Is pinot noir the world champion of wine varieties? In a way, yes. Thursday night, April 7, at 11 PM, Eastern Time, the results were in. Pinot noir reigned supreme. It had just defeated riesling by 176 to 13...
Driving around the enigmatic, fog-shrouded Piedmont region of Italy, I saw steep vineyards that fall away from the winding, mountain roads, and medieval castles looming out of the haze on every other hilltop. I recalled the great Barolo and Barbaresco wines from this region are made from the nebbiolo grape—and nebbia is the Italian word for fog. Why was I wending my way through this misty part of northern Italy? To learn about wine and terroir—and sales, too.
Long, dense, and generally not my style of Nebbiolo... but this wine turns the trick of amping up without losing the varietal character. A nice current of iron flows through to make sure the sweet fruit doesn't become cloying. It gets pretty oaky without being a jerk about it. Beautiful with butternut squash / beef stew.
Hedonistic but hardly recognizable as Nebbiolo. The nose evokes some of the hot vintages in the southern Rhone, with fig cake and jam. Dense, with rich and chocolate-covered fruit. The finish is halted by a wall of drying tannins that clearly need to settle in. Needs time, and it needs a consumer who doesn't care too much for a wine's sense of place. Just please me, baby!