Italian food calls for Italian wine, and that's a rule I try not break - ever. Fortunately, one of my favorite Italian restaurants, Il Buco, has a wine list with a whole page of Italian wines that never disappoint.
Colline Novaresi D.O.C. is in Piedmont, in extreme northwestern Italy. The Nebbiolo grapes used in this wine are farmed biodynamically in Fontechiara vineyards. The wine is 100% Nebbiolo and has a 13.5% abv number. It shows a deep and beautiful red color in the glass, quite dark in fact. When you pick up the glass, that's when the fun begins.
One whiff and I was sold. This Nebbiolo has such a rich aroma I just sat and smelled it for quite some time. A floral smell leaps out first, and is quickly joined by notes of tar. Finally, I start to sense the fruit and realized it was there all along. It makes me think of black plums that have been trampled into the earth underneath the tree where they fell.
Then, on the first sip, I expect it to be a bit tannic. It's not, though. It's very smooth, and the fruit really shines through. Blackberry and black cherry flavors are almost candied. There's licorice, too. The flavors keep reminding me of Port. The wine is so juicy and complex I can only marvel at it. By now, I expect the finish to be lengthy - and it is. The flavors linger through a moment of reflection and the next bite of farfalle with sauage and peas. It's one of my favorite dishes at Il Buco in Beverly Hills, but this time it takes a back seat to the wine.
By the way, Il Buco has this Colline Novaresi Nebbiolo for eight dollars by the glass. With a nose and a palate like this, it's one of the better bargains I've encountered recently.