Saturday, April 21, 2012
Breaux Vineyards Nebbiolo `05 $72.00 ****
Leonardo never had it so good. This Virginia Nebbiolo is a really good wine, with a GREAT story.
Lat year, I was lucky enough to tour Breaux Vineyards in Purcellville, VA, just an hour from Washington DC. While I was there, I fell for their Viognier, a lovely white that Jancis Robinson and Oz Clarke like too. But for me, the star is their hill of Nebbiolo grapes and the way that Spanish winemaker David Pagan Castaño creates a magic Italian elixir from the fruit.
Where else can you have a classic indigenous Italian varietal, grown in rural Virginia by a family with deep Louisiana roots, with a second generation Spanish winemaker producing a delicious "true to the varietal" wine that holds it's own against famous DOCG Borolos and Barbarescos? Only in America.
E. Paul Breaux likes wine. The story behind Breaux Nebbiolo was told to me by Chris Blosser and his wife (Paul's daughter) Jennifer Breaux Blosser, who now run the day to day of the Vineyards. As we sipped chilled Viognier in the August heat, I asked "why Nebbiolo?" Chris answered:
One evening while visiting Italy Mr. Breaux had a conversation with an Italian man (their only common language was wine) about the noble Nebbiolo grape. It was such a great night (I believe wine consumption was involved) that he decided to come home to Virginia and plant some Nebbiolo vines. This shows that the real estate magnate is also an iconoclast who is willing to take risks; in the spirit of the founding fathers, he took European originals (Nebbiolo and winemaker Castaño) and made a rich, flavorful American wine with Piemonte roots.
I opened the bottle while making Marcella Hazan's Risotto with Beef, Rosemary, Sage, and Barolo Wine, Alba Style. This is where I tell you that taste does not photograph well. I intentionally cropped out dinner from the photograph above because as I call it "Hamburger Risotto" is mouthwateringly delicious, but it looks like Ginny's dinner. I didn't want to sully your view of this amazing wine: Aged to perfection, with a slight orange tinge around the edge, no tannins that I could taste and a rich fruity structure with mellow earthy undertones. It is great for sipping and paired with delicious food. At 13.8% ETOH, this is a full flavor wine, but there was no overly alcoholic kick back.
Thomas Jefferson's dream has come true. They're making delicious wine in Virginia.
Breaux Vineyards, Summer 2011: