#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 months ago