Devastating Mudslides Kill 20 in Santa Barbara County; Historic San Ysidro Ranch Resort Sustains Heavy Damage (Wine Spectator)

Main highway to Los Angeles is closed, hurting sales for winery tasting rooms and restaurants
Source: Wine Spectator News

Nebbiolo in a Nutshell

Recommendations, flavor profiles, & facts about the grape behind Barolo and Barbaresco in a quick five-minute read. Let’s go!

If you like your wines big, bold, and red, Nebbiolo needs to be on your radar. Hailing from Northern Italy’s Piedmont region, this grape is known for producing powerful, full-bodied, and mercilessly tannic wines—all while looking as pale as Pinot Noir! Most famously, it’s the grape that goes into Barolo and Barbaresco, two of the world’s most revered (and more expensive) wines. Though as you’ll soon find out, Nebbiolo is also in a number of more affordable, entry-level styles of wine from Italy and beyond.

So, whether it’s your first time trying it or you’re looking for a little more information on a wine that’s got you hooked, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about Nebbiolo. Let’s get started!


Nebbiolo Wine Facts


Seal of Nebbiolo - by Wine Folly

  1. Nebbiolo is an old, old grape, first being referenced as far back as the 13th Century!
  2. The name Nebbiolo derives from nebbia, the Italian word for “fog.” This is likely from the white, powder-like natural bloom on the grapes that appears during harvest season. Or, from the fact that the best Nebbiolo sites are located above the fog that collects in the valley.
  3. Even though Nebbiolo only makes up ~8% of all the grapes grown in Piedmont, more of this grape is grown here than anywhere else in the world.
  4. Despite being an essential part of two of the country’s premier wines, Nebbiolo is rarely grown anywhere else in Italy.
  5. Much like Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo is an incredibly fussy variety to grow. It flowers early, ripens late, and can struggle to ripen fully. It also seems to prefer specific hillside locations and clay- and silt-based soils.
  6. Also like Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo is considered to be a “terroir-expressive” variety, in that it picks up more of the earth, soil, and climate characteristics versus other grapes, which means it can taste wildly different depending on where it’s grown.

Nebbiolo Taste Profile and Food Pairings

Not only do Nebbiolo wines look light, they also smell light too, with disarming red fruit and rose aromas swirling around the nose. That all changes the second it goes into your mouth. If you didn’t understand the concept of “grippy tannins” before, you will now, as leathery goodness clings to your teeth, tongue, and gums. Expect that to be followed up with striking flavors of cherry, coffee, anise, and primordial earth.

Nebbiolo wine facts - taste profile radar chart by Wine Folly

With such a large amount of tannin, you’ll want to pair these wines with foods that feature fat, butter, and olive oil, and nothing too lean. Your first thought will probably be rustic, Italian fare, and that’s a great place to start! Nebbiolo also goes surprisingly well with savory Chinese dishes and spice-driven Asian cuisine.


Piedmont Italy Wine Map by Wine Folly 2016 Edition

Nebbiolo Regions

By now, we’ve probably talked your ear off about Barolo and Barbaresco as the premier Nebbiolo spots of world. There are other places that make Nebbiolo and here are the other regional wines of Piedmont (and Lombardy) that use Nebbiolo:

