A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post about this thing we started calling, “The Nebbiolo Man” - it got quite a bit of attention, and whether it was for the right or the wrong reasons...well, anyway, it got some attention, and it was fun to write, because it reflected some of my own personal opinions, which has been the case on this blog for some time now - making parallels: wine and people.
And for good reason, I still believe in the Nebbiolo Man - the man who, in my opinion, is at his best when aged a bit, especially if he’s the kind who ages gracefully. (Go ahead and read the blog post, it’s from I believe September 2012.)
When I speak of the aging qualities of Nebbiolo, I mean the way in which Nebbiolo based wines (particularly from Barolo and Barbaresco) generally possess the ability to age longer than many other wines. But interestingly enough, in their youth, sometimes they’re a little awkward, and not particularly approachable - they seem off balance, they have a strange and sometimes less than pleasant texture (and in the old post I likened it to a kid who looks a little funny and has to grow into his features, but once he’s older, he’s quite the catch) - anyway, you get the idea - he gets older, and suddenly he’s got it all. He’s Nebbiolo.
I’ve also had some Nebbiolo in styles like basic Langhe wines, where the wine is approachable when it’s younger, and it’s not intended for aging.
But something strange to me is when I experience a very young Barolo or Barbaresco - and I’ve enjoyed them in general, but considering I like things “older,” I still prefer older examples of the greatest Nebbiolo wines of Piemonte. Sure, they can be delicious and pleasurable, but knowing what Nebbiolo wines are prized for generally, I love to watch them show off their aging capability and complexity in their age.
It’s sort of like watching a person who was greatly underestimated in his youth develop into quite a man - attractive, worldly, complex, experienced, and desirable.