Nebbiolo Prima 2014

This week I’m off to one of my favourite events in the entire world of wine, Nebbiolo Prima, in Piedmont.

From Monday to Friday I’ll be tasting at least 75 young nebbiolos every morning, then visiting a winery, then going out to dine with local winemakers in local restaurants. There’s no getting around the fact: it’s going to be one almighty tannin fest. Over 600 wines from 220 producers.

Along with around 70 other journalists from over 30 countries, I’ll be based in the pretty town of Alba, which is the capital of the Langhe, the country that produces the great Barolos and Barbarescos. Alba is also famous for its truffle market (alas, not on during my stay), its hazelnuts and chocolate – the big employer in town is the Ferrero factory which makes Baci and Nutella chocolate/hazelnut spread, seen on every breakfast table in Italy (Italy’s answer to Vegemite?!).

Every morning, we’ll be sitting down in the Palazzo Mostre e Congressi (the convention and exhibition centre) where local sommeliers will serve us the wines, blind, six Riedel glasses at a time, starting with Roero (some of the lightest nebbiolos of the Langhe), then Barbaresco, then three entire days of Barolo – tasted sub-region by sub-region – and finally, the riservas from all three regions.

The vintages on the bench this year are 2011 Roero, 2011 Barbaresco and 2010 Barolo (considered a great vintage in Barolo); the riservas will be 2010 Roero, 2009 Barbaresco and 2008 Barolo. A side-event will be a tasting of the now 10 year-old 2004s, also feted as a great Barolo and Barbaresco vintage. This promises to be spectacular. Also memorable are the meals: in my opinion the Langhe is the best wine region in the world for restaurants, and when you put the food together with the wine, it’s a irresistible combination.

I’ll be posting all my tasting notes in the coming weeks, plus progress reports. 

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