  1. Boca Nebbiolo is called Spanna here and wines also blend in Vespolina and Uva Rara. Earthy, rustic wines with high acidity, high tannin and often iron-like aromas from the region’s soils.
  2. Bramaterra Nebbiolo is called Spanna here and wines also blend in Vespolina and Uva Rara. Wines are lighter in style with simple fresh red berry and rosé aromas with medium tannin and ample acidity. Many consider it a sin to open a bottle before 10 years.
  3. Canavese Nebbiolo A single-varietal Nebbiolo (with a minimum of 85% Nebbiolo, but often with more) coming from Northern provinces in Piedmont where the rare white, Erbaluce, grows. Wines seem to be equally floral and earthy with strong tannins and licorice notes. For quality, seek out those serious examples with around 14% ABV.
  4. Carema Another Northern Piemontese gem that produces Nebbiolo on the lighter side – imagine roses, violets, truffle and wild strawberries. Aging must be at least 3 years and the Riserva bottlings require 4 years!
  5. Fara Nebbiolo is called Spanna in Fara Novarese and wines include Spanna, Vespolina and Uva Rara. Fara is thought to be a very ancient wine, grown in the hills west of Milan. Wines have rich dried fruit and rustic leather aromas.
  6. Ghemme DOCG and Gattinara DOCG Two neighboring Northern Piemontese regions producing single-varietal Nebbiolo wines with rich dried fruit aromas and rustic earthy notes.
  7. Langhe Nebbiolo Langhe is the region that encompasses Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero. Vineyards in sites outside of the DOCG regions are positioned in the lower hills or on North-facing plots that are harder to ripen Nebbiolo. Still, on outstanding vintages, this is a great place to hunt for values.
  8. Lessona The best Lessona is 100% Nebbiolo although some include a blend of Vespolina, Croatina and Uva Rara. The region’s sandy soils produce wines of lithe elegance with perfumed floral notes of roses, peony and violets. On the palate, Lessona has high acidity and is very structured making it wise to age wines 10 or so years to reach their pinnacle of taste.
  9. Nebbiolo d’Alba An even larger region that encompasses much of South-central Piedmont produces a great deal of value-driven Nebbiolo wines. Nebbiolo d’Alba ranges in taste from fruity and floral to herbaceous and rustic. This is a wine where the right vintage will really make a difference.
  10. Roero DOCG A region for Nebbiolo (and the local white, Arneis) that continues to fly under the radar even though it was recently elevated to DOCG status in 2004. Wines are every bit as intense and structured as Barolo and the Riserva level requires a minimum of 32 months of aging, including 6 months in barrel. Quite the find.
  11. Valtellina, Lombardy In neighboring Lombardy there is a transverse valley that opens to Lake Como. Here, in the south-facing hills you’ll find Nebbiolo is called Chiavennasca. The region is much cooler and produces wines with tart, earthy berry notes and high acidity. This is where you’ll find the rare Sfurzato or Sfursat wine which is essentially a Nebbiolo made in the style of Amarone della Valpolicella.

If you’re feeling adventurous, New World Nebbiolo can be a pleasant surprise. Wines from California (Central Coast, Santa Ynez, Paso Robles) and Mexico (Guadalupe Valley) have shown promise with a less brooding, still tannic styling, as well as with sweet floral notes and fresh fruit characteristics. (Though, if you go with Mexico’s Nebbiolo, it’s possible you will get a blend!)

If you like your wines especially juicy, floral, and aromatic, Nebbiolo also grows well in the Victoria State of Australia, where it gets the sunshine it needs to flourish.


Lombardy Italy where Valtellina Nebbiolo wines come from
The Valtellina region where Nebbiolo is called Chiavennasca and produces one of the most elegant styles.

Did You Know?

  1. Curious why Nebbiolo wines look so light, despite being so massive and tannic? Believe it or not, young Nebbiolo wines do have some rich color! It just fades really quickly. Speaking broadly, Nebbiolo’s anthocyanins (water-soluble pigments) contain few stable colorants and more easily oxidized peonidin and cyanidin glycosides, resulting in a rapidly decolorizing wine over a short period of time.
  2. The waiting game used to be the hardest part with top Nebbiolo wines (with some people saying they needed to be aged for a decade or more!) But, new styles of winemaking have made them softer and more approachable younger. Wines often used advanced winemaking techniques such as extended maceration to soften tannins.
  3. Barolo and Barbaresco have a little more in common with Burgundy than their regional Italian counterparts. Not only do they focus on a single variety (our bud, Nebbiolo), but they even produce single-vineyard wines from designated Menzioni, which are essentially classified vineyards much like Burgundy’s Grand Crus.
  4. During the 1800s Barolo was a sweet wine. (Gasp.) This is likely due to the fact that Nebbiolo is harvested late in the season and colder temperatures halted the fermentation.
  5. Though Nebbiolo is definitely Piedmont’s grape today, where it originally comes from is a little more unclear. Some say it’s Piedmont, while others think it may actually come from Lombardy in the alpine foothills close to Lake Como.

Curious about the differences Barolo and Barbaresco? Learn more here.


Sources include:

  • Wine Grapes, Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding, Jose Vouillamoz (pp. 701-707)
  • The Wine Bible, Karen MacNeil (pp. 331-338)
  • Color/Pigment info via Dr. Paul Smith, Australian Wine Research Institute

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Unfiltered: In Brutal Act of Wine Trolling, NFL's Cameron Jordan Gifts Jordan Cab to Rival as Consolation Prize (Wine Spectator)

Now, winery owner John Jordan tells us he will host the Saints defensive end in Sonoma. Plus, actor-winemakers get in on Golden Globes Champagne shenanigans, and a second French Laundry thief is sentenced
Source: Wine Spectator News

Love Beer? Then You’re Gonna Love These Wines

32 wines for beer lovers. 32 beers for wine lovers. Everybody wins with this comprehensive guide.

