Tasting of Gamla Nebbiolo 2008

Gamla Nebbiolo is back!

We tasted the Gamla Nebbiolo vintage 2006 a while ago and made some scribbled notes on the back of an envelope which got lost in the shuffle and I never wrote a post about it. That was before our israelwinetaster Wine Tasting Form so we are more organized now.  The 2008 vintage has been released by the Golan Heights Winery a short time ago and four days ago I purchased two bottles when we were at the winery. Last night we opened one, let it breathe for an hour while we made supper of guacamole and an adaptation of a recipe from GreenLiteBites for Bulgur with Peas and Pomegranate. We used rice instead of the bulgur and fresh chopped garlic, fresh finely chopped onion and a mixture of fresh chopped parsley and coriander instead of the dried powder versions of these three flavorizers. It was “Mmmmmmm, Good.”

First a word about Nebbiolo from the Oxford Wine Companion. This is a black grape responsible for some of the finest and longest-lived wines of the Piemonte region in the northwest of Italy. It is used in such well recognised names as Barolo and Barbaresco. The grape variety dates back to antiquity with written references to it from the 13th and 14th centuries. In 1431, fines were levied against those guilty of cutting a Nebbiolo vine. The name seems to be derived either from nobile (noble) or from nebbia (frog), a frequent visitor to the vinyards of this region in October when the grape is harvested. It is the first variety to bud and the last to ripen causing vintners to give it favorable hillside exposures to the south. The Nebbiolo is a fussy vine and needs a high calcium content of the soil. The Oxford Companion states that the “wine is said to have a full flavor balancing the relatively high acidity and tannin level.”

Looking back at my “back of the envelope” wine tasting notes, I wrote that it had a rich fruity taste. Nurit said that it had a wood smokey finish. I also found a comment I write about it on the wine discussion forum on the web site, WineLoversPage where I stated that “It is a very deep purple color and very high in tannins and has a taste of cherries and plums with a long peppery finish reminding me of a Shiraz.” In referring to its high tannin content, I stated that, “because it is FULL of tannins, it needs to rest in the wine cellar another couple of years.”

Last night’s tasting of the Gamla Nebbiolo 2008 was a treat, especially after its absence, as there was no 2007 vintage. The wine has a dark blackish purple color and is of medium body. It has a forest fern aroma which reminded me of the cold rooms where the aging barrels of wine are stored. It’s taste is of cherries and plums with a lingering peppery finish, once again reminiscent of a Shiraz. Typical of the Nebbiolo grape, there is a high tannin level, just as its 2006 older brother. Nurit said that it tasted like “tzimis” with a rich, sweet flavor of prunes and I, independently, circled “sweet dark fruits” on the tasting form. We gave it a grade of A in our Grading System and it will bring us back to the winery to purchase some more.

Incidentally, there the price is 75 shekels or approximately $20. In my opinion, it is truly a bargain and I recommend your buying one to taste it and, if you agree, buying more for storage in your wine cellar.

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