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 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 139, April 2015   
Contrasts of Nebbiolo and Pinot NeroContrasts of Nebbiolo and Pinot Nero Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 138, March 2015 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 140, May 2015

Contrasts of Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir

Two examples of elegance expressed in different ways and, in certain aspects, even opposed, both indisputable protagonists of great wines

 Two great red berried grapes, absolute protagonists of two great wine areas, acclaimed all over the world for the quality of their wines. Langhe in Piedmont - and, of course, Valtellina in Lombardy - and Burgundy in France, are, respectively, the indisputable homeland of Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir. Of the two varieties, the one to have traveled beyond the borders of its country and reached very distant places, certainly is Pinot Noir, now considered an international variety, a fate it shares with many grapes of France. Also Nebbiolo has walked a long way, by catching the interest of vintners of other countries, however it is about a pretty marginal presence, and Piedmont and Lombardy - in Italy - are the places where it is mainly found. Besides being the indisputable glory of Burgundy, Pinot Noir has been successful in giving quality wines even in Oregon (USA) and New Zealand, as well as Tasmania, South Africa, Australia and Italy.


 

 Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir are both appreciated by wine lovers for the specific qualities they can give their wines. Powerful, robust and full bodied the Nebbiolo, refined and elegant the Pinot Noir, wines produced with these two varieties are characterized by some common qualities, however being distant expressions. Varieties very sensitives to soil and climate conditions, they give wines with extremely different character according to each territory. For example, we can think about the different expressions of Nebbiolo in Piedmont's Langhe, capable of making gentle and elegant interpretations as well as more robust and austere ones. In this sense, Pinot Noir is not so different, an extremely demanding variety - maybe, the most demanding grape of them all - frequently considered as a challenge both for vintners and wine makers. The famous grape from Burgundy in fact gives monumental wines in the best conditions, modest and ordinary wines in unfavorable conditions.

 Nebbiolo, like already said, is the wine glory of Langhe and Valtellina. These two important wine areas of Italy - the former in Piedmont, the latter in Lombardy - represent, as a matter of fact, the most famous styles for wines produced with Nebbiolo. In Piedmont, this noble variety is found all over the region, protagonist of countless wines of almost all wine denominations of the region. Barolo, Barbaresco, Gattinara, Ghemme, Roero and Carema are among the most famous wines of Piedmont and produced with Nebbiolo, however it should be noticed this variety is also found in Vallée d'Aoste and Sardinia. In Lombardy Nebbiolo is mainly found in Franciacorta and Oltrepo Pavese, however it is in the territory of Valtellina where the most famous wines are produced, including the famous Inferno, Sassella, Valgella, Grumello and Sforzato. Moreover, it should be noticed in Valtellina this variety is also known as Chiavennasca, a name being less and less used in favor of Nebbiolo.


A glass of Barolo: it can be noticed
the high transparency and nuances of garnet red color, not so different from
Pinot Noir
A glass of Barolo: it can be noticed the high transparency and nuances of garnet red color, not so different from Pinot Noir

 Native to Burgundy and member of one of the most important grape families of the wine scene, Pinot Noir is among the most appreciated varieties for the production of red wines and classic method sparkling wines. In these two styles is capable of extraordinary performances, despite it is a very demanding variety both in vineyard and in winery. Burgundy for red wines, Champagne for bubbles, Pinot Noir is the red berried grape catching a remarkable attention and appreciation of wine lovers all over the world because of its elegance and class. Qualities which can be obtained, first of all, in territories characterized by cool climate conditions, as in warm areas it can easily lose its famous elegance by replacing it with a quite disappointing mediocrity. In favorable climatic and environmental conditions, Pinot Noir is however capable of giving wines of absolute value, certainly among of the most expensive and looked for wines by many wine lovers in the world.

 Just like Nebbiolo, Pinot Noir is a variety having a modest coloring quality, however - as opposed to the famous Italian grape - it does not have a rich quantity of polyphenolic substances. This characteristic, appreciated by many, contributes to the exaltation of one of the typical qualities in Pinot Noir: acidity. Wines produced with the famous variety from Burgundy are in fact appreciated for their pleasing acidity, considered by many one of the factors giving elegance to Pinot Noir. To the nose it is always capable of giving pleasing sensations of red berried fruits, a characteristic usually enhanced also by the use of non particularly aggressive casks in order to keep its characteristic olfactory profile. The aging in cask is however beneficial to Pinot Noir. This practice allows in fact to smooth the evident acidity, as well as to enrich the structure of wines - by considering the modest content in tannins - while accentuating roundness.