We’re not just wine geeks at Wine Folly, we’re beer geeks, too! Why wouldn’t we love beer? Much like wine, there’s a rich history behind the drink, endless variations and styles, and countless flavor compounds to sift through.

Also, most importantly, it just tastes good. Like, really good.

If you’re a beer drinker looking to make the jump from the taproom to the tasting room—or a wine drinker looking to do vice versa—this is the read for you.

32 Wines for Beer Lovers

 
Crisp Clean and Light beers: Bitburger Pilsner, New Glarus Spotted Cow, Weihenstephener Brauweisse, Avery White Rascal, Reissdorf Kolsch, Delirium Tremens

Crisp, Clean, & Light

Lager & Pilsner

  • Example: Czechvar Budvar, Bitburger Pilsner
  • Typical Flavors: malt, baked bread, mineral water, fresh flowers, grain
  • Wine to Try: Cava (Brut Nature)

Lovers of all things light, crisp, and refreshing need to trade in their steins for a flute of Cava Brut Nature. This extra bright, extra dry Spanish sparkler is an affordable, approachable gateway into the world of wine and pairs well with all manner of salty pub fare.


Cream Ale

  • Example: New Glarus Spotted Cow
  • Typical Flavors: corn, malt, lactose, cream soda, coconut
  • Wine to Try: Muscadet et Sur Lie

Made from the fruity, acidic Melon de Bourgogne variety and aged on suspended dead yeast particles, this style of Muscadet develops a more robust and bready character that’s an easy entry point for lovers of the thirst-quenching ale.


Hefeweizen

  • Example: Weihenstephaner Bräuweisse
  • Typical Flavors: banana, bubblegum, citrus, cream, clove
  • Wines to Try: Beaujolais, Schiava

If you love the more classic banana esters found in German Hefeweizen, you’ll find a similar flavor (and easy-drinking structure) in a younger Beaujolais. However, if you dig more of the bubblegum notes, you may want to say buongiorno to the obscure Italian grape, Schiava.


Witbier

  • Example: Avery White Rascal
  • Typical Flavors: coriander, orange peel, white tea, honey
  • Wine to Try: Gewürztraminer (Dry)

Only one wine comes to mind for the cloudy, quaffable Belgian-style ale with a spice-driven kick: Gewürztraminer. Preferably a dry, somewhat aged one to get not only those citrus and floral notes, but a hint of warm spice as well. Much like Witbier, Gewürztraminer also pairs well with Indian and Arabic cuisine and more exotic fare.


Kölsch

Consider in lieu of this clean, pleasantly bitter ale from Cologne, Germany a Brut or Extra-Dry Prosecco. The drier Brut will have a similar mouthfeel and finish to most Kölsch, but if you’re all about those cracker and bread flavors, go for the somewhat sweeter, misleadingly named Extra Dry style.


Belgian Golden Strong Ale

  • Example: Delirium Tremens
  • Typical Flavors: white spice, citrus, flowers, hops
  • Wine to Try: Grenache Blanc

Nicknamed the “Devil’s Ale” in Belgium, these beers earn their reputation by looking as light as a lager does, while packing a graceful, but significant alcoholic punch (7-12% ABV.) Grenache Blanc does a similar dance by also looking light and approachable, while having a similar hidden kick (13-15% ABV.) Plus, these wines can be just as fruity and floral as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, and even a bit hop-like with the characteristic green notes!


Malty, Medium-bodied, hoppy beers: Troegs Nugget Nectar, Samuel Smiths Brown Ale, Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Bells Two-Hearted IPA

Malty, Medium-Bodied, & Hoppy

Amber Ale / Red Ale

  • Example: Tröegs Nugget Nectar
  • Typical Flavors: malt, caramel, whole wheat bread, mild fruit
  • Wine to Try: Sherry (Amontillado)

Time to get fortified. It is difficult to find a wine that’s on the same wavelength as the occasionally hoppy, malt-forward Amber/Red Ale. In making the correlation, our minds went right to Sherry, more specifically, Amontillado Sherry, for its nuttiness, richness, and fine oxidized flavors. Just make sure you pour yourself a smaller glass with that elevated ABV!


