Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Nebbiolo Rose single varietal wine

An entry for local wine geeks.

Not a 'rose wine' made from the Nebbiolo varietal; but a still, dry, monovarietal red wine made from 'Nebbiolo Rose'. Its not a common fare to find in Singapore (and for that matter, in most parts of the wine drinking world as well). To say its production is limited is actually an understatement.

Given the fact that the vines grown in Italy are limited and consequently the grapes at hand for production is limited; and to include the consideration that not many winemakers may be inclined to produce a single varietal wine from Nebbiolo Rose to begin with, it makes me happy to come across one in Singapore.

A little Wine 101
Previously Nebbiolo Rose was looked upon as one of the clones of Nebbiolo (like Nebbiolo Lampia, Nebbiolo Michet and Nebbiolo Bolla). Among the mentioned clones, the Lampia clone is cultivated for its reliability and the Michet clone for its quality (both thus contributing to the production of Nebbiolo based wines in a big way). DNA profiling has however revealed that Nebbiolo Rose is not a clone of the Nebbiolo varietal but instead it is genetically a distinct varietal. Compared to the other Nebbiolo clones, it is noted to have lesser colour, higher alcohol, lower acidity and less structure. At present there are limited vines of Nebbiolo Rose grown in regions like Roero, Valle d’Aosta and Valtellina. (Source: Wine Grapes; Jancis Robinson et al)

Ian D’Agata mentions in his book that the Nebbiolo Rose varietal is noted for its pale ruby hue, intensely perfumed (rose petal) aroma, austere nature and mineral flavours. It has contributed to Piedmont reds as a blending component (albeit a small percentage) in some of its Nebbiolo based wines. (Source: Native Wine Grapes of Italy; Ian D' Agata).

Elvio Cogno Winery Trade Tasting
It was interesting therefore to attend the trade tasting by Elvio Cogno Winery which was held later part of last year. This winery is located on top of Bricco Ravera, a hill in the Langhe area of the Piedmont wine region. Valter Fissore (owner and winemaker) was in town to introduce several red wines under his portfolio.

Valter Fissore
His Nebbiolo based wines like the Barbaresco Bordini DOCG 2011, Barolo Cascina Nuova DOCG 2011 and Barolo Ravera DOCG 2011 used the Lampia and Michet clones either exclusively or as a blend.

Barolo Riserva Vigna Elena DOCG 2009
His Barolo Riserva Vigna Elena DOCG 2009 though is a single varietal wine made from Nebbiolo Rose. Vines are grown within just an hectare of land in his vineyard and this wine is produced in years when the harvest turns out to be exceptional. Production is limited to an average of 5,000 bottles (if production is decided for a particular year).

It’s interesting to note that though DNA profiling has shown this to be a distinct varietal, in practice (at least for now) where labelling is concerned, it is produced under the “Barolo” wine category (at least in this winery).

It is heartening to see wine producers taking the time and making the effort to preserve and cultivate lesser known varietals . It may not necessarily translate to better profit , but heritage and preservation should be its own reward for posterity’s sake.

If you are keen for more information on this wine, you can contact the local wine merchant, Enoteca Co Ltd at 63371263.

More pictures of this trade tasting is at this following link: Elvio Cogno Winery Trade Tasting Album.

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