La Spinetta Nebbiolo, Langhe-Piedmont, Italy 2008.

La Spinetta Nebbiolo, Langhe-Piedmont, Italy 2008


100% Nebbiolo [neh-bee-oh-low]



  • La Spinetta was founded in 1977 by Giuseppe and Lidia Rivetti. They’re big on the idea that the best wines are made in the vineyard, rather than in the winery, and take as minimal of a interventionist approach as possible toward all their wines. 
  • Each bottle of La Spinetta bears a pencil drawing of a rhino, and there’s a very good reason for that! Historically, the rhinoceros has always been the traditional animal of choice for vineyard workers to transport baskets of grapes back to the winery from vineyards in the Piedmont region of Italy. Actually that’s a lie, I just checking if you were paying attention, but I can only imagine how AWESOME vineyard-rhino’s would be for winery tourism!
    There’s actually no real reason for the rhino on the label, as La Spinetta will tell you on their website. The pencil drawing by German artist Albrecht Dürer records the arrival of an Indian rhinoceros in Lisbon, Portugal in 1515. It was the first animal of its kind to be seen in Europe.

  • La Spinetta was the first winery in Italy to ever make a single vineyard Moscato, in 1978.

  • The name of the Nebbiolo grape is believed to stem from the Italian word nebbia, meaning fog. Supposedly fog usually sets into the region during grape harvest.

  • This particular wine is a fairly new addition to the La Spinetta lineup, with the first vintage being 2004.

  • All La Spinetta’s grapes are hand-harvested.

La Spinetta Nebbiolo, Langhe-Piedmont, Italy

Wine Map of ItalyPlace (click map for larger view)

  • Piedmont (Piemonte in Italian) is at the top-left part of the boot, and sits just below the Alps and Apennine mountains. The word Piedmont literally translated means “at the foot of the mountain”, which is funny because La Spinetta means “at the top of the hill”.

  • 75% of La Spinetta’s vineyards are biodynamic, meaning that not only do they not use any chemicals on their grapes, but they also must adhere to certain “rituals” including, but not limited to; ground quartz being encased in cow horns and then buried in the soil during the summer months, and harvesting according to lunar cycles. It’s pretty crazy stuff, and there’s a big divide in the wine community as to whether it actually works or is just a bunch of voodoo. Me? Well, I think it’s pretty cool…

  • Piedmont ranks around 6th place in terms of total wine production in Italy.

  • Most of the vines at La Spinetta are between 35-65 years old.

  • La Spinetta produces 650,000 bottles per year (450,000 from vineyards in Piedmont and 200,000 from vineyards in Tuscany). 75% of their production is exported, 45% of which happily comes to the U.S.

La Spinetta Nebbiolo


I find the light color of Nebbiolo to always initially deceive people into thinking they’re going to yield a body that matches. For the most part, they do not!
Bold but remaining elegant, the dried herbs and cherries are immediately apparent (at least on the palate). The nose is still fairly muted. The dark fruit is all dried, also with cola, bitter chocolate, tar and forest floor. Finishes dry and long. I recommend another 5 years+ in the bottle.



Personally, I’m more than happy to drink this wine by itself, but I can understandably see why most people would need food in order to appreciate a wine in this style. For that reason I suggest olives, red meats, truffles, hard cheeses, hearty casseroles, game, and



$30, imported by Indigenous Selections



  • January 6, 2012

    Heather in SF

    Oh fun, love the rhino connection. Their rituals sound interesting, I would like to know more. And I would like to try their Moscato.

  • January 9, 2012

    Kris Chislett

    Glad you liked! :)

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