Brown Ale

  • Example: Samuel Smith’s Brown Ale
  • Typical Flavors: earth, dark fruit, caramel, biscuit, dark spice
  • Wine to Try: Teroldego

Big on the browns? We’re going to give you an hip variety to consider: Teroldego. This Northern Italian red grape is known for making dark, bitter, and balanced wines with earthy and flowery backbones. As it’s known for being somewhat astringent, it’s not the smoothest of parallels to brown ale, but we’re banking that like us, you’re all about those earthy flavors.


Bock

  • Example: Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock
  • Typical Flavors: plum, crystallized fruit, molasses
  • Wine to Try: Malbec

This thicker-than-your-average lager begs for a bolder wine. Plummy, dark, and full-bodied, you’ll have no problem swapping one out for a smooth Argentine Malbec.


Pale Ale

Get the clean and grassy flavors you crave with Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Loire Valley, and Chile. Trust us, it’s like taking in a freshly mowed lawn. If there’s a wine that is certain to turn you from a budding hop head to a serious white wine enthusiast, this just might be it…

Pro-Tip: If you’ve already experienced the unreal Pale Ale-Sauvignon Blanc connection, make the leap to lean Vermentino from Sardinia or springy Soave Classico.


India Pale Ale

Hopheads and New England-style obsessives, please bring your attention to Grüner Veltliner. This Austrian variety is known for producing dry, acidic, citrus-driven wines that have been known to make IPA drinkers say, “Whoa.” Careful, one sip and you may never go back to drinking beer again…

Pro-Tip: If Grüner is just a little too hard to find, snap up a nice dry Riesling and join us in wondering how anyone can not love this grape.


Dark Beer Wine Alternatives: Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Guinness Stout, North Coast Thelonious Monk, Orkney Skullsplitter, Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Succumb to the Dark Side

Porter

  • Example: Deschutes Black Butte Porter
  • Typical Flavors: coffee, bittersweet chocolate, smoke, black bread
  • Wine to Try: Sagrantino

Bitter, swarthy, palatable…wait, are we describing your modern-day Porter or Sagrantino? However, consider yourself warned: you may find the beer to be a bit of an easier drink. Sagrantino di Montefalco makes for one of the most tannic wines on the planet! Your mouth may not know what hit it.


Stout

Known for gravelly soils and Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant red wines, the Left Bank is where you want to look when switching from stout, specifically the Médoc region. The wines from this section of Bordeaux are known for being bold, concentrated, and filled with complex secondary aromas/flavors (cigar box, leather, tobacco) that will be music to any stout lover’s, uh, mouth.


Dubbel & Belgian Dark Strong Ale

The Dubbel and Belgian Dark Strong Ale can be considerably different beer styles, and normally we wouldn’t loop them together. The problem here is that we found the perfect wine to hit all those delicious dark sugar, plum, and date flavors on the nose: Port. Specifically, Ruby and Late Bottle Vintage styles that are more fruit-forward, affordable, and meant to be enjoyed young.


Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

  • Example: Orkney Skullsplitter
  • Typical Flavors: caramel, malt, peat, tea, heather
  • Wine to Try: Cognac (V.S.)

As Scotch Ales are smooth, malty, and beg to be savored instead of quickly thrown back, we recommend reaching for a younger V.S. (Very Special) Cognac. With notes of caramel, toffee, leather, coconut, and spice notes, Cognac is pretty much guaranteed to be your thing. Get the right glassware, swirl, and enjoy. Maybe even get a mirror to see how cool you look as you drink it.


Winter Warmer / Christmas Ale

  • Example: Great Lakes Christmas Ale
  • Typical Flavors: cinnamon, orange peel, vanilla, cloves
  • Wine to Try: Mulled Wine/Glühwein

Beer drinkers use winter warmers to get through the cold season. Wine drinkers use Glühwein. Why not drink both? If you’re looking to make your own from scratch, go with a full-bodied red wine like Syrah or Malbec.


High ABV Alcohol Beer and wine alternatives: Tripel Karmeliet, Alchemist Heady Topper, North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, Goose Island Bourbon, Trappistes Rochefort 10, Great Divide Old Ruffian

High-ABV Territory

Tripel

Golden, dense, and complex, the singular Tripel is one of our favorite beers here. Gorgeous as it may be, it needs to be consumed with some caution. Much like the Belgian Golden Strong Ale, it looks deceivingly light, but packs enough of an alcoholic punch to cut a night out short. So if you’re craving those sweeter, fruiter flavors and a similar creamy mouthfeel, consider a lower-octane Rosé Sparkling Wine, either domestic or from France’s Cremant stylings.

