#Nebbiolo is a surprisingly rare grape. Even in its native Piedmont, it accounts for only 8% of vineyard land. There are fewer than 100 hectares planted in the United States. 🕵️♂️🍇
Over 80% of prewar Italian immigrants came from Sicily and Southern Italy. Piedmont was the wealthiest and most politically dominant region. But if fortunes were reversed, could Nebbiolo have taken Primitivo/Zinfandel’s place as a grape relatively uncommon on the boot but dominant in California? 🤔🇮🇹🇺🇸
Probably not. The Nebbiolo vine is *not* for beginners. It flowers early and ripens late, making it susceptible to both spring and autumn frosts. It loves the occasional fog bath (some say the name is derived from ‘nebbia’, Italian for fog ☁️☁️☁️) but is prone to the mildew that may result from such humid conditions. Its fussiness would make Pinot Noir blush: it demands southwesterly exposure, a proper gradient, constant sun above, and fog licking at its toes. #diva
Sound anything like California’s Central Coast? 🌅
In the Santa Maria Valley, where the East-West Transverse Range bends back into the North-South Coastal Range, it’s possible. Vineyard selection still requires extreme discretion - an eye like @JimClendenen’s, perhaps.
Jim began the Nebbiolo program at the legendary #BienNacido vineyard in 1994. Production is small, but if you track down his “The Pip” Nebbiolo, it will only run you about $30. You’ll believe anything is possible when you have real California Nebbiolo of this quality come wafting out of the glass at you! 🙌🙌
🏞.“The Pip” is named after Jim’s old cellar dog Pip, a border collie. So it only seemed right to include one of our own pips! 🐈 — 2 years ago
Had a tour of California Pinot Noirs that I picked up from Total Wine last weekend. This was the only one I felt compelled to share. The Bien Nacido vineyard consistently produces excellent harvests of Pinot Noir due to it being a maritime influenced desert. It has such a reputation that wine using grapes grown and/or sourced there often label their bottles with the Bien Nacido "brand". ~$45 (~26 at Total Wine) | #biennacido #santamariavalley #pinotnoir #summerland
On the eyes: Rusty, Bright Ruby, Med Opacity, Med Stain, Legs, No Gas/Floc.
On the nose: Strawberry and Unripe Cherry, Vinuous with a Hint of Forest Floor, Med Alcohol
On the tongue: Med Acid, Med Tannin, Med Alcohol, Light-Med Body. Cranberry, Unripe Strawberry with Hints of Oak and Chocolate. — 6 years ago
A very nice #oldworld style of #melondborgogne The nose had nice intensity and restraint showing flowers, lemon, apples, and biscuit. The palate was ripe and rich but balanced well with refreshing acidity. Med complexity with wet stone, flowers, yellow pear and Meyer lemon. Yum! #lieuxdit #santabarbara #biennacido #california #loirevalley #muscadet #ctbucklinwine — 4 years ago
Another Total Wine pick-up, as I root for my LA Clippers on game 2 of the playoffs. Bien Nacido Vineyards is a cool-climate vineyard on the central coast of California. The word Qupé (pronounced kyoo-pay') is the Chumash Indian word for California poppy. Qupé wines focus on Rhône style wines, most notably their Syrah. This one still drinks young, shelf it for the next 7-10 years. Love this brand - next time you are in Los Olivos, taste their wines! ~$24 | #qupe #biennacido #syrah
On the eyes: Rusty Red-Garnet, Med Opacity, Bright, Med Stain/Tears, No Gas/Floc.
On the nose: Med Alcohol, Blackberry/Blueberry, Vinous/ Herbal notes.
On the tongue: Med Acid, Med Alcohol, Med Tannin, Jammy Black fruit, Blackberry-Blueberry, with Smokey Pressed Meats, Long Finish with Good Structure and Med Complexity. — 6 years ago
2013 - Easily one of the worst Cali Pinots I've had in a while. Which is surprising considering it's predominantly from Bien Nacido and from a good vintage - 2013. Almost no aromatics, zero acidity, flat, and boring. Truly awful stuff. #pinotnoir #biennacido #santamariavalley #wine #awful — 6 years ago