Nebbiolo Prima Previews: Barolo DOCG 2019, Barolo Riserva DOCG 2017 and Retrospectives

Nebbiolo in Alba, Piemonte

What makes Barolo so special? We know of its great aging potential but how do we taste at an anteprima and decisively determine which will go the distance, while forecasting that others will presumably fail? What are the rules of qualification with so many intangibles involved? Well it begins, as it must, with location. The Langhe, plural form of Langa, a Piedmontese way of saying “a long and low-lying hill.” Reference to an area that lies to the south and east of the Tanaro River in the provinces of Cuneo and Asti. All of the Barolo growing area can described in a knowable and specific way, even if the morphology changes from north to south and west to east. Drawing a diagonal line from the northeast down to the southwest can define the two soil epochs of Barolo; from between Roddi and Grinzane through Castiglione Falletto down through Barolo and to Novello. This line will separate the epochs of soil, the Tortonian from the Serravallian, both of which were formed millions of years ago. The Barolo on either side will not be the same, that much we know to be true, but make no mistake. All nebbiolo raised and produced as Barolo need time in the bottle.

Nebbiolo Prima 2023

Related – Barolo DOCG previews and retrospectives: 2016, Riserva 2014, 2006 and Riserva 2004

Try not to discriminate too much between the T and the S, the west and the east. They are all sisters and brothers, kin cut from similar cloth, of shared DNA and are always family. The western Tortonian soils of La Morra and Barolo may be less compact, more fertile and their Barolo needing less time to shed astringencies caused by formidable tannin. As a general rule Serralunga d’Alba, Monforte and Castiglione Falletto might hold more Serravallian cards with terroir that is dense and compressed, causing more structure, higher alcohol and body. In the end Barolo is Barolo. Concentrate more on the subtleties of the classified cru, not to choose the excellence of one over another but to seek understanding in the adjunctive mentions and the wines associated with each locality. Associated to each cru are the producers, of varying pedigrees and successes – here is where we the pursuers uncover the truth and heart of the Barolo matter.

Godello with the Sommeliers of Nebbiolo Prima 2023

Blind tasting adds a whole other dimension, but wines do not lie. Don’t we just feel it – when greatness is in the glass? Taste one, or several hundred examples over the course of just a few days – the learning curve is the same. There is certainty in knowing what it is to be a well-structured nebbiolo. The eponymous Barolo village lends its name though there are eleven (and their environs) that can make nebbiolo carrying the name: The others are La Morra, Monforte, Serralunga d’Alba, Castiglione Falletto, Novello, Grinzane Cavour, Verduno, Diano d’Alba, Cherasco and Roddi. These villages and their surrounding kingdoms play collective host to the profoundness of a grape married to place – forever bound, unfettered, undeterred and unbreakable. Nebbiolo and in turn Barolo are encapsulated by the soils, hills, winds and genius loci of the Langhe. Barolo owns the title of “Grand Italian Wine” and for good reason.

Related – Barbaresco DOCG previews and retrospectives: 2017, Riserva 2015, 2007 and 2005

Barolo’s official DOC recognition happened in 1966 and in 1980 the DOCG followed. With each passing vintage the most common talking points and focus of both journalist and sommelier investigations has become individual vineyard names, a.k.a. sorì, cru or Menzione Geografica Aggiuntiva (MGA).  There are more than 100 officially recognized MGAs in Barolo. At the most recent Nebbiolo Prima 40 journalists from around the world tasted hundreds of Barolo, primarily by way of a sommelier-poured, blind-tasting setting. As it pertains to those daily sessions, the tastings were organized first by village and then cru from each of the 11 villages home to their own famous holdings. Launched in 1996 and in 2010 re-baptized as Nebbiolo Prima, this is the international preview of the new releases of Barolo, Barbaresco, and Roero.

One of Alba’s most traditional antipasti and must supper at feeding holes is Ristorante Lalibera ~ Carne crudo along with six top Langhe producers and life was Grande!

In La Morra the MGAs include Arborina, Boiolo, Bricco Luciani, Brunate, Capalot, Casa Nere, Castagni, Cerequio, Gattera, Gianchi, La Serra, Marcenasco, Rocche dell’Annunziata, San Giacomo, Serradenari, Silio and Torriglione. Barolo’s are Albarella, Boschetti, Bricco delle Viole, Buon Padre, Cannubi, Castellero, Coste Di Vergne, Fossati, Monrobiolo Di Bussia and Sarmassa. In Castiglione Falletto there are Altenasso, Bricco Boschis, Brunella, Monprivato, Parussi, Pira, Rocche Di Castiglione, Scarrone and Villero. In Serralunga d’Alba the cru include Boscareto, Brea Vigna Ca’ Mia, Briccolina, Broglio, Cerretta, Gabutti, Gianetto, Lazzarito, Marenca, Margheria, Meriame, Ornato, Parafada, Prapò, Sorano and Vignarionda. Monforte d’Alba holds the vineyards of Bricco San Pietro, Bussia, Bussia Dardi Le Rose, Bussia Vigna Fantini, Castelletto, Castelletto Persiera, Castelletto Vigna Pressenda, Ginestra, Vigna Sorì Ginestra, Gramolere, Le Coste Di Monforte, Mosconi, Perno, Pressenda, Rocche Di Castelletto and Treturne. From Novello there are Panerole, Ravera and Sottocastello Di Novello. Verduno holds Monvigliero and San Lorenzo, Roddi is home to Bricco Ambrogio and Raviole is within Grinzane Cavour.

