McLaren Vale Wine – The Nebb

The Nebb is the love child of the Wickham brothers and their concentration is all about Nebbiolo.  Nick tried a bottle of Barolo from the Piedmont region of italy.  In this case the wine looked brown and unappealing but he pushed on to try the wine.  From that moment on he was inspired by the variety and new that Nebbiolo was the only variety he wanted to make wine from.  From this experience he also thought that the original unappealing brown colour of the wine may be an impediment to any wine sales as the general public would take one look at the wine and run.  Thus a decision was made to add a proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon to the wine – with decreasing proportions as a following for the wine was forged.

Up to now the wine was made at the Redheads Studio in McLaren Vale, which allowed small producers like Nick to work with their passion and get some assistance from experienced winemakers.  Unfortunately this facility is no longer operational.


The Nebb Front Label

The origin of the name is self explanatory, however the label may need some explaining.  Nick has a friend who is a “Reformed Street Artist” aka street grafity.  He took the The Nebb concept – that also means beak and extended this to Dr Schnabel von Rom.  The good doctor worked to rid the early 16th century England of the Plague.  Doctor von Rom was known to have a beak that was full of herbs to purify the air during his exploits.  These elements were brought together to produce what is rather a different label.

Nick also has the advantage to work in a cooperage and thus can get access to excellent barrels but he also understands the different elements in what makes barrels work for the Nebbiolo.  The grapes are processed in 4 batches – note that all ferments are done in old 500 L puncheons turned on their sides with an end removed:-

  • warm ferment with the wild yeast ie left to its own devices
  • fermented with a specific Barolo yeast
  • cold soak (chill plates and dry ice added)
  • standard ferment

The Nebbiolo comes from a vineyard in the Blewitt Springs area of McLaren Vale.  The first wine was made in 2005.

The wines have not been put into any wine shows but was put into The Adelaide Review Hot 100 South Australian Wines – and made the top 10.  Well done guys.

Both wines I tasted are available in small quantities and are both at $35/bottle.  If you are interested in the wines they are not found in bottle shops so check out the web site at  I tasted these wines twice.  They were decanted for my initial tasting and then I tasted them again the next day.  I will add any differences on the second tasting in brackets.  I have not tasted a lot of Nebbiolo before and certainly none from Piedmont – I was in for a very pleasant surprise.

2006 The Nebb ($A35)

This wine has 34% Cabernet Sauvignon with the remainder of course Nebbiolo.  The wine shows some brown edges but Oh the nose (how interesting is this!)- mandarin peel and chocolates (with orange blossom with 24 hours breathing).  The palate has the mandarin peel, mulberries (with a balanced chocolate finish with 24 hours breathing).  The tannins are not as pronounced as the 2007 wine.  This is definitely a food wine, and something multidimensional like roast pork shoulder with apple sauce or chinese sizzling beef dishes.

2007 The Nebb ($A35)

The wine is 20% Cabernet – in line with the philosophy of reducing the Cabernet component.  This time I was ready for the browning wine, producing such a wonderful mandarin peel aroma this time with some floral (rose) hints.  The palate follows through with the mandarin peel and mulberries (dates and mocha comes through with 24 hours breathing).  There is plenty of dry dusty tannins which could give this wine a long life.  This would be interesting to pair up with a plate of soft cheese and cured meats with lots of crusty bread.

About Lonely Grape

Passionate about wine - particularly McLaren Vale wines. Check out my blog on different winery reviews and my wine sales web site
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