2009 Nebbiolo Bricco Buon Natale
In 1994 Barbera, Nebbiolo, Tocai Friulano and Pinot Gris was planted at Bien Nacido Vineyard for Clendenen Family. The stage was set to make high quality wines from Italian varieties in the Santa Maria Valley. The two best clones of Nebbiolo were planted, Lampia and Michet which has forked canes. The early years were not easy. The yields for both the Tocai and Nebbiolo were tiny. Once the vines got established and the proper pruning method was put in practice the yields and wine quality improved dramatically.
Once the grape growing was figured out, the winemaking was next. Nebbiolo is a lighter colored, high acid red wine that requires a number of years in barrel to “come together”. In the early 2000s no one in California was drinking or buying high acid, lighter red wines. This was the era of BLACK wines. Dark Pinot Noirs and highly extracted Syrah and Cabernets were the rage. This was a blessing; we were forced to keep our Nebbiolo in barrel for years. We started using 500 liter Hungarian Oak barrels for aging Nebbiolo. These larger barrels were better for long term aging. In 2006 we released our first Nebbiolo under the Clendenen Family label, the vintage was 2000. The wine had spent 5 years in barrel and one year in bottle. The wine was what we were looking for. The beautiful parts of Nebbiolo were shining through and the shrill acid and brutal tannins had all evolved and harmonized. The wine had balance, elegance and charm.
Our current release of Clendenen Family Nebbiolo is the 2009 vintage. The Nebbiolo is carefully picked and sorted in the vineyard. All the grapes are destemmed and fermented in 5 ton open-top fermenters. The must is punched down at least twice a day and pressed at dryness. The wine is put in 500L barrels, one third of these are new, and racked once a year. We keep a close eye on this wine to keep it in good shape for long term barrel aging. After this time in barrel the wine is very clear, due to low pH and the long time in barrel. No filtering or fining is necessary at bottling. This wine is aged 6 years in barrel and at least one year in bottle before release.
Our 2009 version is remarkable. In addition to the more obvious characteristics of the variety, the wine has some fruit and spice. Aromas of Santa Maria strawberries and plum mix with clove and anise to complete the aromatic profile. Surprising rich in the mouth, it is still a wine of elegance and nuance. This complex wine which is constantly evolving in the glass would be delicious with many entrees. In the Piedmont region of Italy the wine is part of big celebrations. It is served with wild boar, or even better with the white truffles found in Piedmont in the early winter months. Try this wine with white truffle risotto, wild game or Osso Bucco.