I Tajarin in Alba is a rite of passage. This is the beautiful “40 tuorli” al sugo di salsiccia at Osteria Arco ~ Paired perfectly with Piedmontese wine people and their wines

The 2019 vintage is a special one and though it has been described as “conventional,” were there an argument over its merits, well that might lead people to think someone is having a really bad week. When bright, effusive and fresh nebbiolo are conversely met with the hardened walls of formidable structure – could this be the making of a perfect storm? Pay deep attention to these wines and feel the enormity of passion, intuit some immediate gratification and realize great potential for longevity. These 2019s are Barolo with every bit of necessary stuffing to age, not unlike 2016 and yet so many examples are blessed with a piquancy of beautiful, pure and finessed fruit. Sure it can be a challenge to taste hundreds over a few days period of time but thank goodness these wines are filled with so much fruit. It was a pleasure and indeed a privilege to partake in tasting and assessing this vintage. The 200-plus tasting notes below tell the vintage story, or at least my interpretation of it.

With Ana Schneider

The opportunity to taste so many Barolo and pay visits with dozen of producers was made possible by the organization of Albeisa and the leadership of President Marina Marcarino. The Consorzio Albeisa was founded to promote the wines of the Alba area to the world. Twenty seven years of Nebbiolo Prima has acted as the official international preview for the nebbiolo of Barolo, Barbaresco, and Roero, “with the objective of heightening and promoting the winegrowing heritage of the Langhe and Roero, lands beloved and known throughout the world.” During this January week one of my life’s greatest pleasures was to meet and converse with Anna Schneider from the Instituto per la Protazione Sostenibile delle Piante ~ Schneider presented microvinicazione findings with ancient Piedmontese grape varieties from the Cantina Sperimentale for the Università di Torino, Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Forestali e Alimentari dell’Università degli Studi di Torino and Albeisa Wines. Next order of business is to find funding so that Anna can build a certification program for heritage vineyards in Piemonte in a similar fashion to what Rosa Kruger has done with the Old Vine Project in South Africa. Though some farmers and producers will insist that nebbiolo no longer thrives after 40-plus years there are always exceptions to rules and also differences of opinion. Not to mention other grape varieties that do in fact succeed on their over forty old vines. There is life after 40 and Anna knows this.

Barolo Retrospectives

This 27th edition of Nebbiolo Prima was a special one because it finally brought writers and producers back together in Alba. In 2021 and 2022 there were no anteprime for international guests. Keep in mind that not all producers participate in Nebbiolo Prima, for a myriad of reasons and so consider this report as a relevant snapshot of those that did. Return to these pages at a future time to seek out reporting on the nebbiolo of Barbaresco and Roero. As for Elio Altare, Azelia, Ceretto, Domenico Clerico, Elvio Cogno, Aldo Conterno, Giacomo Conterno, Corino, Gaja, Bruno Giacosa, Elio Grasso, Mascarello, Giuseppe Mascarello, Massolino, Alfredo Prunotto, Rivetto, Luciano Sandrone, Paolo Scavino, Mauro Sebaste, Aldo e Riccardo Seghesio, Mauro Veglio and Roberto Voerzio, here’s to looking forward to having visits with them and their wines. Alas my Barolo notes from Nebbiolo Prima are now transcribed and here for the taking. There are 229 reviews in total; 184 Barolo DOCG 2019, 19 Barolo Riserva DOCG 2017, 14 Barolo DOCG 2009, two Barolo Riserva DOCG 2007 and 10 assorted library wines.

Albeisa Wines

Barolo DOCG 2019

Bricco Maiolica Barolo DOCG Del Commune Di Diano d’Alba Contandin 2019

Immediately recognizable as pure, authentic and honest Barolo. A certain sense of nebbiolo ubiquity but more than that, up and into a realm occupied by some experienced and aging vines, classic fermentation and elévage. A Diano d’Alba concern for respect and a vintage sweetness in fruit meeting high acidity that makes this a perfect Barolo for five to maximum 10 years. Respect. Drink 2024-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

La Carlina Barolo DOCG Castello 2019, Grinzane Cavour

A bit of volatility off the top, high tonality, pitch and voice but also a percentage of overripe fruit in this scattered nebbiolo. Tart and crunchy, acids and dried notes in fruit and herbs not quite seeing eye to eye. Some grit here. Drink 2024-2026.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Cascina Cappellano Di Veglio Luigi Barolo DOCG Raviole 2019, Grinzane Cavour

Calm, mature, settled and knowable nebbiolo, a Barolo made with an eye in all directions from a producer that knows many things. At the top of which is the natural world and yet this carries the feels of an example that is equally estate as it is place. I’ve a mind to believe the other wines made here are very similar is style, stature and disposition. Acids and tannins both run high and in charge. Drink 2024-2028. Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Agricola Fratelli Broccardo SSA Barolo DOCG I Tre Pais 2019, Più comuni

