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Nebbiolo Hillside 2019

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Nebbiolo Hillside 2019
Nebbiolo Hillside 2019
Tasting notes

Winemakers throughout California have tasted the great Barolos and Barbarescos of Northern Italy wondering if the variety could ever grow here. Known for its peculiar growing issues as well as making wines of harsh tannins, high acidity and light color, most wineries have steered clear of Nebbiolo. 

However, our family's high-elevation vineyards provided us an opportunity in 1997 to plant Nebbiolo in two locations that provided a cool climate and rich soil conditions-something not yet tried in California. The result has been to produce a wine with good color and a palate with rich texture and an identifiable strawberry/plum fruit. 

AppellationEl Dorado
VineyardEstate Vineyards
Volume750 ml
Bottling Date03/29/2021
Cases Produced227

In 1997, we had the opportunity to try something new. We had noted that Nebbiolo from California seemed to lack the wonderful complexity and aspects of great Barolos and Barbarescos, and perhaps the climate at 3,000 feet here in Pleasant Valley would produce a spectacular wine. With two small plantings (1 acre each) in the Sumu Kaw and Enye Vineyards grafted on to the devigorating rootstock 101-14, the deep aiken clay loam provides plenty of leaf area for this variety. Diligent leaf removal on the north side of the vines gives us grapes with ripe cherry and hints of spice. The one challenge is (and always has been) the aggressive tannins in the fruit. This makes Nebbiolo the most educational and experimental variety in our vineyards.

Paul Bush, Owner/Winemaker

Madroña Vineyards

Camino, California. 


We are a family-owned and operated winery focusing on terroir-driven, Estate-Grown fruit.

Annual Case Production:  12,000 cases

Planted Acres:  70 acres planted at the 2,850 to 3,000 foot elevation.

Career Background:  Having helped plant the family vineyards as a kid in 1973, I grew up working in our winery what seemed like every day after school. I had no intention of “winding up” in the wine industry and graduated from U.C. Davis in 1989 with a degree in Economics. However, with an interest in traveling abroad, our winery offered a flexible schedule and an opportunity to work with inspiring winemakers such as Mark Foster and Hugh Chappelle. I began managing the vineyards and business in 1991 and making the wines in late 2002.

Biggest Professional Challenge: Balance! Working with my wife, Maggie, we find our greatest challenge is how to be business owners with all of its responsibilities while making the wines, growing the grapes, marketing the brand and raising two daughters. Any given day can be filled with dusting the vineyards at daybreak, acid trials before lunch, working in the tasting room in the afternoon—and then throw in a swim meet or school play for spice.  Undoubtedly, every small, family winery tackles the same aspect of wearing so many hats, but the challenge and excitement is unique to each one.

Varietals that Madroña is Known for:  In total, we grow 27 varieties in our El Dorado vineyards. From within these plantings, however, I believe that Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Riesling and the seven Portuguese varieties (for our New-World Port) are consistently outstanding.

Short Testimonial: I truly can’t imagine doing anything else but growing grapes and enjoying  wine. I believe the terroir of our region is unique with overall cool-climate aspects, peppered with warm summer days and a slightly shorter growing season. So finding the true expression of each variety for our vineyards ends up being an exciting and challenging adventure every vintage. The wines have more backbone and structure than most regions of California while showcasing the intense varietal character of mountain fruit. Most often, I find that the wine knows best in how it should be “made,” and I’m just along for the ride. As we once heard in France, “One does not make wine. One elaborates wine!” And with our Estate-grown grapes, I am quite content to be the “elaborator.”

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