The mantra that I share with my students at the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences in Piedmont where I’m teaching this week:
taste, taste, taste
read, read, read
write, write, write
Whenever I’m in Italy, I try to taste as much as possible. After yesterday’s afternoon seminar on digital wine communications with the students in the wine-focused grad program, it took me about 25 minutes to get the Hilberg Pasquero winery in Priocca village on the edge of the Roero DOCG. Man, it’s been literally 20 years since I first visited this lovely family! Now their son Nicola has returned from a successful career in corporate marketing to take over the family farm.
That’s their still blend of Brachetto and Barbera, above. The fruit in this wine is so vibrant, but delicate and nuanced at the same time. When’s the last time you tasted a Brachetto that wasn’t sparkling? I have always loved this wine and was so happy to revisit it with them in situ.
Whenever we talk about Roero in generalities, we tend to emphasize that Roero’s subsoils are mostly sandy. That’s why, the conventional wisdom goes, Roero’s Nebbiolo doesn’t have the depth of its neighbor in Barolo with its mix of limestone, clay, and marl soils.
But what many don’t realize is that Roero is actually just a stone’s throw from Barbaresco to the east. They are divided by the Tanaro river. Villages in the eastern part of the Roero DOCG share soil types with their neighbors.
Nicola was keen to show me a vineyard they had recently re-planted (below). Do you notice the color and texture of the soil? That’s the classic limestone terreno bianco (the “white soil”) that you also find in Barbaresco and Barolo!
It was fantastic to stand atop that hill and have Nicola point out some of his neighbors who also farm on the same white soils.
And man, let me tell you, those two expression of Nebbiolo d’Alba (above) that we tasted are no Nebbiolo by a lesser god!
Hilberg Pasquero is currently imported in the U.S. by wonderful friend Dino Tantawi in New York. But they are looking for representation in other states now, too. If I were an importer, I’d jump on it.
Thank you again Annette, Michele, and Nicola for an awesome tasting! Looking forward to seeing you guys again soon so we can break out those guitars!