52 Weeks of Wine – Week 13: Nebbiolo (January 19th-25th 2019)

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Nebbiolo. You’ve probably heard of it, seen it on a wine menu, but if you’re anything like me, you didn’t know what to expect. So, one night when we were making homemade smoked pizza on the Traeger, I thought it might be a good night to give this Nebbiolo a try.

Maybe it’s a sixth sense or just a coincidence, but lately, I’ve been quite effective on my random dinner and wine pairings. I mentioned last week that I prefer not to research the varietals before a tasting out of concern that knowing too much will bias my tasting experience. So, this week, I took a gamble in hopes that the acidity of our homemade pizza sauce would compliment this unknown wine. And boy, did it!

This Nebbiolo had a brownish red color and appeared, by its minimal adherence to the glass, to be a medium to light-bodied red wine. The smell was smoky, tart, with a bit of oak and red fruit. When I smell and taste a wine, I attempt to confidently declare the features (even if it’s just to myself), at the risk of being far off from the official tasting notes. I’ve found that this method is the only way for me to distinguish between specific notes over time. Otherwise, I can easily BS the system and later say “oh yeah yeah, I totally picked up on that smell.” I want to hold myself accountable to my actual experience. So, when I tasted this wine, I felt certain that I tasted a prominent strawberry flavor. The strawberry was paired with high acidity, leather and lacked the oak that was in the smell. So, when I proceeded to read the official tasting notes and read that the smell and taste was tart cherry, I immediately agreed. The best way I knew to define the wine was strawberry, but once the image of tart cherry was in my mind, I knew that was a more precise description. If you jump to one person’s answers (official tasting notes) before experiencing a wine yourself, you’ll never truly internalize the attributes and grow in your ability to recognize the traits of a wine. 

So that’s my challenge to you: have your own tasting experience, confidently state the aromas and flavors, then check out the official tasting notes. Even if your answers aren’t anywhere near the official notes, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong. However, to grow your palate, consider each of the smells and tastes that the official notes suggest and see if you can identify those in the wine. 

If you’re enjoying the 52 Weeks of Wine Training Program, I look forward to hearing your thoughts of this Nebbiolo. You’re always welcome to share your experience on Facebook, Instagram, by commenting to this post or e-mailing me directly!


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