Grape Varieties:






In his NATURALIS HISTORIAE Pliny the Elder published circa AD 77-79 made note of vine called ALLOBROGICA, a late ripening and cold resistant black (red) grape.  This very much describes NEBBIOLO, a variety that buds early and ripens late, the harvest taking place when the valleys are filled with morning mist, NEBBIA, from which the vine takes the name. Earlier it referred to as Vitis Vinifera Pedemontana and later Nubiolum.


References to Nibiol date back to 1260s. In 1511, in the local statues NEBBIOLO is referred to as a precious variety, one to be particularly protected. In the early 1700s the NEBBIOLO wines of Piemonte were discovered by English merchants seeking an alternative to the wines of Bordeaux. It might have helped that English were in war with France at the time



NEBBIOLO is the earliest to bud and the last to ripen. It requires a lot of care and is stingy with fruit, however of excellent quality. The grapes are generally harvested in mid-October or later.


NEBBIOLO is very demanding grape variety, requiring good drainage and sunny exposure. Soil is another important consideration: Calcareous marly soil with mixture of sand that is low in alkalinity and high in phosphorous, potassium and magnesium.



In the various parts where NEBBIOLO is grown it has different local names:

·         PICOTENER or PUGNET – In Aosta and Torino

·         SPANNA (SPANA)– In Novara-Nercelli

·         CHIAVENNASCA – In Valetllina region of Lombardia

·         NEBBIOLO – In Langhe-Monferrato


·         NEBBIOLO DI DRONERO – Colline Saluzzesi



There are three distinctive sub varieties recognized and accepted by DOC and DOCG:

  • MICHET (MICOT in Piemontese dialect) is named for its small compact form, which is likened to a small loaf of bread, is the most important sub variety. It is accepted by both BAROLO and BARBARESCO DOCGs.
  • LAMPIA has longer, more loosely composed clusters. It has a greater production of consistent quality. The wines produced are noted for their elegance and perfume. It is accepted by both BAROLO and BARBARESCO DOCGs.
  • ROSÉ is similar in appearance to MICHET, but generally produces a wine with less color and les body than the other two. There is very little of this sub variety planted. There are very few wines produced of 100% ROSÉ. In order to produce the best quality wine all the factors must be present: vineyard site – soil and exposure, vintage and of course, talented and dedicated wine maker. In the hands of wine maker Valter Fissore of Elvio Cogno Barolo “Vigna Elena” is one of the best examples. This sub variety is NOT allowed in production of Barbaresco DOCG.
  • BOLLA, ROSSI and SAN LUIGI are less esteemed off-shoots.