The Nebbiolo grape is the native Piedmont par excellence. Its name may derive from “fog”, according to some because the grapes are covered with abundant bloom and for others because this is a grape that is harvested in late October, when the vineyards are surrounded by the morning mists.
Certainly this is the most valuable black grape among Italians. The Nebbiolo is cultivated in the areas around Barolo and Barbaresco (Piedmont) and in Valtellina (Lombardy). Grown in other areas, it loses that thickness, the strength and the “nobility” that make it unique in the world .
There are three major clones of the Nebbiolo grape identified, Lampia, Michet and Rosé. Michet gives low yields and expresses very intense aromas and taste, while the Rosé produces wines of very pale color and is gradually disappearing. The majority of the wine growers prefer however to work on a mixture of the three grapes, just to give the final product a greater complexity.
The Nebbiolo grape is also used a lot in the Aosta Valley, where it is called Picoutener, while in the Piedmont areas of Boca, Bramaterra, Fara, Gattinara, Ghemme, Lessona and Sizzano it is called Spanna.
The berry is black, medium, round-elliptical, thin but with tough, dark purple, very waxy skin. The bunch is medium-large, elongated pyramidal, winged, rather compact. The Nebbiolo grape has a medium size leaf, pentagonal-orbicular, three-lobed, green matte bottle color.
The Nebbiolo grape is very demanding in terms of land and exhibitions, with remarkable brightness and not too dry soils.
The Nebbiolo grape variety has medium-high vigor and time of late ripening.
The Nebbiolo grape gives a garnet red wine that is not very full, sometimes with orange or ruby with garnet; of very fine and harmonic aromas, with notes of violets and balsamic notes of licorice. It has a decent tannin content, and good alcohol content and acidity, qualities that make it particularly susceptible to aging.