Arrivo Nebbiolo 2006

Arrivo Nebbiolo 2006

The facts

Adelaide Hills Nebbiolo from Arrivo
Purchased at auction, not readily available
Closure: screwcap
Alcohol: 14.5% abv

The waffle

I’ve been in love with Arrivo Nebbiolos since first tasting them at a wine tasting shortly after we returned to Australia. Nebbiolo can be challenging to drink (all those tannins!) and to make. It’s rarely cheap.

The wine

(Tasting note written on the second day)

Pale and garnet-brown in the glass. Think washed out red-brown bricks.

The nose is not particularly pronounced and there is very little in the way of fresh fruit (there’s a surprise). Rather, things are all about fresh and dried tobacco. It’s very savoury – there’s some cedar too – but there is a touch of dried rose petals too.

The palate is also savoury and the tannins have softened to being pleasantly chewy. Acidity is good and the wine has decent length although there’s not a lot in the way of development.

I’m really conflicted by this wine. I’ve been lucky enough to try various vintages of both this and its serious older sibling, the Lunga Macerazione, in the past and unreservedly loved them. Halliday, on tasting this wine in 2014, raved about it and put a ‘drink by 2020’ on it. And I got this out of the cellar to celebrate a special occasion. And yet … I’m not in love. In my mind, did I big it up way too much? Undoubtedly. Having bought at auction I can’t be 100% confident that it’s spent its life stored perfectly. And not having had the luxury of tasting the same vintage year in year out, I can’t be sure that it’s not just hit a bit of a flat spot.

Will this stop me buying these wines? God no. Next time, I’ll ensure I come to the wine with no preconceptions and no expectations and I’ll probably be blown away!

Serafino 2007 Nebbiolo


We have some friends who married in early June and somehow we’ve managed to spend a good many of their anniversaries with them. Even though we all met in England, they married in the US and have since lived in the UK, Bermuda and now Sydney. One such anniversary was 2010 when they spent a few days in Adelaide. Our Entertainment Book paid for itself in one fell swoop that year!

One day that weekend we headed down to McLaren Vale, visited a few wineries, bought a few wines and found it next to impossible to buy lunch at 3pm. One wine we picked up was the Serafino 2007 Nebbiolo.

I could tell you all about Nebbiolo but I won’t because that kind of clinical wine geekery belongs in a review when there’s no back story bar “I bought a bottle of wine”. I’m sure it is an established scientific fact* that visiting a cellar door slightly bends our perception of the wines, but hopefully, after three and a bit years, I can bring some objectivity to the glass.

In the glass, the wine is garnet and brick in colour, but this illusion of age is not backed up by a nose surprisingly dominant in fresh red berry fruit, which also shows tar, licorice, spiciness, wet bitumen and some perfumed, floral characters like lavender.

The fresh fruit also shows up on the palate with plenty of pronounced fresh red cherries, even cherry jam. There is a slight savoury kick and some licorice, but the wine is still very bright. There’s good acidity and grippy tannins but they don’t dry out your mouth.

A wine we both very much enjoyed. It’s a shame that Serafino no longer appears to make this wine because I would certainly be tempted to seek out current releases. I can’t remember how much we paid for it, though I know it didn’t fall into the bargain basement category. I should also confess that it’s been stored in what might be described as less than ideal conditions.

And if you need more emotive context – the Serafino cellar door is both impressive and pretty. It sits in large grounds, with a lake, and boasts both a restaurant, function centre and accommodation.

* This may be not be available as peer reviewed research but it’s certainly a well discussed phenomenon.