In the ways of bright, airy, high and mighty nebbiolo comes this Barolo of no particular mention of a few communes gathered together and set into ubiquitous stone. Tart, salty, thin-skinned, lightly pressed and minty cool. A savoury and saline example for food only in the early days of its tenure. Acids trump tannins at every step. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Abbona Di Abbona Marziano e C. Barolo DOCG 2019, Più comuni

A nebbiolo of weight that resides down below, bracketed at the lower rungs of the overall ladder, fruit mature and maximized where ripenesses gather. Fulsome and brooding, acids also running amok, keeping the beat though fruit lays low. No rise or tempo changes on the horizon. Drink 2024-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Grimaldi Bruna Barolo DOCG Camilla 2019, Più comuni

Fine if middle road taken Barolo, surely knowable as well kept and properly raised nebbiolo, yet something so simple. A good weight and classic temperament no doubt, heady aromas of roses and tar, structural aspects in synch, a gathering of fruit here and there layered with purpose, by intention, for right and just reason. Architectural and respectful nebbiolo. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Cordara Ornella Barolo DOCG Debutto 2019, Più comuni

A combination seen, nosed and tasted many times before, that being high acid intensity and mature fruit. A factor of muscle memory, of creating Barolo from nebbiolo without allowing for change. That said this is a very youthful wine and time will be kind because the large wood aging will slow down the fruit and reign in the volatility. As a mature Barolo it will drink with proper tradition. Drink 2025-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Francone Di Francone Fabrizio E C. Barolo DOCG 2019, Più comuni

The immediacy elicits a nod or two in knowing something is correct but also respectful from this nebbiolo. Something traditional but also accepting off technology and change. The fruit is variegated, at once mature but then also effusive. The acids are forceful though in two parts and one side is restrained. Overall there is a true Barolo feel that speaks to an amalgamation of good vineyards processed by a forward thinking wine team. Results in high quality done right. Not just correct but proper and promising. Drink 2025-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Marengo Mauro Barolo DOCG Angela 2019, Più comuni

Volatile off the charts and dried fruit. Hard acid and tannins dry out like roses in a hot desert wind.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Parusso Armando Di Parusso F.Lli Barolo DOCG Perarmando 2019, Più comuni

Definite Ribena and tart red fruit straight away. Dextromethorphan stirred into sauvage. Chorizo too. Drink 2024-2025.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Pio Cesare Barolo DOCG Pio 2019, Più comuni

Closed aromatics, needs air and agitation, not reductive but unrelenting. Roses come first, brushy herbs next, rosemary mainly and then the fennel. Quite a taut, arid and grippy nebbiolo, traditional to be very sure and needing years to resolve. Will always be rustic and loyal to years of repetition. In this instance that is perfectly great. Drink 2026-2032.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Sarotto Barolo DOCG Briccobergera 2019, Più comuni

Brighter and more of a hello take a look at what I’ve got to show nebbiolo with an aroma like rose petals swimming in rosewater. Some volatile grip behind the pretty secrets yet the two seem to be working in cahoots so keep on going. Palate takes the appropriate next step and wells with a pool of red fruit, submerged cap macerated for what feels like a few weeks or possibly more. Creates texture with some creaminess and though wood lends a few extra drops of vanilla there is an overall feel of integration and a gift-wrapped result. Drink 2025-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Spirito Agricolo Ballarin Barolo DOCG Tre Ciabot 2019, Più comuni

Off-putting if auspicious start with an aromatic wave of greens and reds, ripenesses mixed and volatile compounds circling. Hard and brittle tannins will never abate. The wine is what it is.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Diego Morra Barolo DOCG Zinzasco 2019, Più comuni

Zinzasco translates as “gypsy” and is actually a Barolo named for the trails that link the family’s holdings both in Verduno and La Morra. A mix of vineyards from the two communes provides the fruit that sees a 25 day soak followed by 24 months in a mix of grandi botti and tonneaux. All about aromatics, high and mighty ones with a wave of florals, by lilies and lilacs. Fine and of a presence that’s just accessible enough in terms of nebbiolo and Barolo. Feels like a restaurant list bottling, classic and affordable. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted January 2023

Vigneti Luigi Oddero E Figli Barolo DOCG 2019, Più comuni

Reticence but lights are on ahead. Extremely youthful with sharp acids and biting tannin. Needs so much time but there is fine lightning fruit waiting to flesh and release. Still this will always be a nebbiolo of excitability, unchecked and unkempt aggression. Drink 2026-2032.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Vite Colte Barolo DOCG Paesi Tuoi 2019, Più comuni

Dark and brooding fruit with firm and grippy structural comports. The tannins are admittedly a bit gritty and the overall feel here is a seriously grippy wine though one can’t help but feel that time will bring about both resolution and ruggedly handsome features. Muscular yet in control if just a bit gangly and unkempt in youth. Drink 2026-2032.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Bruna Grimaldi Barolo DOCG Bricco Ambrogio 2019, Roddi

