It’s hosing down with rain outside, it’s five in the morning, I can’t sleep – and I don’t care. Why not? Because I’m in Milan, and in a couple of hours I’ll be heading down to Barolo to taste some of my favourite wines in the stunning landscape in which they were grown. And to plant the idea that I’m not just a loser that sits up at night in a darkened room blogging about Nebbiolo, I’ll be meeting my parents and a couple of great English mates who’ve flown down especially.
So here’s a bit of jetlagged reminiscing about a lovely wine from the other side of the world. I’m not going to bang on about what a great bloke Steve Pannell is or how wonderful all his wines are – though these things are manifestly true – because I still harbour hopes of some shut-eye before the bus goes.
So: Nebbiolo. Hunting for a good ‘un in Australia can be an expensive hobby – in general, our best Nebs are ahead of us and Italians start pricey. On that point, though, the chap who set up this blind tasting also brought along a Marcarini ‘Lasarin’ 2012 from the Langhe ($30 at Vino Italiano). It was very good (juicy strawberry, liquorice, balsamic) but didn’t quite muster the light-and-shade complexity that makes the grape so exciting.
S.C. Pannell Nebbiolo 2009 Adelaide Hills
Bright light ruby with an orange-pink tinge, this has an enticing nose of roses, strawberry, orange peel, earth, tar and charcoal. Strawberries, black cherries and plums float along the medium-bodied palate, accompanied by an orangey tang and some spice. As one would expect, there are tannins aplenty but these are fine, savoury and sit back nicely, combining with lively acid to drive it out to a long and lovely conclusion. Satisfyingly complex and complete. Bravo.
Costs $50 from the Prince Wine Store, Melbourne – Alcohol 14.5% – Tasted 14/10/13