I love this Ochetti Nebbiolo. What is most striking about the Ochetti Nebbiolo is the aromatics. The sandy soils of Roero (North of Barolo on the other side of the Tanaro) help shape the pretty nose. It is true to the Ratti style it is bold from the second you pop the cork. Ripe and powerful Nebbiolo that shows cherries, chocolate, oak and roses. The palate is mineral and packed with gritty tannin. Air is your friend if you are going to drink this young, as is some red meat. I like Ochetti Nebbiolo drinking young. But I know Ochetti Nebbiolo will continue to improve over the next 10 years or so.
Renato Ratti Ochetti Nebbiolo d’Alba DOC 2018 Wine Notes
Renato Ratti revolutionised Barolo, and we all can appreciate his contribution. Renato Ratti has passed away, but his winemaker and family carried on his legacy. The estate style is that of intensity and power. They pack in some alcohol and balance it with new French barriques. These are wines that don’t necessarily look their best young, but with age, the good old tar n roses come back.
Piedmont is one of the most significant wine regions in the world. Its name means the ‘foot of the mountain’. Piedmont is in the North-Western reach of Italy. There are a lot of parallels drawn between the best wines of Piedmont (Barolo and Barbaresco) and the wines of Burgundy. The region neighbours France and Switzerland with its border defined by the Alps to the North and west and Apennines to the South. These natural defences kept the Ligurians safe from Roman invasions. Luckily it didn’t work forever, as we may not have the wines that we cherish today.
An ancient city at the heart of the region and its centre of trade. It is also the region that gives its name to quality Dolcetto, Barbera and Nebbiolo.
They are famously producing long-lived red wines. Light of colour, but abundant in tannin. Barolo and Barbaresco are the pinnacles of Nebbiolo. But many local and international regions are catching up. Typical flavours include tar, roses, anise, cherry, blackberry and truffle.
There are 1000s and 1000s of grapes in Italy. There are sub-alpine cool-climate regions in the North and Sun-baked vineyards in the South. Add to that, volcanoes and many cultures within one Country. You could struggle to find anything uniform about the wines. The best of the best include Tuscan reds from Sangiovese or Cabernet. Nebbiolo from Piedmont, especially Barolo and Barbaresco. The aromatic whites of NE Italy from Garganega, Pinot Grigio, and numerous crazy blends. The volcanic wines of Mt Etna in Sicily. And many more.
The only generalisation I will make is that a lot of Italian wine is undervalued when compared to a similar French style.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is special. It contains everything you need to make grape wine except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product, including the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. Terroir is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
Fun fact; most of the colour for wines comes from the skins. There are only a handful of grapes that have red juice. Alicante is the most well known of these grapes.
By macerating the juice on the skins, the wine gains tannins, and flavours. Certain compounds change the chemistry of the wine too.
Red wines tend to have higher alcohol. More tannin and more oak flavours compared to other styles of wine. But the thousands of grapes and terroirs they grow in influence this.