Fruit ripeness and maturity noted off the top in aromas that recall liquorice, dried roses and braised fennel. Aromatic but an evolved sensation translating directly onto a palate that delivers more of the same. The parts that prop and lift are solid and do much the same work. So yes everything is on the same page for a nebbiolo as Barolo from the slope that is Bricco Ambrogio in Roddi that will drink just like this for three to four years. Catch it in this early-ish window. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Lodali Walter Barolo DOCG Bricco Ambrogio 2019, Roddi

High tonality juxtaposed against a backdrop of maturity puts this right into the pool occupied by Barolo for drinking young and a must with food. Then again there are some gangly and gurgling tannins that need resolution so the best bet would be to wait two years and drink for two-plus more after that. Drink 2025-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023


Bel Colle Barolo DOCG Monvigliero 2019

Youthful and as a consequence quite reserved on the nose. Nothing musty though not forthright neither so time and fortitude are required to eek, coax and pull out the charm. That Monvigliero speciality awaits with a current scrape of orange zest and some other red citrus that teases and indicates what is likely to come next. That would be flesh that hangs on solid if nimble bones from a cru that gifts, given time is granted. That is a must because today’s quiet will beget tomorrow’s happiness. Drink 2025-2033.  Tasted March 2023

Bosio Family Estates Barolo DOCG Monvigliero 2019

Hard not to see, nose, taste and assess this as classically Verduno with layered if compact assets to speak of Monvigliero with kindness. A skilled winemaking joint between mature fruit and solid architectural bones for Barolo of near immediacy. A year or two will bring everything together but this is not a nebbiolo in need of resilience or renaissance. It will always impress and do so for a very long time. Crunchy then chewy. This is the shit for the cru. Drink 2025-2034.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Castello Di Verduno Barolo DOCG Monvigliero 2019

Certainly tows the Monvigliero in Verduno line with classic ripeness meeting winemaking restraint, though this does seem to tip in the direction of the over, not the under. That is to say there is some mature fruit. Notes that inch into the leathery and the drying. As such the chasm widens and the volatility stands out but the combination of reserve and grip will see some genuine improvement over time. Drink 2025-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Morra Diego Barolo DOCG Monvigliero 2019

Higher and brighter for Verduno Monvigliero with lighting strikes from out of the acid skies and fruit strung really tight. A serious wine that does not smile and likely will not for years to come. Not an ideal balance now – yet still there is great hope because of place within place. Qualified Barolo in any case and will have its moment in the sun. Drink 2025-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Alessandria Fratelli Barolo DOCG Monvigliero 2019

Classically formulated, iterated and capitulated Monvigliero out of the commune of Verduno. The fruit has found optimum fruition and so the phenolic gain is both positive and proper. Matched well are the bones by extension from karst that sets the tone for grip while the seasoning is so very saline-mineral and white pepper. Beautiful Barolo in so many respects and yes, Monvigliero is a really fine cru leading to many fine wines. There is more gravity to this tannic situation out of which a firm handshake guarantees a deal struck to satisfy our wishes. This is tops and will drink with distinction for years to come. Drink 2025-2036.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Burlotto Comm.G.B. Barolo DOCG Acclivi 2019

Ubiquitous Verduno here in nebbiolo, a step up from Langhe to be sure but surely the base kind of wine for Barolo. Hopefully some young Monvigliero fruit and perhaps just a precursor to the possibilities of these Verduno vines becoming grander and grander over time. In drink now terms this is very good nebbiolo in fact if I were sitting down with a plate of Tajarin tonight I’d happily have a glass. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Diego Morra Barolo DOCG San Lorenzo Di Verduno 2019

Not sure if San Lorenzo di Verduno elicits this sort of response to nebbiolo but the lift and anti-gravitas in this example sure sets it apart form Monvigliero. Quite tart and full of tang, tannins a bit gritty and angular. Needs two years and the wood has to melt, especially the high vanillin factor that stands out right now. Drink 2025-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Pelassa Daniele Barolo DOCG San Lorenzo Di Verduno 2019

A much more accomplished and finer iteration of San Lorenzo di Verduno to be sure, with a better connection between ripenesses and the way they stack but also layer. Tones run a just a bit high but the brightness and juicy fruit is well managed, and also appreciated. Drink 2024-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

La Morra

Cascina Del Monastero Barolo DOCG Annunziata 2019

Quite mature in terms of fruit with a red berry to mandarin orange positioning and yet the structural parts are gritty-chalky, less experienced and not quite in synch. Remembering how young and precocious a wine like this can be is important because what notes ring out today will surely change, perhaps not tomorrow but a day or two later. Keep the possibilities in mind and imagine what might be. Drink 2025-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Curto Marco Barolo DOCG Arborina La Foia 2019

Welcome to the first of La Morra with Arborina and its deep inhalant aromatic depth like few other Barolo. The cru-commune relationship depicts very serious nebbiolo that does not so much brood as it does weigh down with gravity, especially with the site specific La Foia. That said there is an orange zest and pomegranate feeling from this fruit to juxtapose and lift so that the weight of structure will not keep this Barolo down. This is certainly a style and one appreciated by many with its subtle swarthiness and pushing limits of what is pure in the arena of clarity. There is no denying the honesty and interpretation of soil. That is abundantly clear. Drink 2025-2033.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Curto Marco Barolo DOCG Arborina 2019

