martes, 26 de marzo de 2013

Pio Cesare Nebbiolo Langhe DOC, Pio Cesare 2008


- Tasting Notes: "Pio Cesare Nebbiolo Langhe DOC shows intense and ripe berry fruit along with mild and almost sweet tannins give this wine structure, fragrance and longevity. The wine is rich, full bodied, with a hint of gentle toasting". farehamwinecellar

- Winery: Pio Cesare Nebbiolo is a red wine from the Langhe DOC in Piedmont. This historic family-owned estate is named after its founder Cesare Pio, who established the business in 1881. It is based in Alba in the heart of the Piemonte region, nestled between the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea. The surrounding hills provide a handful of ideal exposures for grape growing with unique micro-climates. The confluence of cold Alpine air with warm maritime moisture regularly creates a misty glow, or ‘nebbia’, over these foothills, hence Nebbiolo, the great red variety of the region. 100% Nebbiolo sourced from family-owned vineyards in Diano d’Alba, La Morra and in small portions even from the classic Barolo area, together with other exclusive vineyards, belonging to “historical suppliers” who have been selling their grapes to Pio Cesare from generations and who work their vineyards according to Pio Cesare direction and strict quality control. Vinification is in temperature-controlled stainless steel fermentation with 12 days of skin contact. The wine is then aged 30 months in French oak: 20% in barriques and 80% in casks of 20 to 50 hectoliters each.

- Price: £22.99


Nebbiolo is a black-skinned red wine grape variety most famous for creating the 'tar and roses' scent of Barolo wines from Piedmont, north-western Italy. The grape's very name is evocative of its home among the misty foothills of the western Alps; the nebbia (Italian for 'fog') after which it is named frequently arrives on early October mornings, when the Nebbiolo harvest is in full swing.

Most strains of Nebbiolo demonstrate a good resistance to botrYtis and although early forms of Barolo were made in a sweet style, this was due to struggling ferments rather than the effects of botrytis. Unfortunately the vine showed little or no resistance to phylloxera when the louse spread its devastation across Europe in the 1860s, and when it came to replanting Piedmontese vineyards, the higher-yielding Barbera became the preferred variety.

Nebbiolo grapes are central to four Piedmontese DOCGs and eight DOCs, of which Barolo is by far the most famous - Barolo wines are renowned for their power and intensity. However, just ten miles northeast of Barolo, Nebbiolo is made into Barbaresco, a slightly more elegant, perfumed style which rose to prominence in the second half of the 20th Century. Barbaresco lies only a little lower in the hills than Barolo, with which it shares its chalky clay soils, yet the wines are noticeably different.

In Roero, an area just across the river Tanaro, northwest of Alba, Nebbiolo is often joined by a splash of white Arneis to soften its tannic edges, a practice which has led the Ameis variety to be dubbed Barolo Bianco.

Slightly different again are the red wines of Valtellina, where the variety is known as Chiavennasca. These wines from the sunny alpine slopes of northern Lombardy may be less rich and round than those from Piedmont, but they are just as alluringly perfumed, particularly the passito. Amarone-styled Sforzato di Valtellina. What all of these wines have in common are noticeable acidity and the tannins for which Nebbiolo is as famous as it is infamous.

This sensitivity to terroir is both Nebbiolo's trump card and its downfall. As demonstrated by Pinot Noir. Riesling and (less famously) Chasselas. wine enthusiasts find themselves immediately attracted to a variety which communicates its provenance. But while Riesling and (to a lesser extent) Pinot Noir have proven relatively adaptable to various climates and soils types, Nebbiolo has not. It is famously picky about where it grows, requiring good drainage and as long a growing season as is possible in sub-alpine Italy. In Piedmont it is generally one of the first vines to flower, and is always the last to ripen, making a dry autumn essential to a successful vintage.

Outside Italy Nebbiolo has had a modicum of success in Australia. Argentina and California, but the warmer climates into which it has often been planted in these places have proved too warm for Nebbiolo. Finding sites in which the variety will thrive is an ongoing challenge for New World winemakers eager to replicate the great Nebbiolo wines of Piedmont.