Pro-Tip: Cost not an issue? Investigate the nuttier, breadier, and oh-so-decadent Vintage Champagne. Yes, it could break your budget. But it will also break your brain (in a good way.)


Double/Imperial India Pale Ale

  • Example: Alchemist Heady Topper
  • Typical Flavors: pine, grapefruit, tree sap, resin, cannabis
  • Wine to Try: Retsina

Grüner Veltliner and Dry Riesling will still do the trick for most IPAs, but if you like them extra dank and sticky, we’re gonna send you in Retsina’s general direction. This Greek wine isn’t for the faint of the heart (even for those who love wine), with its pine, resin, and lime peel flavor profile. But hey, if you love DIPA/IIPAs, we probably had you at “not for the faint of heart!”


Double/Imperial/Russian Stout

  • Example: North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
  • Typical Flavors: strong coffee/espresso, burnt sugar, hearty oats, dried dark fruit
  • Wine to Try: Australian Shiraz

Big, brawny, and known for its aggressive flavor profile, this souped-up stout needs something that’s equally broad-shouldered. Enter Aged Australian Shiraz. Rugged and animalistic, this style of Syrah features flavors of mocha, graphite, savory meat, as well as a high alcohol content thanks to the abundant Down Under sunshine.


Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Stout

  • Example: Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
  • Typical Flavors: bourbon, wood, burnt sugar, vanilla, fudge, char
  • Wine to Try: Sherry (Oloroso)

Expensive to produce and requiring some serious patience to brew, the Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout is often the gem in any beer enthusiast’s cellar. They’re rich, complex, and one of the surest bets to get better with age. For wines, Oloroso, the beautiful mistake of the Sherry business, is a great go-to. Occasionally, the flor (a special yeast used to make Sherry) dies, and then that Sherry is taken into barrels to age. The end result is a deep, dark, and dry fortified wine with parallel wood, fudge, and burnt vanilla notes.


Quadrupel

  • Example: Trappistes Rochefort 10
  • Typical Flavors: raisins, dates, fruitcake, gingerbread, earth, anise
  • Wine to Try: Sherry (Pedro Ximénez)

The brawny, yet delectable Quadrupel may have fit under the “Belgian Dark Strong Ale” umbrella, but we found that in our experiences with Rochefort and Westvleteren, we got something even a little more heavy. After we nailed down flavors of fruitcake, raisins, and even some gingerbread, we thought there was a better fit than Port. Syrupy Pedro Ximénez (a grape, not a person) Sherry won our hearts with its luscious profile of figs, dates, and fireside spices.


Old Ale & Barleywine

  • Example: Great Divide Old Ruffian Barleywine
  • Typical Flavors: alcohol, English toffee, treacle, hard candy, butterscotch
  • Wine to Try: Madeira (Bual)

There’s nothing subtle about Barleywine or even Old Ale, its more sessionable equivalent. There’s often not even an attempt to hide the alcohol and it is absolutely thick with fruity esters, malts (English) and hops (American.) The fortified Portuguese island wine, Madeira, is a great go-to with its flavors roasted nuts, stewed fruit, and toffee. We especially like the sweeter Bual style with its additional salted caramel, golden raisin, and date smells and tastes.


Sour Funky Beers Saison-dupont-Gueuze Tilquin, Lindemans Framboise Lambic, Duchesse de Bourgogne

Sour ‘n’ Funky

Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Ooh, tough call. There can be quite a range in tastes when it comes to Saison, but we’ve got some good options for one of our personal favorite styles of beer. If you like the more peppery style of Saison, consider Rosé of Tempranillo or Syrah. You’ll find these specific styles of rosé more herbaceous and savory, rather than abundantly fruity.

Pro-Tip: If you’re all about the farmhouse funk/brettanomyces in your beer, you might be game for a more untamed natural wine (wine made with minimal human interaction.)


Sour (Gueuze, Gose, & Berlinerweisse)

  • Example: Gueuze Tilquin
  • Typical Flavors: lemon juice, lime peel, grape must, apple cider, salt
  • Wine to Try: Orange Wine

This one is a no-brainer. Orange wine, which is white wine made by keeping the skin and seeds in contact with the juice, is designed for the sour beer lover. It’s acidic, tart, and assertive with atypical aromas and flavors (jackfruit, linseed oil, brazil nuts, sourdough). Sound like any beer you know?


