebbiolo. This time we’re looking at the Nebbiolo d’Alba DOC, which, as the name would suggest, covers wines made from the Nebbiolo grape in and around the town of Alba. I’ve always found the Nebbiolo wines of Piedmont to be especially captivating and I love many of the wines I’ve had from both this region and Langhe. The region is a fairly simple one to understand: the growing region is entirely in the Piedmont province of Cuneo and the wines must be 100% Nebbiolo. The region shares many characteristics with the Nebbiolo wines from the Langhe DOC as both regions overlap with the Barolo and Barbaresco DOCG growing regions, in the Langhe foothills. Because of this, the best vineyards are usually reserved for those wines, leaving some of the outlying vineyards for Nebbiolo d’Alba wines. These wines are not aged quite as long as Barolo or Barbaresco, and are usually therefore younger, brighter, and more fruit forward. Much of this growing region, including the vineyards used to produce this wine, is situated on or near the banks for the Tanaro River.
This take on Nebbiolo d’Alba comes from Giacosa Fratelli and is aged in large wood casks for 6 – 8 months. It has a bright, rose color to it, with a touch of rust coloring and hints of orange thrown in. The nose has aromas of cedar, oak, and black pepper, along with a slight yeast smell, almost like you’ve just stepped into a small Italian bakery (a smell that I love). It is medium bodied, which seems a bit light for a Nebbiolo-based wine, but about right for a Nebbiolo d’Alba. The tannins are present, but not overpowering, instead lingering in the background a bit, allowing the acidity to shine through more, along with the fruit flavors. More flavors of cedar, oak, and black pepper are on the palate, joined by flavors of cherry and blackberry. The finish is smooth, with lasting flavors of tart cherry, oak, and a bit of spice.