It was on a late summer visit to Elvio Cogno that I first tasted Nascetta – the local white Barolo grape variety that’s made a comeback in the middle of this red wine territory.
Elvio Cogno as it turns out, is not a bad place to start a Nascetta experience given that this winery, along with others from Novello, has pioneered efforts to get Nascetta on the Barolo map of DOC in the form of the Langhe Nascetta DOC, with the sub-zone of Nascetta from the Novello town area.
My first contact with Nascetta was with the grape itself from my friend’s winery in La Morra. Delicate, sweet and delicious. And also quite beautiful. So perhaps the best kind of introduction to this native variety.
Nascetta is part of the semi-aromatic grape family and in fact some of its proclaimed qualities remind me of what Riesling can offer – a structured white with potential to age. And as I’ve come across some Langhe Riesling of late, it’s even more of a pleasure to taste and drink a wine made from a native grape variety.
Fresh, floral and herbal notes are met with structure, acidity and a salty touch on the palate. Nascetta is made as a dry white although it’s said that in the past it could also be found as a sweet white, blended also with moscato. To my knowledge no-one makes a sweet Nascetta now but I’ll be on the lookout just in case.
If you prefer white wine and are coming to Barolo, rest-assured that with the rebirth of Nascetta in the nineties after disappearing in the vines of time for a while, there is now a very valid Barolo white alternative to suit your taste.