Pipan Steel Nebbiolo Offer

Five or six years ago a customer dropped in a bottle of wine they thought I might be interested in tasting. It was nebbiolo and the first bottling (non-commercial) off their young vineyard in Mugegonga in Victoria's north-east. Now, it has to be said that when friends or colleagues drop in a bottle for comment you're most probably gonna be left composing a diplomatic reply with a subtext of...don't give up your day job. What was more worrying was the fact that it was nebbiolo and over the years I have been underwhelmed by the growing number of local nebbiolo that come across the tasting bench: often overpriced and often over-hyped by producers and media alike. I mean, I never understood why a punter should part with their hard-earned for a substandard version when you can buy brilliant nebbiolo from the Langhe for half the price.

Well, this wine was good! Still relatively light and lacking the complexity that vine age brings but it was varietal and showed an unusual maturity and unpretentiousness in the winemaking. It was clear the main protagonists in this partnership, Paula Pipan (winemaker) and Radley Steel (viticulturalist) had a clarity of vision about the type of wine they wanted to make and that they understood the variety. On further questioning, I discovered the pair had spent years looking for the right site and then sourced clones from the Groupo Mattura (an Italian group who provide winemaking and technical advice around the world). It was a passion prject backed by research and knowledge.

Since that time I've followed the evolution of this producer and watched as the wines have got steadily better and more assured. Last week, Paula came past with the current range of wines - three individually bottled clones and then two blends (one is a blend of two of the aforementioned clones and one is a blend of all three). The tasting was came directly after the superb nebbiolos of Valtellina superstar Ar Pe Pe had been on the tasting bench but they were absolutely not disgraced. Each of the inidvidual clones showed something subtley different - lighter framed and fragrant, more savoury and weighty and a blast of mineral. Kind cool. For me the favourite wine was the third of the wines shown in this bracket AKA Clone X. Of the two blends, the blend of all three clones was the most succesful. The sum of the parts making for a more complex and satisfying wine. For those who would like a style pointer to Piemonte then I think it's like a good Roero or lighter-bodied Langhe Nebb. On top of all that, they got the pricing right - under $40 seems like decent value to my mind.

I'm offering our two favourite wines below. If you like to grab some then just reply to this email or order online here.

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2 Item(s)