I love the intent at Pipan Steel wines. Paula Pipan and Radley Steel fell in love with nebbiolo so went on a search to find the best spot in the country to plant this notoriously difficult grape variety. That is not so unusual but what most aspirational winegrowers do is find an established wine region that best fits the bill. Not so here with Pipan and Steel finding their little piece of wine heaven at Mudgegonga. Not heard of it – me neither.
It is at the foot at the Australian alps and apparently is bathed in fog every winter. Is that important? Well nebbiolo is named after the fog or nebbia that regularly hits its most coveted vineyards in Barolo and Barbaresco so it is fairly safe to assume that it plays a decent role in making great wine.
The Pipan Steel combination are so passionate about Nebbiolo that they bottle four different versions from the same vintage. Three different single clone wines and a blend. My favourites were Clone 10 (X) and the blend of the three clones (III).
Pipan Steel X Nebbiolo 2016
An expressive style of nebbiolo that is beautifully perfumed showing a touch of development with quite classic baked earth and Potpourri, with red cherry and an array of spices such as fennel seed with oak very much in the background. It’s the fleshiest of three different clones with good palate generosity but still underpinned by plenty of muscular tannins and acidity providing superb balance. Fruit is more savoury on the palate with liquorice, tar, cold tea and earth providing the full nebbiolo experience before a long and generous finish. A good example for newbies to this variety.
Pipan Steel III Nebbiolo 2016
Unsurprisingly, this is the most complete wines of the Pipan Steel nebbiolos, blended from clones 7, 9 and 10. 10 gives the savoury notes, 7 the structure and 9 the perfume to make for quite an elegant style, but still with the dark heart of nebbiolo. Raspberry, spice, dried tobacco and mulberry fruit aromas provide a complex start followed by an energetic open-knit palate with sweet red fruits and spice supported by firm but well integrated tannins. A haunting and lingering finish provides a delicious end to a wine that will drink well for the next 6 to 8 years.