As of early 2011, Nebbiolo was used in Piedmont as the major component in four DOCGs (Barolo, Barbaresco, Roero and Gattinara) and eight DOCs (Bramaterra, Fara, Ghemme, Lessona and Sizzano).

Popular blends include: Barbera - Nebbiolo.

Synonyms include: Spanna, Picoutener, Chiavennasca.


Langhe is the hilly sub-region around the Piedmont town of Asti, its name being the plural form of langa, the local word for a hill. Since its introduction in November 1994, the Langhe DOC has gained considerable repute for its innovative viticulture and use of international varieties (Cabernet Sauvianon and Sauvignon Blanc are prime examples). The creativity this affords the local winemakers has led to a new generation of high-quality wines, many comparable to the prestigious ’Super Tuscans’ from Tuscanv.

Langhe is home to some of the most prestigious wines in Italy, including Barolo and Barbaresco. Asti and Doaliani. For wines which do not conform to the production criteria (production area, grape varieties or winemaking techniques) associated with these prestigious names, there is the Langhe DOC. This DOC covers a much wider area than most others and has more relaxed production restrictions, allowing winemakers to experiment with varieties and techniques not sanctioned under other DOCs. The most obvious effect of this advantage so far is the surge of Lanahe Chardonnay wines being produced.

A Langhe DOC wine may be rosso, bianco or rosato (red, white or rose), a blend or a varietal. It can be still, frizzante (semi-sparkling), novello (an early-release, youthful style for reds) or passito (made from dried grapes). There is even a sub-DOC, Langhe Nascetta del Comune di Novello, for wines made from Nascetta grapes grown around the village of Novello, right at the southern edge of the Barolo zone.

The Langhe area has a long history of vinegrowing and many of the wines made here use traditional, well-established grape varieties such as Arneis and Favorita for whites, and Nebbiolo. Dolcetto and Freisa for reds. In 2011, the new DOCG Alta Lancia Metodo Classico was forged in the fires of Italian wine bureaucracy, and at that time the former Dolcetto delle Langhe Monregalesi DOC was dissolved, and its viticultural area transferred under the now-broader Doaliani DOCG banner.


Piedmont (Piemonte in Italian), in the north-western comer of the Italian Peninsula, is arguably Italy's finest wine region. It sits at the foot of the Western Alps, which encircle the region to the north and west, forming Italy's naturally formidable border with France. To its southeast lie the northernmost Apennine Mountains - L'Appennino Settentrionale. These low coastal hills divide Piedmont from its long, thin neighbor Liguria, which is all that separates Piedmont from the Mediterranean Sea.

The name Piemonte means 'the foot of the mountains', and this emphasis on the surrounding topography is entirely justified; not only did the Alps and Apennines once protect the region from invasion, they are also largely responsible for its favorable climate. While Piedmontese winemaking has always benefited from the latter, it wasn't until the region's mountain defenses were successfully breached (first by the Romans, then repeatedly by the French) that advanced oenology finally arrived here. The introduction and regular updating of foreign winemaking technologies is one of the main reasons that Piedmont remains so viticulturally advanced compared to other Italian regions. The region's proximity to France also plays a part.

Piedmont is often described as the 'Burgundy' of Italy, a reputation due to its many small-scale, family wineries and a focus on quality which sometimes borders on obsession. What Burgundy does with Pinot Noir, Piedmont does with Nebbiolo - not the region's most widely planted grape, but the one which has made the largest contribution to the quality and reputation of its wine. Nebbiolo grapes are behind four of Piedmont's DOCGs: Barolo and Barbaresco (two of Italy's finest reds), Roero and Gattinara.

Nebbiolo wines are known for their 'tar and roses' bouquet, and the pronounced tannins which can make them unapproachable in their
youth but underwrite their excellent cellaring potential. The grape is known as Spanna in the north and east of Piedmont, and is used in at least ten local DOCs including Carema. Fara and Nebbiolo d'Alba.

With more DOCGs (15 as of December 2010) and DOCs (45 and climbing) than any other Italian region, and about 40% of its wine produced at DOC/G level. Piedmont is challenged only by Veneto and Tuscany for the top spot among Italian wine regions.

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