No two Barolo are the same, not even when raised and nurtured from the same cru, though there must be some similarities involved. La Foia and more general Arborina does in fact deliver the juxtaposition of density and lift and so when opposites attract there is great success. This achieves said goal by combining great ripeness with swarthy lift and does so with beauty more than brawn. Hard not to be wooed by a wine that acts this natural and in a way that says it could be nothing else. The thread runs through and the concept seems clear. Drink 2025-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Curto Marco Barolo DOCG Arborina 2019

No two Barolo are the same, not even when raised and nurtured from the same cru, though there must be some similarities involved. La Foia and more general Arborina does in fact deliver the juxtaposition of density and lift and so when opposites attract there is great success. This achieves said goal by combining great ripeness with swarthy lift and does so with beauty more than brawn. Hard not to be wooed by a wine that acts this natural and in a way that says it could be nothing else. The thread runs through and the concept seems clear. Drink 2025-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Bovio Gianfranco Di Bovio Alessandra Barolo DOCG Arborina 2019

Same Arbonina flesh and La Morra bones yet here a bit leaner and less weighty. The acidity runs higher and so volatility sets the pace though that gently swarthiness of Arborina is absent from the mix. Fine and grippy Barolo if just a bit too tart and angular to be blessed. Drink 2024-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Camparo Barolo DOCG Boiolo 2019

Here from Boiolo in La Morra the nebbiolo is stretched yet not elastic, linear and pulled as taut as it gets, like skate laces for full stability. No real joy here I’m afraid and while young Barolo is rarely about that ideal there must be great fruit and seamless structure to make it work. This carries just a fraction of both. Drink 2024-2026.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Spirito Agricolo Ballarin Barolo DOCG Bricco Rocca 2019

Bricco Rocca surely gains solar radiation from a fully exposed hillside because this 2019 Barolo exhibits all the ripeness that would have been possible in this vintage. Long, low and slowly capitulated phenolics for an already wise and mature nebbiolo that will drink well for a good number of years. We’re not talking decades but one to be sure. Tannins are a bit rustic but they do the trick and put this in good steading. Drink 2024-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Marengo Mario Di Marengo Marco Barolo DOCG Brunate 2019

Quite closed and after tasting a few dozen 2019 Barolo it’s actually quite surprising that more are not like this Brunate. Or perhaps that is the cru in this vintage (and others) because time is a factor and so much of it will be needed to see a nebbiolo like this find its way. The bones, weight and substance are all there with potential running high, if at the moment desperately dry. Like to see this agin in five years time. Drink 2026-2034.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Sara Cortese, Mauro Molino Wines

Mauro Molino Barolo DOCG 2019

Perhaps because it was such a top quality growing season yet it feels like the classico Barolo was not compromised by all the best fruit being partitioned to the cru Baroli. Three La Morra vineyards make substantial contributions, including Béri and Conca planted in 1982. Molino’s La Morra was unaffected by the September hail that fell on other parts, including Bricco Luciani within the commune. Big French casks were used, of 50 HL for 18 months. As silky smooth as this is also glycerol of texture, fruit naturally sweet, shiny and fortified, likely as much as this cuvée has even shown. Elegant, suave and the sort of tannins that scroll across the palate. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted January 2023

Mauro Molino Barolo DOCG Bricco Luciani 2019

The Bricco Luciani vineyard was in fact struck by the hail of September 5th to result in the necessity of reducing yields. The cru is situated south of the Molino property with a southeast exposure and its important fruit sees a mix of big barrel and also barriques. There were only 4,100 bottles made of this most elegant and perfumed nebbiolo that while some smaller wood brings an element of unresolved early seasoning, well the matters of finesse and haute style are unrelenting in their override. This young Barolo is a wine of two parts but given five to seven years it will transmogrify into something spiritual, with the potential for telling a religious Bricco Luciani story. Drink 2027-2037.  Tasted January 2023

Vietti Barolo DOCG Brunate 2019

Funky off the top with cheese rind and a note of reduction. Big and ripe but needs plenty of air and preferably agitation to realize the charm. Which is in fact the case though truth is the tannins are brutal and will likely never be what we would call unrelenting. Fortunately so much fruit rides along. Drink 2025-2031.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Enzo Boglietti Barolo DOCG Brunate 2019

On the lighter and less brooding side of La Morra’s Brunate with red fruit in a tart berry meets citrus kind of way. Like raspberries and pomegranates with all the greens involved, rosemary and dried fennel too. Tight wine, neither harsh nor astringent but rustic and so very young. Drink 2025-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Alessandria Marilena Barolo DOCG Capalot 2019

Not exactly an open-knit and giving example of La Morra Brunate but there is surely a skeletal framework for which the fruit to hang upon, take its time to work through the kinks and flesh out. There is no doubt that the future will be much brighter than the present for a nebbiolo that must be given time to figure it all out. Seeing the forest through the trees is key because cask and structure are barriers and will be for these first five-plus years. Drink 2026-2032.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Alberto Burzi