 Our tasting by contrast dedicated to Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir will consider two wines having similar wine making characteristics, at least as far as wine making techniques are concerned. Nebbiolo will be represented by a Barolo aged in large cask, preferably coming from the territories of Serralunga d'Alba, Castiglione Falletto or Monforte d'Alba. As for Pinot Noit, we will pick one produced in the Italian territory, in particular, in the best land of Italy for this variety: Alto Adige. We will choose a Pinot Noir aged in large cask and with at least three years of life. We will prefer wines aged in a large cask, both for the lesser impact in organoleptic profiles of the two varieties and for allowing the best expressions of the two grapes.

 As usual, we will start by evaluating the appearance of both wines. Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir, like we already said, are two varieties having a pretty modest coloring quality, a characteristic which can be observed in both wines by evaluating transparency. On this regard, it should be noticed color in red wines - in particular, transparency - does not have any direct connection with quality. In this sense, both Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir are two excellent examples of wines with moderate transparency however being of high quality. The observation of the two glasses will reveal many analogies and few differences, both in the color and in transparency. In both glasses will be in fact observed an intense and brilliant ruby red color, with nuances tending to garnet red. Transparency, like already said, is quite moderate, and it will be quite easy to see an object put behind the glass.

 The first differences between the two varieties will be detected during the olfactory analysis, however noticing that also in this aspect we will detect some pleasing analogies. It is, in any case, about analogies concerning the expression of aromas recalling red fruits, whereas will be perceived evident differences in the use of cask and the consequent tertiary evolution. It should be said in both cases, the use of wood is useful both for improving the balance of the wine and for the organoleptic enrichment. The way of using wood is however different because of the specific characteristics of the two grapes. In Pinot Noir, in fact, the organoleptic impact of wood is - in general terms - more moderate than Nebbiolo. In the famous grape from Burgundy, the impact of wood is generally low in order to keep the expression of flowers and fruits of Pinot Noir, while contributing to enrich the structure of wine.

 We will start the evaluation of the aromas of the two wines from Pinot Noir. Let's proceed with the first smell, an operation allowing the evaluation of the opening, that is the main aromatic sensations. The operation is done by holding the glass in vertical position and without swirling: to the nose will be perceived aromas of cherry, raspberry, plum and, very likely, strawberry. It will be noticed the moderate impact of wood in order to favor the character of red fruits typical in Pinot Noir. The opening of Barolo is characterized by cherry, plum and violet, an evidently more “severe” character than Pinot Noir, despite showing remarkable analogies. Differences become more evident after having swirled the glasses, an operation favoring the development of tertiary sensations in both wines and allowing a better understanding of the differences related to the use of cask. Interesting differences are detected in the flower expression of both wines: in Pinot Noir will be mainly perceived aromas of cyclamen and rose, whereas in Nebbiolo it will be the aroma of violet to play the main role.

 Differences become pretty evident to the taste, despite the two grapes have some characteristics in common. The primary difference is about the impact and quality of polyphenols, responsible of the sensation of astringency. Barolo is the wine expressing, in this sense, a superior power and strength than Pinot Noir: astringency in the grape from Burgundy is clearly more gentle and lighter. Both wines have, in any case, a remarkable elegance, a quality mainly expressed by acidity. Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir are in fact characterized by a pretty high level of acidity when compared to most of the red berried grapes, a quality being very appreciated by wine lovers having a passion for these two varieties. The burning impact of alcohol expresses different strengths in both wines: in general terms, the ones produced with Nebbiolo usually have a higher alcohol by volume than Pinot Noir.

 The finish of the two wines is generally very good, having - in general terms - an excellent taste-olfactory persistence. In this final phase of the evaluation, it will be perceived evident differences concerning the impact of the respective sensations of astringency. In the finish of Barolo will in fact be perceived a sensation of fuller body, however followed by a pleasing crispness and a correspondence of flavors recalling the aromas perceived to the nose. The finish of Pinot Noir expresses a stronger sensation of crispness and, in certain aspects, a more refined elegance than Nebbiolo. They however are two grapes capable of expressing magnificent wines, in both cases very demanding in every stage of production, from vineyard to the glass. Of the two varieties, Pinot Noir certainly is the one being more demanding, as to be defined the most difficult grape to vinify. It really takes a little, in fact - in particular climate conditions - to turn Pinot Noir into a quite mediocre and ordinary wine.

