Wine days out have become mainstays on the food and wine calendar and the upcoming
Cin Cin Nebbiolo in the Adelaide Hills will transport wine lovers to northern Italy with the
celebration of the notoriously fickle Italian grape and other Italian delicacies.
Nebbiolo hails from the Piedmont region in northern Italy and the red grape is used for Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero wines. With the upcoming Cin Cin Nebbiolo, Mercato’s Chris Sarandis wants to showcase the Italian and Australian versions of Italy’s famous grape and transport people to northern Italy via 100 wines showcasing the breadth of Nebbiolo in the rolling hills surrounding Mount Lofty House, which resemble northern Italy.
“We were looking for a venue that would set the scene for Nebbiolo in Australia and also reflect how it is grown in Italy as well,” Sarandis says. “David Ridge [Italian wine expert] and I had a scout of a few venues. When we went to Mount Lofty House, we were taken aback how well it reminded him of the hills in Piedmont. When you look back from the terraces you can see the rolling hills and the vineyards and you really feel like you’ve been transported to Italy.”
Sarandis is the general manager of Mercato’s wine section, La Cantina, which specialises in importing Italian wine, especially from family and boutique producers. He believes the Adelaide Hills, with its similar climate, is the home of Italian varieties in Australia.
“Longview has one of the longest running Nebbiolo vineyards in the country and they’re trying to champion the fruit as well. It just seems to make sense that the fruit grown in the Adelaide Hills region does reflect partly what Piedmont is all about too, but, of course, the Australian producers are going to make their own style.”
Like Pinot Noir and Sangiovese, Nebbiolo is a finicky grape that is hard to grow and maintain.
“We’re quite blessed in Australia to have the climate that we do to achieve ripe fruit and good expression of where it’s grown. It is grown all over the world but will take on the characteristics of the land where it’s grown. It’s not like Shiraz or Cabernet where you can find similar characteristics found throughout the world. These varieties really adapt to the environment. Nebbiolo grown in Australia will never be exactly how it’s grown in Italy and that is something we should certainly celebrate, the individualism of the grape.”
The event will see more than 30 producers showcase Australian and Italian versions of Nebbiolo alongside masterclasses, live crosses to Piedmont and Italian food delicacies.
Why host an all-afternoon event that just concentrates on Nebbiolo?
“Nebbiolo is a unique variety,” Sarandis says. “At Mercato we want to celebrate all things Italian and maybe it’s just our personal taste, it’s what we love drinking the most. We wanted to choose an event that was unique and hadn’t been done before. For us, we love drinking Nebbiolo and we want to share that pleasure with everyone else.”
The upcoming Cin Cin Nebbiolo is a catalyst for similar events from Mercato to celebrate the regions and gastronomic delights of Italy.
“Cin Cin Nebbiolo stands for ‘cheers to Nebbiolo’. We want to celebrate the different varieties and different regions throughout Italy. It’s the springboard for Mercato hosting events to celebrate Italian culture and life, the sweet life ‘la dolce vita’.”
Photography: Sia Duff