Burzi Alberto Barolo DOCG Capalot Vecchie Viti 2019

High level ripeness noted straight away so despite the omnipresence of tannin there is surely a drink relatively sooner rather than later aspect to this Barolo. The intensity of tart flavours will not be denied and finding the right food partner is seriously key. There must be protein and also fat. Salt as well. It’s simple math. Drink 2024-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Crissante Alessandria Barolo DOCG Capalot 2019

High quality emits and rigs form fruit destined to meet structure for classicism in Barolo. Right proper nebbiolo here and while the palate may seem a touch restrained the wine is just tight, as young Barolo so often is. The structure is strong and the flesh available will hang around for as long as it takes to see a resolution. Even if the fruit lays low in a dumb-like phase it will show resilience and come back to the party. Represents Caplet well with all parts in touch, including the savoury and mineral. Drink 2025-2031.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Enzo Boglietti Barolo DOCG Case Nere 2019

Casa Nere is both fruity and rustic, pretty and traditional. There is some VA in the wake off that fruit but it is in check so as not to fully distract from the goal. That would be mid-term aging and the kind of Barolo you want to bring out at dinner five to seven years post release or eight to 11 after vintage. Look just ahead of 2027 for this to begin its prime time at the table. Drink 2026-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

F.Lli Casetta Di Casetta Ernesto E C. Barolo DOCG Casa Nere 2019

So very primary, almost carbonic in terms of aromas and so seeing far afield is the only way to make judgement on such a nebbiolo. The tannins are so bloody tight and they double down on the sanguine, blood orange aspects of this still reverberating Barolo. Looks like it will morph into something proper but the jury will be out for several years time. Drink 2026-2032.  Cask sample tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Cascina Cappellano Di Veglio Luigi Barolo DOCG Castagni 2019

Completely unique profile in nebbiolo for Barolo from the cru of Castagni which for all intents and purposes is a singular estate’s block of soil. Liking the chalky constitution and gentle swarthiness of this nebbiolo and while the tannic thrust is tough on the palate there is plenty of fruit in a ripe and substantial way to keep up with the plan. Should resolve into a Barolo worthy and revered. Drink 2026-2032.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Michele Chiarlo Barolo DOCG Cerequio 2019

From Cerequio there is a notable swarthiness and wooly character, this without even taking a sip. There is also a great and compact set of moist red fruit out of a most aromatic nebbiolo. Stands out from a pack and so the cru is wet to be heard. Youthful and grippy but these are tannins of a polished ilk that match the wealth of the perfume. A Barolo of all parts elevated and characterful, without a doubt one that will soon become charming and even gregarious. Impressive stature here. Drink 2026-2036.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Molino Mauro Barolo DOCG Conca 2019

The Conca cru out of La Morra delivers a lean, light and über transparent nebbiolo for a very specific style of Barolo. Red citrus from currants to pomegranate and really tart acidity. Though the grittiness in liquid chalky tannins will eventually dissolve, this Conca will show its best in the mid term. After the end of this decade there will likely only be the acid structures left to direct the palate. Drink 2025-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Crissante Alessandria Barolo DOCG Del Comune Di La Morra 2019

Reductive though not super distractingly so and fruit ripe enough if variegated by combinative sources. Crunchy and just a bit astringent if a promising look ahead where tannins are resolved and the wine offers some love. Won’t ever be showy or gregarious – but time will be helpful and kind. Drink 2025-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Alessandria Marilena Cristian Boffa Barolo DOCG Del Comune Di La Morra 2019

A bit closed and hidden as far as aromatics are concerned with just a peak of red rose, orange tisane and grated ginger. More like horseradish and so something occludent is in the way of what should be precluding. Tart and full on tang with middling tannin make for a wine to drink after the clock strikes 2024 and for just a few lean years after that. Not much fleshy substance here I’m afraid. A bit dusty. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Cordero Di Montezemolo Barolo DOCG Bricco Gattera 2019

A smooth sailing season, weather consistent from start to finish, aside from the hail and the frost of September 5th. That was no disaster and the rest of September was perfectly fine. A nearly perfectly ripening in both pace and accumulation, picked on the 11th of October. A terrific Barolo, compact but not compressed, just the right amount of natural sweetness at all three levels; fruit, acid and tannin. That structure is again compact though nothing indicates weight or density but yes, plenty of gravitas. Beautiful nebbiolo and while it will travel long, it’s also nearly ready. Drink 2024-2034.  Tasted January 2023

Carlo Revello & Figli Barolo DOCG Giachini 2019

Giachini is the first of the 2019 nebbiolo to be really present and emit prettiness. Also the first strawberry scented Barolo and so the cru is surely the source of such a red fruit stride. While the structure is anything but formidable there is a lithe white peppery pique and mild grip to see this drink well for let’s say up to five-plus years. If the price is right the buy in is really good. Drink 2024-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Burzi Alberto Barolo DOCG La Serra 2019

La Serra lines up in a similar weight and vein to Giachini by an aromatic profile that is nothing but pretty with sweet perfume coming from fruit described as just the same. A bit more oomph and minty savour though subtle and just like spice or seasoning upon raw salty protein. Also a gentle swarthiness with that naturally woolly texture coating the palate to protect from a medium-plus intensity of tannin. This is a very promising Barolo. Drink 2025-2032.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Poderi Marcarini di Bava Luisa & C. Barolo DOCG 2019

