Alzante Nebbiolo

Friday evening my partner and I joined a friend for wine and conversation.  We sat on her deck with a sunset view over the San Francisco Bay and over the course of a couple of hours had two different wines.

The first was a 2006 Mt. Aukum Syrah.  I believe that all of this wine has been sold.  Our friend bought a couple of cases and is just now dipping into it.  A big, bold syrah, it had hints of tobacco in with the blackberry and black currant flavors.  There was fine sediment at the bottom of the glass when we were done.  I really liked it.

The wine we brought to the table was a 2004 Alzante Nebbiolo.  Nebbiolo is a grape varietal from the Lombard region of Italy around Piedmont.  It is a very old variety first mentioned in the 1400’s.  The name of the grape probably derives from the Italian word for “fog” and “frost” because of dusky color of the grape, or the cold and foggy climate in which it thrives.

The Alzante Nebbiolo is such a good wine.  Although it is not as “big” a wine as the Mt. Aukum Syrah, it actually followed that wine really well.  The taste profile of the Nebbiolo is both strong and varied.  It really held it’s own.

The Nebbiolo has a dark, rusty red color and tastes of cherry and tobacco on the front and ends with a lingering licorice and leather finish.  It is traditionally paired with rabbit dishes.  I think, though if you paired this wine with a dish with a strong fennel or anise component, you’d have a winner.  Personally, it made me crave black licorice candy to go with it.  That would be an odd, but satisfying little dessert pairing!

Sadly, the Alzante winery is no longer producing wines.  They are notionally affiliated with Gold Hill and you might be able to find some bottles of this wine through them.  But you’ll have to get in line behind me!

About dslocicero

David is an author and architect living in the San Francisco Bay Area. He writes about wine, food and travel. His first book is Pour Me Another: An Opinionated Guide to Gold Country Wines, now one of the highest rated books about California Wines.