Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it
Edgar Albert Guest
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read or heard that Nebbiolo isn’t really worth pursuing outside of Piedmont in Northern Italy. The theory goes that there exists such a unique synergy between grape and terroir there, that nowhere else will be able to produce wine worthy of this King of grapes.
Well I’ve tasted enough good Australian Nebbiolo over the past 5 years or so to state emphatically that this is not the case. SC Pannell, Luke Lambert, Coriole, and Pizzini are all examples of wineries that have produced Nebbiolos that would sit comfortably in a line-up of Langhe Nebbiolo, albeit that the flavour and texture profiles might be somewhat different from a wine from Piedmont. The only question to my mind is whether Australia will end up producing profound, long lasting Nebbiolo such as one gets with top Barolo and Barbaresco. This is as yet unanswered. I am, however, increasingly of the view that Australian Nebbiolo is like Australian Pinot Noir of twenty years ago or so. Another decade or two will likely see a handful of vineyards and wineries making great Nebbiolo.
To the wine at hand, the 2012 Star Lane Nebbiolo. Somewhat pale and translucent in colour as per the variety. The nose is initially somewhat closed but it opened up over the course of a couple of days to reveal cherry, tar, and a note of orange peel. There’s nice fruit on the palate, but all within a medium bodied Nebbiolo frame. That orange peel note, along with some appealing bittnerness puts me in the mind of a Negroni. No bad thing. Oak is there but unobtrusive. The overall balance of the wine is excellent and it finishes with proper, drying tannin and a lovely earthiness. On day one I had it at 3.5 Stars, but my last glass on day 2 was impressive enough to give it a nudge. 4 Stars, and a wine that needs a few years in the cellar yet.
Rated: 4 Stars