 






 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 139, April 2015   
Contrasts of Nebbiolo and Pinot NeroContrasts of Nebbiolo and Pinot Nero Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 138, March 2015 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 140, May 2015

Wines of the Month


 

Score legend

Fair    Pretty Good    Good
Very Good    Excellent
Wine that excels in its category Wine that excels in its category
Good value wine Good value wine
Prices are to be considered as indicative. Prices may vary according to the country
or the shop where wines are bought




Mastrobono Platino, La Quercia (Abruzzo, Italy)
Mastrobono Platino
La Quercia (Abruzzo, Italy)
Trebbiano d'Abruzzo, Other Grapes
Price: € 20.00 Score:

Intense golden yellow and nuances of golden yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of apple, plum and almond followed by aromas of ripe pear, citrus fruits, hawthorn, honey, vanilla and ripe peach.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, plum and almond.
2 years in cask.
Stuffed pasta, Roasted fish, Roasted white meat



Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane Riserva Mastrobono 2006, La Quercia (Abruzzo, Italy)
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane Riserva Mastrobono 2006
La Quercia (Abruzzo, Italy)
Montepulciano
Price: € 35.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Deep ruby red and nuances of garnet red, impenetrable to light.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of prune, black cherry jam and dried violet followed by aromas of blueberry jam, blackberry jam, tobacco, vanilla, cocoa, mace, licorice and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of prune, black cherry jam and blackberry jam.
Aged in cask.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Adarmando 2012, Tabarrini (Umbria, Italy)
Adarmando 2012
Tabarrini (Umbria, Italy)
Trebbiano Spoletino
Price: € 20.00 Score:

Brilliant golden yellow and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of apple, medlar and pear followed by aromas of citrus fruits, hawthorn, pineapple, peach, hazelnut, broom, lychee, plum and mineral.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of apple, medlar and pineapple.
9 months in steel tanks, 9 months in bottle.
Pasta and risotto with mushrooms and crustaceans, Sauteed white meat, Stewed fish



Montefalco Sagrantino Colle alle Macchie 2010, Tabarrini (Umbria, Italy)
Montefalco Sagrantino Colle alle Macchie 2010
Tabarrini (Umbria, Italy)
Sagrantino
Price: € 50.00 Score:

Brilliant ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of blackberry, black cherry and plum followed by aromas of violet, blueberry, vanilla, tobacco, chocolate, mace, leather, pink pepper and menthol.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of blackberry, plum and black cherry.
36 months in cask, 12 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Cavalcaonte 2013, Fattoria Ca' Rossa (Emilia Romagna, Italy)
Cavalcaonte 2013
Fattoria Ca' Rossa (Emilia Romagna, Italy)
Barbera
Price: € 8.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense ruby red and nuances of purple red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of cherry, plum and blueberry followed by aromas of violet, blackberry, raspberry and cyclamen.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of cherry, plum and raspberry.
Aged in steel tanks.
Pasta with meat and mushrooms, Broiled meat and barbecue, Hard cheese



Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore Riserva Ripagrande 2007, Fattoria Ca' Rossa (Emilia Romagna, Italy)
Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore Riserva Ripagrande 2007
Fattoria Ca' Rossa (Emilia Romagna, Italy)
Sangiovese
Price: € 12.00 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of black cherry jam, plum jam and dried violet followed by aromas of blackberry jam, vanilla, chocolate, tobacco, licorice, mace and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of black cherry jam, plum jam and blackberry jam.
14 months in barrique, 12 months in bottle.
Stuffed pasta with meat, Roasted meat, Broiled meat and barbecue, Stewed meat with mushrooms



Grillo 2013, Terre del Sole (Sicily, Italy)
Grillo 2013
Terre del Sole (Sicily, Italy)
Grillo
Price: € 7.00 Score:

Pale golden yellow and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean and pleasing, starts with hints of apple, plum and almond followed by aromas of pear, hawthorn, broom and peach.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, plum and almond.
6 months in steel tanks, 2 months in bottle.
Fish appetizers, Pasta and risotto with crustaceans, Dairy products, Sauteed fish



Nero d'Avola 2013, Terre del Sole (Sicily, Italy)
Nero d'Avola 2013
Terre del Sole (Sicily, Italy)
Nero d'Avola
Price: € 7.00 Score:

Brilliant ruby red and nuances of ruby red, moderate transparency.
Intense, clean and pleasing, starts with hints of plum, black cherry and blackberry followed by aromas of violet, raspberry, blueberry and geranium.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors pleasing crispness.
Persistent finish with flavors of plum, black cherry and blackberry.
6 months in steel tanks, 3 months in bottle.
Pasta with meat and mushrooms, Sauteed meat, Stewed meat






 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 139, April 2015   
Contrasts of Nebbiolo and Pinot NeroContrasts of Nebbiolo and Pinot Nero Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
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