Estate: Founded in 1881 by Cesare Pio, Pio Cesare has been producing wine consecutively through 5 generations and for over 135 years. Located in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, the estate consists of 70 hectares [173 acres] of vineyards. The estate is headed by Pio Boffa, Cesare Pio’s great-grandson, his daughter, Federica Rosy, along with his nephew and cousin. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity of meeting Pio. Gregarious and expressive as his wines, with the belief that upon meeting you, you are considered family and always welcome at his home and winery.
The estate has vineyards in different locations; 32 hectares in Barolo, 27 hectares in Barbaresco and 10 hectares in other regions, including Alba. These vineyard sites were specifically selected as an expression of the family’s philosophy of crafting wines. Since its establishment, the family has a “strong belief in blending the different characteristics of each vineyard and region in order to produce wines that represent the styles of each appellation terroir as a whole, instead of individual sites. This was the classic method of producing Barolo, Barbaresco and the other classic wines at the end of the 19th century and it still remains our Family’s philosophy, today and in the future.” In addition to his dedication to preserving the individuality of each terroir, Pio is also a pioneer in bringing the Barbera grape to the forefront of Italian winemaking.
Their cellar is one of the few ancient cellars that are still in operation. Located in the historical center of the town of Alba, the cellar was built in the late 1700’s, and is delimited and surrounded by ancient Roman walls that date all the way back to 50 BC. The cellar actually occupies 4 different levels, one of which is lower than the Tanaro River. This unique phenomenon is intrinsic to the character of the wines the family has crafted over the many years: “The naturally constant temperatures and appropriate humidity of our cellars have been crucial for the style and quality of our wines over the years.”
Winemaking: Grapes are harvested early from a selection of estate vineyards including Serralunga d’Alba, Diano d’Alba, Treiso and Trezzo Tinella. A short maceration is followed by fermentation in stainless steel tanks, then aging in stainless steel tanks “deep in our ancient cool cellars until the bottling in the month of March after the harvest”. The name ‘Il Nebbio’ derives from “Nebbiolo”, as the wine is an expression of “the fragrant, youth and fresh version of such a great and noble grape variety”.
Tasting Notes: Transparent garnet in colour with generous aromas of strawberry, cherry, dusty earth, spice and a trace of sweet hay and wildflowers. Red currant, cherry, crushed black peppercorn along with an herbaceous trace are framed by woolly tannins*. Earth and spice notes persist on the lengthy finish. A great play between fruit, spice and tannins, it’s an incredible and unique experience to enjoy Nebbiolo so young. I recommend pairing with food; it was spectacular with fresh burrata cheese ravioli with parmesan cream and black truffle, along with spaghetti “alla carbonara” with guanciale from Amatrice, “vacche rosse” parmigiano cheese and Sichuan pepper.
*So fuzzy my teeth stuck to my lip.
Nebbiolo “and Pinot Noir in small part.”
Estate Bottled by Pio Cesare
Currently not available in the US, average price in Italy is €16. I paid €27 in a restaurant in Rome.
Enjoy now thru 2022