Fruit Lambic

If you enjoy fruit lambic beers (Kriek, Cassis, Framboise), then you should, nay, MUST try Lambrusco. This sparkling red wine comes in a range of dry and off-dry styles, but always with up-front fruit flavors. Depending on the style, you can even find some additional cream, chocolate, and floral notes! Who can resist?

Pro-Tip: Made the Lambic-Lambrusco connection? Dig a Beaujolais Nouveau! (Bojo Nouveau, if you’re nasty.) This ultra-acidic, quickly-made wine features lush, juicy aromas of raspberry, cranberry, candied fruits, banana, and even bubblegum.


Flanders Red Ale & Oud Bruin

  • Example: Duchesse de Bourgogne
  • Typical Flavors: green apple, balsamic vinegar, sour grapes, oxidized fruit
  • Wine to Try: Blanquette de Limoux / Mauzac

With strong vinegar, green apple, and earthy flavors, these two sours can be a bit of a curveball to the uninitiated. Fortunately, the wine we’re recommending is way more accessible, if but a bit overlooked! We submit to you: Blanquette de Limoux, a dry style of sparkling wine from France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region that prominently features the ancient, esoteric Mauzac Blanc variety. Peachy, grassy, and flush with green apple notes, you best be getting to your local wine shop right now.


Weird Beers and Wine Alternatives: Schneider Weisse Tap 6 Unser, Wookey Jack, Black Boss Porter, Dogfish Head Sah’Tea, Marooned on Hog Island, Rauchbier,

Let’s Get a Little Weird

Weizenbock

  • Example: Schneider Weisse Tap 6 Unser Aventinus
  • Typical Flavors: vanilla, clove, malt, nutmeg, cinnamon
  • Wine to Try: Vin Santo

Fans of this malty, ester-apparent, bock-strength Dunkelweizen should seek out Vin Santo, an intriguing Italian dessert wine known for its vanilla, caramel, honey hazelnut, and dried apricot flavors. Like Weizenbock, it’s a wondrous balance of deliciousness and intensity that will stick to the side of your glass. Drink up.


Cascadian Dark Ale / Black IPA

  • Example: Firestone Walker Wookey Jack
  • Typical Flavors: coffee grounds, lime peel, tree resin, roasted grain
  • Wine to Try: Carménère

Already a beautiful blend of the fruity, sweet, and bitter, this dark-grained IPA is a little more smoky and complex. (Best description? Like a lime squeezed into a cup of coffee. Yum.) Savory, herbaceous, and equally fruity South American Carménère might be just what you’re looking for.


Baltic Porter

Originally designed to withstand colder climates and conditions, these lagers (yes, they’re bottom-fermenting!) have all the body, alcohol, and flavors you’ve come to expect from heavier stouts — with a little something extra. Something so hearty, so brooding needs a wine to match. That’s why our hive mind went to Aglianico, a full-bodied, high-tannin red wine with notes of smoke, game, and spiced fruit. Aglianico del Taburno and Aglianico del Vulture make for great, affordable gateway wines.

Pro-Tip: While we doubt we can convince anyone to switch out their Baltic Porter (~$8) for the rich and heady Amarone della Valpolicella ($50+) of lore, if you’ve got the money, go for it.


Sahti

  • Example: Dogfish Head Sah’Tea
  • Typical Flavors: juniper, resin, peppercorn, cardamon, twigs
  • Wine to Try: Vermouth

Boasting an aromatic head and broad-shouldered body, this primitive Finnish beer is a unique treat. We’re going to assume if you’re crazy about Sahti, you’re probably crazy about its signature juniper character. That calls for Vermouth. Open and shut case.


Oyster Stout

  • Example: 21st Amendment Marooned on Hog Island
  • Typical Flavors: mollusk, brine, sea salt, dark grain
  • Wine to Try: Muscadet

Dry stouts make for a hell of a pairing with shellfish. They also make for a hell of a pairing in the beer itself, giving a briny and saline character to a dark, easy-drinking brew. Recommending a light, refreshing white wine like Muscadet feels like a far cry from a black ale—that is until you realize it too is dry, saline, and goes great with the treasures of the sea.


Rauchbier

There’s a lot of drinks that could be described as smoky, but few are as in your face about it as a Rauchbier. It’s not just smoky, either. It’s also spicy, savory, and meaty with some people even noting a bacon flavor! The smoke and leather of an aged Rioja sounds like an excellent substitute, but you’d also do well with an Old World Syrah and its earth and bacon-fat characteristics.


Last word: Did we miss your favorite style of beer? Looking for a wine to pair with it? Let us know in the comments and we’ll try to work our recommendation magic!

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