Our tasting impressions
Nebbiolo from Roero may not command the respect but it also doesn't fetch the same prices. Still, when tasted along with Daniele's fabulous wines from Barolo, his Roero Riserva is hardly forced to a backseat. It's a touch lighter and has gentler tannins which makes it so much more enjoyable in its youth. The fruit is gorgeous and wonderfully fragrant. This fabulous surprise really captured our hearts.
About this wine
100% Nebbiolo of the clones: Michet, Lampia and Rosè grown in Roero, which is a few miles from Barolo. The vines were planted at 330m up to 25 years ago and trained in the Guyot system.
Harvested in the last 2 weeks of October, the grapes are de-stemmed and undergo a soft pressing before a traditional fermentation of about 15 days at 26°C. The must is pumped over via racking to improve the extraction of the color and the aromas. After the malolactic fermentation, the wine is moved to Slavonian and French casks and barrels with weekly topping up. Aging is 18 months in oak barrels and 12 months in bottles.
About the grape
Nebbiolo, the name believed to be derived from nebbia, Italian for fog, is a grape with one of the most protracted maturation cycles. It buds in early spring and ripens late fall (when the winter nebbia from the Alps reaches the vineyards).
Nebbiolo vines tend to grow upwardly with abandon, so management is essential to limit grape production and channel energy to them. They also are very particular about where they will thrive, which is why Nebbiolo is seldom found outside of Piedmont. Even there, it only is successful when planted on south facing slopes (much sun is needed for ripening), at elevations between 250 and 450 meters (lower there is too much frost exposure, higher the grapes won’t ripen).
Wines from Nebbiolo usually are pale-colored, high in acidity and very tannic. Common flavor descriptors are rose and tar. They tend to be highly aromatic.
About the vintage
Barolo producers could not have asked for better conditions than those in 2016 and an abundant crop to boot. The ripe fruit of 2015 was replicated but this time with ample acidity and more resolute tannins. Overall, the wines exhibit much better balance, even if they are not as much fun now.
Daniele's suggested musical pairing: Beethoven's Piano Trios
Suggested Glassware: Grassl Cru
Mario Pelassa and Maria Teresa Pelassa established their Montà d'Alba wine estate in 1960. For the remainder of the century, they sold their wine to grateful clients in northern Italy.
When their sons took charge, the scope and ambition grew. Daniele makes the wine and is a tour-de-force in global marketing and sales. Davide prefers to stay close to the land and manages the vineyards. From their 15ha in Roero and Verduno, they now concentrate on three grapes - Nebbiolo, Barbera and Arneis and produce 100,000 bottles per year.
Daniele sub-titled Pelassa Romantic Wines of Piedmont. We are particularly enamored of his inclusion of musical pairings for each of his wines (which we will faithfully convey to our members). It is appropriate because his wines so beautifully inspire intellectually and emotionally.