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Steve Pannell’s love for Nebbiolo runs deep. It lead him on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Nebbiolo, the famed hills of Barolo in Italy. He came back to Australia with a vision to craft Neb to challenge the best in the world and he is making a great fist of it.
Weather conditions out of his control have meant that he has been able to release only three vintages in the last seven years but when he has, each release has been more remarkable than the last. By sourcing the fruit for this wine from the cooler Adelaide Hills region Pannell has sculpted a beautifully perfumed, structured and rustic wine that is more akin to the similarly styled ‘Nebbs’ of Italy.
This is the variety that Steve drinks most of at home and his enthusiasm for it leaks through into every drop of this wonderful release from 2013. Like all great Nebbiolo it’s brilliant with food, and with its epic structure, it will continue to age gracefully from “now until Armageddon”.
This is widely regarded as one of Australia’s premier Nebbiolos, and if you love Italian wines then this is an essential addition to your collection.
What It Tastes Like
This is classic Nebbiolo bursting with decaying roses, bitumen, star anise and the smells of a bowlful of fresh cherries at christmas. Deep pools of red fruit fill the mouth. The architecture is so precise, so detailed; tannin and acid acting as the scaffolding on which he hangs cherry and raspberry and cranberry. Just a beautiful wine.
96 points. “From five clones grown in the Gumeracha district, open-fermented, with 21 days on skins, it was pressed to used puncheons for 16 months maturation. Should be decanted 2 hours before serving, and I did just that. It has exceptional varietal expression on the bouquet and palate, sultry red fruits, and tannins that are woven through the fruit on the palate so cleverly you almost forget their presence.”
- James Halliday (Australian Wine Companion)
95 points. “Stephen Pannell is a master of tannin structure, and his Adelaide Hills Nebbiolo is testimony to his touch. Elegant and focused red cherry fruits and lifted rose hip perfume overlay a firm, finely structured palate of tannins at once intricately integrated and at the same time confident and enduring. This is a fragrant and lifted style of wonderfully ethereal texture and a persistent finish that promises great longevity.”
- Tyson Stelzer (Tyson Stelzer's Australian and New Zealand Wines of the Year 2017)
93 points. “Strawberry conserve, whiff of mint and liquorice, mushrooms, floral notes, touch of spice and dusty wood. Palate is lithe and light -varietal character writ large – fine glassy acidity, gentle powdery tannin, red fruit and a little new leather in the aftertaste. It’s pure and great to drink, expressive and delicious, perhaps not so long, but long enough. Any anyway, that minor quibble aside, there’s other things in its favour to compensate. Beautifully made. Highly recommended.”
- Gary Walsh (The Wine Front)
“Nebbiolo is what my wife and I drink most often at home, during the week; you can have a glass with dinner on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night and it will just keep getting better. It has developed quite a cult status for me but get this one while you can - unfortunately there will be no 2014 or 2015 releases due to bushfires.”
Aromatics: 4 / 5
Profile: cherry, blackcurrant and some earthy, leathery tones
Tannin: Nebbiolo is famous for it’s tannin. Distinctively earthy/leathery
Texture: Silky slippery dip towards a looming, alluring tannic finish
Goes with: Cheeses and fatty meats. Or my favourite pasta - Agnolotti del plin
Drink: now until Armageddon
Listen to: I Am The Resurrection, The Stone Roses - for Emily Trott
Closure: Screw Cap
Bottle Size: 750ml
About the Producer
Quite simply, Steven Pannell is one of Australia’s finest and most imaginative winemakers. He’s a Jimmy Watson Trophy winner, a McLaren Vale Bushing King winner, a two-time Max Schubert Trophy winner, International Red Winemaker of the Year and Decanter Magazine’s 50 Most Influential Contributors to the World of Wine. Nick Stock described him as potentially “one of the greatest Australian winemakers ever to make wines in our age”.
Steve’s wines are made with modern Australian food and wine culture at the front of mind. The wines, such as his lauded Tempranillo Touriga blend, defy convention but place freshness and versatility front and centre. He is truly one of the most forward thinking and inspirational Australian winemakers alive today.
The Adelaide Hills may be the most energised wine region in the country. The sense of exploration and creativity amongst the tribe of talented young winemakers in this region is unparralelled. The Hills has become crucible of Australian wine talent, offering an array of varieties, from classics such as Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, to new varieties like Nebbiolo and Grüner Veltliner for the younger generation to play with. Every vintage brings new colour and complexity to the rich wine, food and produce culture of this cool climate region.
Nebbiolo is one of the world’s truly great wine grapes. Most famously produced in the Italian regions of Barolo and Barbaresco, this king-pin of varieties is making a surge on Australian soil. A notoriously late ripening variety, Australian producers are constantly refining the way they grow this grape. Nebbiolo wines are light to medium bodied with incredible internal power and structure. These wines can live for decades when grown on the right sites. The classic descriptors of ‘tar & roses’ are often applied to this variety but the scope for complexity and nuance in the best versions is virtually limitless. The life of a great Nebbiolo as it matures through the years is one of the great wonders in all of wine.
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