Friday, May 15, 2020

Pairings with Nebbiolo and Arneis from Chiesa Carlo

Piedmont is home to many great wine appellations and fantastic indigenous grapes produced in a variety of styles dependent upon each individual terroir.  Today we explore the southern sub-region of Alba, specifically a couple of appellations within the Cuneo province, Nebbiolo d’Alba DOC and the Roero DOCG featuring wines from Azienda Agricola Chiesa Carlo. 

The winery 
Azienda Agricola Chiesa Carlo is located in Santo Stefano of the Roero.  The winery was founded in the 1700’s and is operated today by the 5th generation of the Chiesa family.  Their vineyards occupy about 20 acres of sandy soils.  They’re known for producing quality DOC and DOCG wines practicing sustainability and working with indigenous yeasts. 

The appellations 
Nebbiolo d’Alba DOC – To be labeled with this DOC designation the wines must contain 100% nebbiolo and age for at least 1 year.  The area spans both sides of the Tanaro River around Alba and the hills of the Roero.    The wines produced here are more approachable compared to the nebbiolo in the nearby Langhe (Barolo and Barbaresco).  Plus, they are also more affordable and allow one to experience many similar characteristics with less boldness and structure.   

Roero DOCG – Nebbiolo and Arneis are the key stars in the Roero.  This appellation was upgraded to DOCG status in 2004.  Arneis is a native white grape variety that mostly calls the Roero home dominating the plantings.  This grape almost faced extinction in the 60’s.  It’s a challenging grape to grow due to poor yields and achieving the correct ripeness balanced with acidity.  The wines labeled Roero Arneis DOCG must be made of at least 95% arneis.   

The wines 
2013 Chiesa Manascarda Nebbiolo d’Alba - 100% Nebbiolo grown on south to south east facing slopes with sandy soils.  The grapes are manually picked spending 20 days of maceration and 12 months in big oak.  A very transparent, pale garnet colored wine.  Heavy notes of black licorice on the nose and cherries.  Medium bodied, cherry notes with good acidity.  Tannins present towards the finish lending vanilla, tobacco and cedar notes. 14.5% ABV 

The pairing: I paired this Nebbiolo d’Alba with some tasty Italian sausage stuffed four cheese ravioli from Trader Joes.   A wonderful complement to one another.   
2013 Chiesa Manascarda Nebbiolo d’Alba
2015 Chiesa Quin Roero Arneis DOCG – 100% Arneis grown on sandy soils south east facing.  The grapes are softly pressed with low temperature fermentation.  It then spends 6 months in stainless steel vats.  This wine is bright straw colored with a tinge of green.  Stone fruit on the nose.  Lively, bright acidity right up front.  A dry, medium-bodied wine with good texture.  Notes of apple, pear, almond and minerality are present with the higher alcohol of 14% lending some warmth.   

The pairing: I paired this Arneis with baked stuffed haddock.  The flavors and texture of the wine went well with the ritz cracker crumb topping.
2015 Chiesa Quin Roero Arneis DOCG pairing


*The wines were provided as samples, but opinions are all my own.  Importer: Mariposa Fine Wines

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