Rarely do the polarizing forces du jour swirling around wine’s combustible circles, like new world vs. old world, traditional vs. modern, or natural vs. unnatural(?), create radically new standard bearers overnight. Each corner in the world of wine is too steeped in history, nature, method, and skill to be knocked out in a single round. So how is it four boys formed a friendship at the oenological school of Alba and followed their radically experimental vision to produce ***** $75 Erpacrife Nebbiolo; possibly the best sparkling wine ever? Four pals from an Italian wine school situated between Turin and Genoa stealing sparkling headlines? Move over Champagne?
Just because I say Erpacrife Nebbiolo is the best sparkling wine ever, I wouldn’t expect anyone to take me seriously. I didn’t believe Kerri Platt at the Wine Bottega six months back when she told me it was the finest bottle of wine she had tasted all year, maybe ever. Or when a few months later Matteo suggested I add it to a blind top Grower Champagne tasting he was helping me organize, betting it would win unanimously. First of all, I never had sparkling Nebbiolo, and secondly how could it ever compete with those otherworldly luxury rosé Champagnes that are burned into my palate memory? But, I kept running into claims of “one of the best” around the web’s wine discussion boards, and it was finally time to try a bottle that laid around my cellar since Spring.
Following a sake brunch lead by Rich at AKA Bistro, I popped open the bottle to share with our small group of tasters, ready to out-geek them all. But of course, Todd Trzaskos from Vermont Wine Media started smiling and knew all about the wine. He started to share the story of how the name of the wine is a combination of the first syllables in each of the four friends’ names, how they experimented with varieties until they got it right with nebbiolo, their work with Muscat, how it gets into the country, and how the wine is one of the finest wines he has tasted. But alas, the wine was finally in my glass.
The color was beautiful pink/red, almost dark. Actually, it looked like nebbiolo. Very classy. Perfect bubbles, strawberry fruit, mushrooms and truffles on the nose…a whispy spumante filled with nebbiolo weight and character went from entry through finish like a legend. Equally serious, delicious, unique, and complete this wine can easily compete with any Champagne for excitement points, without violating important style elements. The wine is made in classic Champagne method, aged in the bottle for three years, with no interference at time of disgorgement to protect the aging wine’s integrity.
Whatever these guys are doing at Erpacrife, this is a wine you need to try. I can easily say it is one of the Best Sparkling Wines I ever tasted. A new sparkling rosé standard bearer overnight.