Nebbiolo Paired With Onion Smoked Brisket
Braised Meat and Nebbiolo – a Classic Pairing
Braised meats are a classic cool weather pairing with Nebbiolo, so a braised dish was a clear choice to kick off our Nebbiolo pairing round-up. Today, we adjusted a brisket recipe for a smoking trial on the Primo Ceramic grill. Verdict: winner on all counts.
Nebbiolo #1 – American Nebbiolo from Cana’s Feast Winery
Nebbiolo is a very finicky grape. By some counts, even more difficult than fickle Pinot Noir. Very little is seen outside Northern Italy. However, there are few brave (crazy?) growers giving it a shot. A while back, my friend Valerie clued me in to Cana’s Feast Winery, a winery in Oregon with a special affinity for Italian grapes growing in Oregon and Washington. I ordered several of their wines. First I tried their Sangiovese and was duly impressed. I saved the Nebbiolo for a future round-up. Finally, my opportunity came with our Italian Food Wine & Travel group.
Cana’s Feast Nebbiolo “Ciel du Cheval Vineyard” Washington 2008 ($32 from the winery via mail)
Eye: Clear, pale ruby with an orange rim
Nose: Clean, medium+ intensity. Bright cherry fruit, with definite floral character. Very fresh & pretty. There’s a bit of earth, but very clean, almost like fresh loam on the forest floor.
Mouth: Dry with medium+ body. High acids and high tannins. Strong fruit and long tannic finish.Wow, excellent Nebbiolo character, well done. Can you tell I loved this wine?
Where is Gattinara?
Barolo and Barbaresco are the best known regions for Nebbiolo, but it is grown elsewher in Northern Italy. Gattinara is a community still in the Piedmont, but farther east toward Milan, almost to the lakes district. Nebbiolo from Gattinara has its’ own character, still Nebbiolo but different from the wines of the Langhe. Travaglini is one of the best known wineries in this region. In operation since the 1920’s, the family has quite a history with the region and with Nebbiolo.
Travaglini Gattinara DOCG 2009 ($26 online)
Eye: Clear, pale garnet color with a definite orange rim
Nose: Clean, medium+ intensity. Strawberries & oranges on the nose. Initially, seemed a bit raisiny, but opens up nicely. A touch of leather. Floral, maybe roses.
Mouth: Dry, medium body. Acidity high, tannins high. Not too fruity in the mouth, more leather, clean earth, some red fruit.
Clearly Nebbiolo, excellent structure and intensity. Benefitted greatly by a couple hours of air. Good now, could easily hold 5 years.
Nebbiolo with Smoked Brisket
True to form, both Nebbiolo’s were excellent with the brisket. The beef and bed of onions were a perfect foil for all the acids and tannins in the wines. The wines weren’t overly ripe or fruity, which suited the earthy flavors in the dish.
Recipe Courtesy of David Lebovitz
I adapted David Lebovitz’s interpretation of Nach Waxman’s Beef Brisket for use on my Primo Ceramic Grill. You can certainly follow David’s excellent recipe (and his photos!). If you have access to a smoker grill, you might give it a try. I loved the addition of a bit of smoky flavor to the dish. Note: even though I made the horseradish sauce, I forgot to serve it. Both at the first serving and with the leftovers. Oops!