By the mid-90s it really crystallised in my mind that this Nebbiolo I was so taken with was way more than a passing craze for others too. Thinking that as much as people might love their Rieslings, Chardonnays, Shiraz and Cabs etc etc, they don’t actually form little sects – lunch clubs and the like – to sit around and compare and argue about line ups of them; or not quite in the way they do about Pinot Noir. It was clear that the only other grape to have this affect on wine nuts was Nebbiolo. Hence Club Nebb, formed in 1998, with a membership drawn from the thin-ish ranks of Nebb afficianados, mostly wine trade types, enlightened wine scribes and a few winemakers. Inaugural Patrons were co-opted, firstly from Australia, Prof. John Stocker amateur Nebb grower and then head of CSIRO. Our international Patron Angelo Gaja, agreed on the proviso that he “…didn’t have to do too much…” I, in turn, advised Ange this would be a good career move for him. In addition to the sheer brilliance of the grape itself, we had that added inspiration of Piedmont, the heartland of Nebbiolo. Eating and drinking well above the average is the makings of a good core proposition for such association, yes?

To say club nebb activity is sporadic, might be overstating things. But the heartbeat, the passion and fascination for sharing Nebbiolo is there, and every now and then we get organised and hold a function. Some of them, like Mercato/La Cantina’s grand events at the National Wine Centre or Mt Lofty House are biggies, or we just meet at a Nebb grower’s place, maybe in the Adelaide Hills, Yarra or Beechworth, or at a restaurant or in a wine shops’ tasting room in various cities around Oz, and taste a heap of wines and a bit of (usually) Piemonte-themed food. As is usually the nature of such orgs, it falls to a few to actually do things. That’d usually be me. Now with a renewed purpose and actually posting this and inviting expressions of interest in a) joining Club Nebb and b) if you already regard yourself as a ‘paid-up member’ (in fact, there are no subs), should provide impetus for a few events around Australia as we emerge from the plague. So register your interest and let’s bring Club Nebb to life in a space near you!