Reductive off the top and mature to indicate something problematic. Definite bottle issue here. Second bottle is much improved with great substance in spite of a lean and implosive profile. This nebbiolo carries proper and real grip with a profile so honest and transparent you just know that reality means producer, cru and soil are all important. Really young and must be collared to see where it will go. Drink 2025-2032.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Aurelio Settimo Barolo DOCG 2019

Energy as if a matter of semi-carbonic, an extremely useful contribution and gainfully swarthy. Tannins are fierce and the tension in this wine is serious. No doubt six months to a year will do wonders in terms of giving a more open impression of what is to come but make no mistake. The structure of this nebbiolo is massive and the fruit surely capable of keeping up with the Joneses. Drink 2026-2037.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Pietro Rinaldi Barolo DOCG 2019

Middle of the road in all respects, first of red fruit with orange edginess and tension off the top. It’s a direct hit of nebbiolo, knowable and unequivocal with the cherries, tar, rose and herbs. Benchmark for ubiquity and tannins that back up the exercise for a five year run. Drink 2024-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Cantina Stroppiana Barolo DOCG San Giacomo 2019

Less of a direct hit but more like a kick in the side from classic La Morra perfume, savoury flavour and grip by tannin. Drier and dustier for nebbiolo which carries and expresses its very own style of ubiquity and this is a poster child for the like. The back end feels some weight and so the wine will likely begin to decline sooner than some. More lightness of being and laser focus would help but alas that is not this. Drink 2024-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Carlo Revello & Figli Barolo DOCG 2019

While some La Morra attack with direct nebbiolo hits and others come from the sides there are some that split the twain. This nebbiolo would be that kind. Somewhat restrained aromas but the cherry, rose, tar and sweetness of herbs are there, albeit stuck behind a repealable veil of structure. Give this two-plus years and the curtain will be pulled away to reveal the wine this wants to be. Shows both good purpose and potential. Drink 2025-2031.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Monfalletto Barolo DOCG 2019

Darker, richer and quicker resolved fruit with drying yet ample tannins. A bit off a disparate nebbiolo for which the parts are far apart and need time to return to centre. Not certain they will ever meet at the exact middle. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Renato Ratti Barolo DOCG Marcenasco 2019

Really quite classic nebbiolo right here with high-toned red fruit in a red citrus and slightly dusty way, though more than enough charm to see the right, joyous and correct way. Tannins are a bit angry but that is not shocking and they will begin to subside after just a few years of time. Liking the transparency and honesty though would never see this as a rich and luxe example of La Morra. Drink 2026-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Dosio Vigneti Barolo DOCG Del Comune Di La Morra 2019

Lovely little nebbiolo here, sweet and sour fruit with a great tang and some of the easiest tannins of the vintage. Bring on the Chinese food! Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Aurelio Settimo Barolo DOCG Rocche Dell’Annunziata 2019

A swarthy and humid Barolo with the smell of fresh cut cedar, and the fresh savour of an evergreen forest. Incredibly savoury nebbiolo unchained and without restraint so viewed at the stage as a hyperbole of cru, that being Rocche dell-Annunziata. Good quality tannins here so the wine will live long and prosper. The style is exaggerated and you just may find it to your liking. Drink 2026-2033.  Cask sample tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Gagliasso Mario Barolo DOCG Rocche Dell’Annunziata 2019

A much more intense and serious nebbiolo from the Rocche dell-Annunziata cru is this right here with a variegation of tannins matched by substantial fruit with as much grip as anything else. Massive construction of Barolo with all the stuffing imagined for twenty years of living. Packed with insulation and the wine will never get cold or suffer from the elements. So well protected. Drink 2026-2037.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Rinaldi Francesco & Figli Barolo DOCG Rocche Dell’Annunziata 2019

Very primary but the fruit is substantial and yet there is that cilantro soapiness that Barolo sometimes shows about the spicing of said fruit. Tannic yes but not over the top. Linear and focused so it remains to be seen where this will travel. Drink 2026-2031.   Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Very primary and how could it not be as a barrel sample and yet there are more resolved parts in this Rocche dell-Annunziata than others tasted from bottle. Expressive of a proper woolliness meeting chalky tannic presence to set this up for some good nebbiolo living. Chewy and drying at the same time. Drink 2026-2035.  Cask sample tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Ratti Barolo DOCG Serradenari 2019

High volatility creeping up into an acetic vein though this feels like a batch issue, not a problem with a particular bottle. Pine forest and wet straw, green tannins and harsh pepperiness. Some improvement on the palate and then finishing with astringent notes. Drink 2024-2025.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Dosio Barolo DOCG Serradenari 2019

Woolly and swarthy to begin, dusty red fruit in the citrus style of La Morra and here more specifically Serradanari. Dried cherries and also roses but substantial and the acids work to flesh them out, lend them solubility to become fresh again. Interesting nebbiolo, improving in the glass and becoming something worth following. Drink 2024-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Rizieri Barolo DOCG Silio 2019

