Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Washington Nebbiolo vs. Piemonte

This week features a return to Italy with a major splash.  The Milan San-Remo one day classic is the longest professional bike race on the calendar.  In fact, it is so long that the UCI had to grant it special permission to exceed the maximum allowable distance for a world tour race.

I've said it before, and I will say it again, you cannot beat Italian style.  They like things big and expressive.  If you had any doubt all you need to do is check out the details on the Milan San-Remo classic.  Then check out this video to see the wild finish of this year's race.  You can also check out some big, bold and expressive Italian wines.  And that is what I am about to do.

This week's Lucha Vino challenge features a Washington Nebbiolo taking on the original from Piemonte.

2005 Cavatappi Maddelena Nebbiolo vs. 2008 Eugenio Bocchino Roccabella

Tale of the Tape

2005 Cavatappi Maddelena Nebbiolo

Little is known about this Luchador and it appears that he prefers to be shrouded in mystery.  100% Nebbiolo from the Red Willow Vineyard.  All other details are left to your imagination.

There are some details here on the 2005 from a Full Pull wines offering.

Purchased at Esquin for $23.99

2008 Eugenio Bocchino Roccabella

100% Nebbiolo from Langhe area of Piemonte.  Aged for 12 months in barrel.

Provided by Vinum wines.  This Nebbiolo is available for $20-ish at retail.

The Eugenio Bocchino lineup is part of the Indie Wineries team. 


Round 1.  First Opening

The Cavatappi seems to be a bit intimidated by the Italian challenger.  The nose shows cherries, cedar and stony spices.  The palate is super sour tart cranberry with an equally tart finish.  This Luchador may need some more seasoning.

The Roccabella is rocking it right from the gun.  The nose is showing currant, dark cherry, underbrush and light herbal light spices.  The palate is also showing dark cherry and Asian cedar spices with tart dry spicy finish.

The Roccabella is indeed rocking.  The name reminds me of the first Judas Priest album: Rocka-Rolla.  This tough Luchador is definitely showing the strength worthy of leather and studs.  Roccabella easily takes round one.

Round 2.  One hour after Opening

The officials are having trouble coaxing the Cavatappi out of its corner for round two.  The nose is still very tart with notes of cranberry and citrus grapefruit spice.  The palate is also showing cranberry and a bit of toastiness with a tart cedar finish.

No sooner than the Cavatappi left the corner than the Roccabella delivered maximum pain with a flying body slam off the top rope.  The nose is showing musty mineral, funky dark cherry fruit with a bit of savory vinegar soy and light pepper spice.  The palate shows dark cherry, clove and a tart cedar dry finish.

The Cavatappi is reeling, staggering around the ring looking dazed and confused.  Chalk up another round for the Roccabella.

Round 3. One day after Opening

Based on the first two runds things are not looking good for the Cavatappi.  Can this Washington State Luchador rise to the challenge and knock the Italian Nebbiolo out cold?

It took some time, but the Cavatappi has arrived.  The nose has bulked up with cranberry and tart soy.  The palate is showing cranberry and tart cedar pepper with a sweet spicy finish.

The Roccabella is still rocking but has lost a decibel or two.  Swaggering in to the ring for the final round the nose is dark cherry, pepper spices and light savory notes.  The palate is showing dark cherry with tart clove spices and a very dry finish.

This round was the closest of all.  The Cavatappi took this round by the slimmest of margins.

The match ended with the Roccabella winning 2 rounds to 1.

Wrap up and over all observations

The Cavatappi had 6 years of barrel and bottle age on it.  Even with this much aging the Luchador showed skills and style that reminded me of a rookie rather than a veteran.

The Rocabella was much younger, but put up a fight like a true veteran.  Strutting around the ring like Rob Halford in leather and studs this Italian Luchador put a sound whipping on the Luchador from Washington. 

The Roccabella delivered the goods in this Nebbiolo knock out!

I give the Eugenio Bocchino Roccabella an 88 and the Cavatappi an 86.


  1. Washington Nebbiolos are still a rare beast; thanks for organizing this fight. Another local luchador to consider is Wilridge's new Nebbiolo ('09) from estate grown fruit. About the same price, and drinking well for a youngster.

  2. Thanks Tuck. Some varietals are hard to find in Washington! Cavatappi seems to keep coming through with the Italian grapes. Wilridge would make a solid Washington representative based on the recent Port matchup where they held their own against the real deal from Portugal.