Piccione Vineyards: A Vertical Journey of Nero

If you have ever been to Piccione Vineyards in the heart of North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley, then you’ve probably tasted its Nero red wine. It’s one of the winery’s signature grapes that not many other wineries are producing – and it’s a grape that has a very distinct taste. It’s one of our favorites among the line up of wines that include varietals such as Montepulciano, Sangiovese and Pinot Grigio.

So when we came up with the idea of doing a vertical of Piccione’s 2013-2015 Nero, tasting room manager Hailey Klepcyk was all in. And it took some time for all of our schedules to align, but when they did, we were able to sit down with Klepcyk as well as Piccione’s owner, Bill Piccione, and wine maker, Stephen Rigby. And as an added bonus, Rigby brought barrel samples of Nero’s 2016 and 2017 that won’t be released until later. In this blog we happened to video our entire tasting and have included snippets below of our conversation.


While drinking the 2013 Nero, the first word out of Piccione’s mouth was the best way to describe this wine … Spice! This year, 2013, was the first vintage of the Nero here at Piccione, and if you weren’t lucky enough to hold onto a bottle, like we did, you’ll be sad to know this vintage is no longer in production. Rigby talks about the acidity of the wine and on how the wine has held up in time.


One of the first things we noticed between the 2013 and the 2014 was the color of the wine. The 2013 was tawny in appearance, while the 2014 was a riper purple color. Rigby talks about how age difference can alter the color of wines, such as the Nero. “The vines are a year older and the wines a year younger,” says Piccione.


The 2015 Nero is the current production available in the tasting room. Still holding to form with mild spice and black pepper to the taste with a slight buttery finish. We chat about the use of different types of oak barrels used at Piccione Vineyards. Rigby mentions the use of oak barrels these days is like a chef deciding on which spice to use in a dish.


We now move onto the special treats. This 2016 was removed from the barrel a couple hours before our video. As Rigby states, “We are trying the raw stuff.” And boy were we all impressed. Be on the look out when this wine is available.


We all know that here in North Carolina, 2017 was a pretty good year for producing wine. And this wine, as young as it currently is, was no exception to great taste. All five of us can’t wait for this to be bottled and released. This will be another stellar wine, and thankful we were able to try this straight from the barrel.

We like the wine so much that when the winery gave guests an opportunity to help plant a new section of Nero in its vineyard, we were there to help out. We now have a Triangle Around Town vine growing in the vineyard that we’ll visit each year on its birthday to see how she’s doing. And hope that 5 years down the road she’ll be helping to produce some great wine.

Our final thoughts are that this was a lot of fun. We mentioned doing other verticals in the future with other varietals – and hopefully with other wineries. Hint. Hint. We want to thank Rigby, Piccione and Klepcyk for spending an hour with us to try all of these wines side-by-side and experience how age and years can change how wines tastes.