This was a really interesting range of 2016 current releases to try. I had never heard of Pipan Steel, Barolo and Barbaresco obsessives that only produce Nebbiolo in the Alpine Valleys of Victoria. I do love the idea of a bracket of Nebbiolos from a range of clones where you can taste the differences. Point proven by each clone being planted in alternating rows to get as close to true consistency of all factors required for berry growth. They really were all unique, each showing differing characters that you would expect to find in different sites but instead it was just different clonal material. It really was fascinating in a geeky wine way.
2016 Pipan Steel III Nebbiolo
The III is a blend of all 3 clones (44% Clone 7, 23% Clone 9, 33% Clone 10). Garnet hues; pretty, perfumed cherry and salumi notes. Mid weight with chewy, chalky tannins, dark fruit and savoury gravel. Dark and brooding with juicy acid and a warm spiced finish. The most complete wine in the line-up, structured but elegant and the most representative of Nebbiolo, highlighting the best qualities found in each clone.
2016 Pipan Steel X Nebbiolo
Produced from Clone 10 (sourced from Gruppo Matura, Italy) reputed to be the savoury and elegant clone. Colour, yes, garnet hues I love to see on Nebbiolo with a little age. Lifted nose showing tertiary development, dried mushroom and liquorice with a pretty perfume. A lighter style with textural pithy tannins, juicy acid and savoury length through the palate. Warming alcohol and some red cherry lift on the finish. It would benefit from decanting to release the aromas, and I do agree, it was the lightest and most elegant Nebbiolo in the range; textural and fine.
2016 Pipan Steel IX Nebbiolo
Produced from Clone 9, the luscious and generous clone. This wine showed ruby notes and some brick colour developing. It was definitely more plush and rounder with warm baking spice nose, sweet black cherries, both mouth filling and plush. Chalky textural tannins, fine acid line and a solid length; the warm alcohol cloaked by fruit weight. A more generous style, a crowd pleaser – feminine and seductive.
2016 Pipan Steel VII Nebbiolo VII
Clone 7 is the structural and textural clone. It showed the classic tar and roses lift on the nose, savoury with a leafy undertone. A lovely ethereal quality on the palate giving way to structured assertive tannins, a masculine broad shouldered style. Tangy acid, light in colour and quite lean through the palate. A double decant will loosen up the wine, which did open up in the glass over time.