Nebbiolo is with no doubts one of the most renowned Italian historical grape varieties. Its earlier quotation dates to 1266 (the date has been established with certainty only recently by J. Vouillamoz), making Nebbiolo one of the varieties attested by more time. In Piedmont only Gragnolato (a white grape variety perhaps now disappeared) boasts the oldest citations. The "Nibiol" mentioned in the thirteenth century historical document was present in the vineyards belonging to the Rivoli castle, near Turin. A few decades later (at the beginning of the fourteenth century) its spread was already quite broad: from Alba and from Roero to Asti’s surroundings (De Crescentiis, 1309); from the Val d'Ossola (present with the synonym of Prunent), to the current province of Turin (Comba and Dal Verme, 1990), always keeping a presence well documented almost everywhere. According to D. Zoia, the estimated first reference in Valtellina (province of Sondrio) goes back to the 1500: is this a well known area for Nebbiolo’s alpine culture.
Such frequent occurrence in relatively ancient historical texts indicates Nebbiolo was considered a variety of high value, because only noble grape varieties deserved a name in written texts. Furthermore, it also indicates Nebbiolo’s expansion in north-western Italy was significant in the past. There aren’t other references to Nebbiolo in other Italian regions nor in foreign wine-growing areas, if not somewhat sporadic and always starting from the nineteenth century.
It 's only starting from the nineteenth century that Nebbiolo succeeded with the style of still and austere wine with which came out to the top today, replacing a Nebbiolo sweet and sparkling in vogue earlier. In territories of Northern Piedmont, Nebbiolo is the ingredient of the wines from Lessona, Ghemme and Gattinara, whose fame dates back from few centuries ago. In his monograph of Nebbiolo, Giorgio Gallesio (1817-39) indicated the variety as "Nebbiolo canavesano" (i.e. ‘Nebbiolo from Canavese’, a region in northern Piedmont), defining it as “the principal grape from the foot-Alps" to emphasize the special vocation to its culture of the territories in the north side of the Po river.