When I think of what it must have been to drink as a Roman I romantically think of Nebbiolo (sadly for the Romans, however, their wine was rather poor quality and often mixed with herbs, honey, and flowers for some old-school quality-masking sangria). Nebbiolo (pronounced nebby-oh-low) screams “I’m Italian” out of glass, a wine that needs friends and food to be fully enjoyed. The indicative examples from Barolo (more money and the best bottles are marketed toward Bill Gates, Queen of England, Bono….) and Barbaresco (less money) show high levels of tannin and acid with notes of cherry, leather, roses, and anise (think licorice) on the nose. If bargain hunting check out Gattinara, Ghemme, Nebbiolo d’Alba and Langhe, they usually aren’t 100% Nebbiolo but offer an approachable place to start with the varietal. This is a food wine to be sure and pairs wonderfully with classic Italian dishes that have a backbone of fat to them, such as gnocchi, braised oxtail, ribeye, sausages, and prosciutto (if the mood calls for wine and a snack before the main meal).