Roberson Nebbiolo Masterclass

I’ve been so many tastings but the best ones are at Roberson, High Street Kensington, London.  The team are so passionate about wine and the tastings are so informative.  On Thursday the 10th February I attended the Nebbiolo Masterclass in the hope it would help de-mystify the world that it Italian wine – in particular the grape Nebbiolo.  Nebbiolo is at home in Italy although you can find small quantities as far away as Australia.  I’ve been told that some of the most sought after wines are made from Nebbiolo and this tasting further highlighted that.

We had 10 wines to try accompanied by three pages of information about Nebbiolo and the different producers (of the wines we tried).  Mark, the assistant manager led the tasting, taking us through each wine in detail, I couldn’t wait to try them.  Well without further ado, below is a summary of the tasting:

Delicious food provided at the Roberson Tasting

Delicious food provided at the Roberson Tasting

1. 2006 Adelaide Hills Nebbiolo;SC Pannell Australia),£33.95.  This is an interesting wine from a producer who is a big fan of Nebbiolo.  Hints of truffles and raisins with plenty of tannins and lots of structure.  I liked the style – different from the Italian Nebbiolo but I’ve always liked different.

2. 2006 ‘Inferno’ Valtellina Superiore DOCG; Nino Negri, £22.95.  On the nose I get a mixture of earth, truffles, cherries and a hint of car tire – that might sound strange and unappealing (the car tire) but it was good.  With 75% aged in American and French barrel and 25% in Slovenian casks there are a snippets of different flavours I smell and it keeps the wine interesting.

3. 2006 ‘5*’ Valtellina Sfurzat DOCG; Nino Negri, £56.95.  I’m told they only make 5* in the best vintages so I felt privileged to try it.  The grapes are picked ripe and left on straw to dry and dehydrate and as a result the wine is more concentrated and dense.  Spice, oak and tobacco mingle in on the nose with a blend of liquorice, cherries and spice on the palate.

4. 2004 Gattinara DOCG; Travaglini, £26.96.  The bottle for this wine is very different, it’s not symmetrical, google it to find out what I mean!  Mark told us Travaglini is the best producer in Gattinara and I wouldn’t argue with that, there were layers of flavours in this wine with new leather, liquorice, spice and cherry aromas.

 5. 2008 Langhe Nebbiolo DOC; Produttori del Barbaresco, £18.95.  Apparently this is the finest co-operative in the world and I wasn’t disappointed with this.  Sour cherries and violets followed through to a dry, crisp finish with aromas of cherries.  It was different from what we had tried previously but as I said, I like different.

6. 2005 ‘Santo Stefano’ Barbaresco DOCG; Castello di Neive, £39.95.  ‘Santo Stefano’ is one of the finest vineyards in Barbaresco (this tasting teaches me more and more!!).  There’s a lovely perfumed note on the nose with a sweetness of fruit on the palate.

7. 1999 ‘Pajé’ Barbaresco Riserva DOCG; Produttori del Barbaresco, £45.95.  It seems older than it is because they’ve made this in an oxidative style but then it is also 11 years old and 1999 was a great vintage for Piedmont.  The colour is amazing on this wine – when red wines age they lose the ruby colour and become a more bricky red – losing colour as they age and losing tannins during this time.  Raisins, prunes, savoury characters and almost a little meaty are noticeable on the nose with very dry characteristics on the palate.

8. 2005 ‘Albe’ Barolo DOCG; GD Vajra, £34.95.  Very fresh, with spice and leather on the nose.  Dried cherries, leather, plenty of tannins supported by high acidity make this an interesting wine with layers of flavours.

9. 1998 ‘La Serra’ Barolo DOCG; Roberto Voerzio, £135.  Sourced from a single vineyard with plums and perfumed aromas on the nose.  Flavours of violets and prunes with a long lingering finish highlights its quality.

10. NV Barolo Chinato; Fontanafredda, £36.95.  This is an interesting or rather strange wine -some people say bizarre.  This is a fortified wine which actually smells of Jagermeister with spice and fennel seeds.  Definitely one to try but taste it after the tasting as it doesn’t cleanse your palate!