Breaux Vineyards does three verticals each year: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and, my favorite, the Nebbiolo Vertical.
Nebbiolo is a grape originally grown in the Piedmont region of Italy. The Italians use the Nebbiolo grape to produce a wine called Barolo, also called the "King of Wines." The Nebbiolo grape produces a powerful wine that is very tannic when young. In the Piedmont region Barolo is aged 4-5 years before it is released:
If Barolo is produced in the traditional style, it can be "hard" when young. It needs to be aged in order to become "mellow." In fact, production rule stipulates that Barolo is not Barolo until it has aged for at least three years at the winery. If it is to be called, "Riserva," it must age at least five years. Barolo is best with additional aging and is often left to age for between ten and twenty years after the vintage year.
Dave Collins, the winemaker at Breaux Vineyards, makes his Nebbiolo in the traditional Barolo style. He ages the wine for 32 months (though, he does siphon some of the best off after 24 months for Cellar Club members).
Because the wines are made so well the current release is the 2005 vintage, but the 2001 and 2002 vintages are still showing extremely well.
During the tasting we were able to try the 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2002 and 2001 vintages along with the 2008 Nebbiolo Ice. The 2008-2006 vintages were barrel samples while the rest are currently released vintages.
The event was catered by Grandale Farms and, as usual, Jennifer Breaux, did an excellent job of matching up vintages. She paired the 2008 and 2007 vintages with Stewed New Zealand Lamb, 2006 and 2005 were paired with Grilled Beef Tenderloin and the 2002 and 2001 vintages were paired with Pan Seared Duck Breast.
My tasting notes on some of the vintages:
2008: Blackberry and licorice on the the nose, very subtle for a young wine, but lots of tannins and a good body.
2007: A powerful wine, aromas of cherry and vanilla with big fruit. Lots of body, good structure with big tannins.
2006: Dark fruit and licorice on the nose. Good body and structure, tannins are already starting to soften.
2005: Aromas of raspberry and chocolate, this vintage continues to improve with age. The tannins are soft, but it has good body and structure.
I've reviewed the 2002 and 2001 wines before, they continue to improve with age.