Home > Italian wines, Nebbiolo, wine quiz > Weekly Wine Quiz #62: Wine Trivia – Nebbiolo

Weekly Wine Quiz #62: Wine Trivia – Nebbiolo

Nebbiolo grapes, picture from Wikipedia

Nebbiolo grapes, picture from Wikipedia

Welcome to the weekend! Your new wine quiz has arrived.

Today our subject is the Italian grape called Nebbiolo – a power grape of Piedmont, solely responsible for some of the world’s best wines, Barolo and Barbareso.

As I’m working on this series of quizzes, I’m of course learning a lot myself. It was very interesting for me to realize, that unlike any other major red grape we talked about so far, Nebbiolo is pretty much confined to the 6 or so areas in Italy, where it makes wonderful wines – its world-wide spread is non existent, not even in the form of clones, like Zinfandel. And this is all despite the fact that Nebbiolo is quite an old grape, with first mentions going all the way back to the 13th century.

Nebbiolo is a very tricky grape to work with. It has the longest ripening cycle out of many grapes – buds early, ripens very late, prone both to mutation (there are about 40 known clones) and grape diseases. But – the resulting wines, like Barolo and Barbaresco, clearly worth the trouble, with wonderful aromatics, power and concentration. Also the ageing potential of the Nebbiolo wines is almost unlimited.

Now, to the quiz!

Q1: Explain the meaning of the name “Nebbiolo”

Q2: In one of the regions outside Piedmont, the wines are produced from Nebbiolo grapes in the style of Amarone – with grapes drying on the straw mats before they are pressed. Can you name that region?

Q3: True or False: Blending is not allowed for any of the wines produced from Nebbiolo grape in Piedmont region.

Q4: White grape used to be such a traditional blending partner for Nebbiolo that it was sometimes called White Barolo. Do you know the name of this grape?

Q5: In the blind tasting setting, the wines made out of Nebbiolo can be very distinguishable even before you take a first sip. Do you know what is this distinct feature of Nebbiolo wines?

Good luck, enjoy your weekend and cheers!

  1. PSsquared
    June 22, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Very interesting, as always!

    • talkavino
      June 23, 2013 at 10:34 am

      Glad to be of service : ) One day you will start answering them : )

      • PSsquared
        June 23, 2013 at 10:45 am

        Ha! I almost made an attempt at one of Jeff’s last week. I’m getting there. 🙂

  2. June 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Well, I normally don’t do quizzes but I cannot pass this one for two reasons: one because it is Nebbiolo 🙂 and two because it is… your birthday!!! 😀
    So, here it goes (no Googling, of course!):

    1. It comes from the Italian word nebbia, meaning fog (because it likes the foggy hills of Piemonte where it gives its best expression).
    2. The Valtellina area in Lombardia, where it is made both as a “regular” red (in the appellation Valtellina Superiore DOCG) and as a dry raisin wine in the appellation Sforzato (or Sfursat) della Valtellina DOCG (as we both know all too well!). Interestingly enough, in Valtellina Nebbiolo is known as Chiavennasca.
    3. False: the quite famous Boca from Le Piane (in the appellation Boca DOC) is a blend of 85% Nebbiolo and 15% Vespolina grapes. I believe that even the regulations of the appellations Ghemme and Gattinara DOCG only require 85% Nebbiolo grapes, thus permitting blending.
    4. This I really don’t know! Looking forward to the answer!
    5. The color tends to be a pretty pale red which takes on garnet hues pretty soon in the aging process.

    Take care and Happy Birthday!!! 🙂

    • talkavino
      June 22, 2013 at 1:07 pm


      thank you, and I’m glad you broke your rules : ) ! Excellent work on the quiz – the answer is coming on Wednesday.

      See you later : )

  3. June 22, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Happy birthday!

    1. Nebbia means fog and the Piedmont is often foggy.
    2. A Nebbiolo reciotto is made in the Veneto.
    3. False. Some reds that are blended: Barbera and Croatina. Also some whites are occasionally blended in.
    4. Arneis
    5. I am going to go with the brick colored (slightly orange) color at the rim.

    • talkavino
      June 23, 2013 at 8:24 am

      Thank you, Jeff and excellent work on the quiz! I would guess that you drink Italian wines at least occasionally : )

  4. June 22, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    1: It stems from the Italian “nebbia”, which means fog. It either refers to the climate in the Piedmont region or to the fact that the grapes often have a greyish layer on them, that makes them look foggy (just like in the photo you posted above).

    2: No clue…

    3: I suspect just as with most Italian wines, blending is allowed. So the statement is false.

    4: I am quite sure it is Arneis, I read that somewhere before.

    5: I believe their color is rather “brownish” even at young age.

    And a happy birthday from me, too.

    • talkavino
      June 23, 2013 at 8:22 am

      Excellent work, Oliver, and thank you!

  5. June 22, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    1. Nebbiolo comes from the Italian word ‘nebbia’ meaning fog. The Piedmont is a region with lots of fog which could be one of the reasons why the grape is called Nebbiolo.
    2. Valtellina, Lombardia
    3. False. Sizzano DOC, Boca DOC, Gattinara DOCG and Ghemme DOCG are all Nebbiolo blends.
    4. Arneis. However, in the 20th century the DOCG committee of the Barolo wine outlawed the use of Arneis for Barolo. Ever since Barolo has to be produced with 100% Nebbiolo grapes.
    5. I can only assume that you refer to the garnet red color that Nebbiolo wines tend to have (especially aged Barolo and Barbaresco).

    That was a fun quiz! Looking forward to the answers 🙂

    • June 22, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      Happy Birthday from me, too! Almost forgot!

      • talkavino
        June 23, 2013 at 8:21 am

        Thank you Julian!

    • talkavino
      June 23, 2013 at 8:22 am

      Excellent work, Julian! Well, rather expected from you, especially when it comes to Italian grapes : )

  6. June 22, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Have little to respond without a Google to two. But, just have to say that Nebbiolo is the most underappreciated grape and one that I love in all its incarnations. We all rave about the New World and its “cab sav” and others but old Nebbiolo is my fav.

    • talkavino
      June 23, 2013 at 8:20 am

      Well, yes – Barolo is not called “King of wines” for nothing : ) The only challenges are price and time. Most of the good Barolo are north of $50, and they really need a nice age on them to show in its beauty. But then of course there are wines from Nebbiolo which can be enjoyed at much younger age…

  7. Mika
    June 24, 2013 at 11:47 am

    1. Fog
    2. Valtellina in Lombardy
    3. False
    4. Arneis
    5. Orange hue

    • talkavino
      June 24, 2013 at 10:23 pm

      Excellent work! Answers are coming on Wednesday.

  8. June 24, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I don’t have much to add to answers 1-4, but I do have a guess on #5.
    1. Nebbia is the fog in the area
    2. no clue??
    3. False
    4. Arneis
    5. Aroma of roses and tar. I’m no blind tasting expert, but Nebbiolo aroma is 100% unique.

    • talkavino
      June 24, 2013 at 10:17 pm

      Thanks for playing! Answers are coming on Wednesday!

  1. June 26, 2013 at 9:21 am
  2. August 31, 2013 at 8:37 am
  3. November 30, 2013 at 9:03 am
  4. June 28, 2014 at 9:18 am

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