DeBOrAH GrOSSMAN IS A SAN FrANCISCO BAY AreA JOUrNALIS T wHO wrITeS ABOUT PeOPLe, PLACeS AND PrODUCTS THAT IMPACT THe FOOD-AND-wINe wOrLD.
Barbaresco DOCG is exceptionally smooth, while the 2009 Vigna Colonnello Riserva Bussia is
well-balanced with intense classic nebbiolo aromas. The entry-level Barolo Classico DOCG range
is known for its approachability in price and flavor profile.
Giorgio Pelissero is the third-generation winegrower of the Pelissero Winery. His grandfather
Giovanni started growing grapes in the early 1900s, and his father first bottled wine in 1960. By
1990, enologist Giorgio took over the winery and expanded the production in Treiso, the heart of the
Barbaresco region, exporting to more than 50 countries. “It is easier to buy grapes when vintners
want to follow a trend,” says Pelissero. “But I make decisions on what to grow based on the land.”
With four vineyards, including the estate property, to choose from, Pelissero produces a wide
selection of wines. His personal favorites are classic, age-worthy Barbaresco DOCG Vanotu and
Vanotu Riserva, named in the Piemontese dialect for his grandfather Giovanni.
Like the hillside vineyards of Burgundy, wine from the Serralunga d’Alba commune manifests
unique flavor characteristic—rounded tannins and rich fruit. An admirer of pinot noir, Paolo
Manzone employs several Burgundian production techniques at his eponymous winery. In addition
to the large wooden barrels, called “botte” in the Langhe, Manzone purchases traditional Burgundy
barrels with a lighter toast.
Manzone calls his top-end Barolo Meriame “round with good body, a kind and strong, sweet and
full-bodied wine.” He also makes Langhe Rosso, a growing category of red wines from the region.
As part of the growing agrotourism movement, Manzone operates a bed-and-breakfast at the winery.
Boschis of Pira winery sees many changes in the area. “Fifty years ago, no one knew what
nebbiolo was,” she says. “We explained what the wine can be and how to enjoy it. People are
writing books about us, and organic winegrowing is advancing. This is our future.”
CloCKwise From leFT: 1) a 1916
bottle of Pio Cesare. 2) Poderi e Cantine
oddero cellar. 3) Cordero di montezemolo
barolo label and old ledger.
Nebbiolo iN PiedmoNT,
i Taly, res TauraNTs
Across the Tanaro River from Alba,
Castello di Guarene perches atop
the hill overlooking the Roero
commune with vistas of Barbaresco.
Built as a residence in 1727, the
Castello is now a Relais & Châteaux
five-star hotel and restaurant. With
a younger, lean nebbiolo from E.
Pira e Figli (Pira) with accentuated
tannins, chef Davide Odero would
pair traditional dishes such as
boiled sausage with polenta or a
plate of mixed Piemontese boiled
meats. An older Nebbiolo with
fuller structure and more-rounded
tannins better supports dishes with
more-pronounced flavors, he says.
“A Poderi Colla Barolo would work
well with game, while a traditional
Barbaresco from Pio Cesare could
be paired with a braised meat.”
The wine cellar at La Ciau del
Tornavento in Treiso is well-known
for its prized collection of Italian
wines. La Ciau del Tornavento is
considered a top restaurant in the
Barbaresco area. Wine director Luca
Ronchail pairs Piedmontese Fassone
with raw meat lightly seasoned
with lemon, salt and olive oil. “The
delicate flavor of the raw meat works
well with a light, younger nebbiolo
with floral bouquet,” he says. “I do
not want strong aromas or heavy fruit
to cover the light dish.”
Another dish that Ronchail serves
with a younger nebbiolo is tajarin.
“This egg-based pasta, a thin,
local version of tagliatelle, tossed
with butter and sage, needs a light
nebbiolo with more acidity to reset
the palate,” he says.
For an older Barolo, Ronchail
recommends veal braised in Barolo
and seasoned with balsamic vinegar
and herbs. “With such a rich sauce
to accompany the meat, we need a
powerful Barolo, for example, from a
2006 vintage, with enough tannins
and acidity to stand up to the meat
with the strong flavors in the sauce.”