Silio from La Morra is simple and effective as nebbiolo for Barolo of a tart, tang-filled and sharp tannic ilk. Not the most complex or diversified example but effective nonetheless. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Gagliasso Mario Barolo DOCG Torriglione 2019

Torriglione delivers a macerated cherry sensation as a lovely elixir of naturally sweet fruit. As a nebbiolo there is something intangible that reminds of a Piero from Talenti in Montalcino. Yes there are rare moments when nebbiolo and sangiovese converge, even if 99 times out of 100 they are more likely to diverge. This is lovely and spirited Barolo worth saving and cellaring. Drink 2025-2034.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023


Abrigo Giovanni Di Abrigo Giorgio Barolo DOCG Ravera 2019

Proper and balanced right away as Ravera yet with a pine-savoury edginess running through. Liquid chalky and just a bit sour-edged. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Fratelli Broccardo Barolo DOCG Ravera 2019

Heady aromatic front, big-boned and fully engaged with the vintage. Quite sanguine and ferric, of iodine and balsamic. So much gravity and intensity, drying tannins and trenchant purpose. A magnanimous Ravera with much to prove. Drink 2026-2032.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Abrigo F.Lli Barolo DOCG Ravera 2019

Prettier fro Ravera with plenty of substantial fruit beginning and ending with cherries. Good intensity, not too much mind you and a nice sour edginess that keeps coming in waves, returning again and again. Good persistence from this nebbiolo, purposed and focused no doubt. Drink 2024-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

G.D. Vajra Barolo DOCG Ravera 2019

Ravera is arguably the most important Novello cru and the eight iterations tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima show just how challenging it is to make a memorably great Barolo. A great number are impressive and then there is this take by the Vaira family. Their section of the cru might just deliver the richest and most unctuous fruit. Coupled with a season up there with the finest of seasons could result in something too ripe and upfront. “Al contrario, anzi, non così in fretta.” No shortage of generosity but team Vaira has written a perfectly paced nebbiolo song. An ode to 1975 classic rock but also something so new, modern and pure. The fruit is all pro, the structure no con. No adversity or issues with tannin because the chains are so strong and suave. Drink 2025-2034.  Tasted January 2023

Grimaldi Giacomo Di Grimaldi Ferruccio Barolo DOCG Ravera 2019

Swarthy and high volatility upon sour dark cherry fruit. Crabapple and red onion skin as well. Fruit is a bit too mature. Drink 2024-2026.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Vitivinicola Cagliero Barolo DOCG Ravera 2019

Bright, natural sweet and sour juxtaposed fruit of a balanced and consistent aromatic emission, with equal and persistent qualities exhibited by the palate. Yet there is something so savoury and edgy about the flavours, like lit tobacco of mild astringency. Close but no cigar. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Marengo Mauro Barolo DOCG Ravera 2019

Comes out like nebbiolo should albeit on the lithe and transparent side, of cherry fruit with a plumpness that’s more plum seasoned by cracked black pepper. Swarthy and salty, woollen and fuzzy. Unique to be sure. Drink 2025-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Vietti Barolo DOCG Ravera 2019

Fine liquor of nebbiolo unlike any other in a flight adding up to 80-odd Barolo and so curiosity is piqued at attention. Lovely gelid consistency in a wine of great implosive intensity that should take a decade or more to unravel. The charm and excitability are strong. Look forward to returning again and again. Drink 2025-2035.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Piazzo Comm. Armando Di Piazzo Marina Barolo DOCG Sottocasetello Di Novello 2019

Cool, savoury and a bit boozy from ripe fruit, like macerating cherries in a simple syrup solution. Rich and unctuous with sweet acidity and tannins quite similar though they attack with fervour. Solid if a bit out of balance. Drink 2024-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Grimaldi Giacomo Di Grimaldi Ferruccio Barolo DOCG Sottocastello Di Novello 2019

Quality nebbiolo fruit to be sure, straight away and with confidence. Liquid chalky and also peppery, herbal and with an Amaro finish. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

With Francesca Vaira

Serralunga d’Alba

G.D. Vajra Di Vaira Aldo Barolo DOCG Baudana 2019

You have to believe this Baudana was made for us, and I mean all of us to enjoy Barolo 2019 earlier than many of its peers. The nose is so smooth and inviting, the palette equally so and crunchy fresh. This is simply a fine composition that tells everything that needs to be known about the vintage. Red fruit just mature enough to be ready and structure determined by vintage, never trying too hard and ideal for the next five years. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Batasiolo Barolo DOCG Palladino Boscareto 2019

Boscareto doles Serralunga d’Alba with comfort and relative ease in nebbiolo of dark red fruit (think black cherry) and just the faintest hint of dustiness, like the skins of a red plum. Everything is just so – ripeness, acids, savoury bits, herbals and tannins. All in the right place at essentially the same time. Drink 2024-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Brovia Barolo DOCG Brea Vigna Ca’ Mia 2019

Higher in tone, not exactly brighter but there’s an aromatic rise that comes from this, yet still what feels like typical Serralunga d’Alba. Roses and orange skin, a note of balsamico. Quite a taut and yet to yield example. Drink 2025-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Batasiolo Barolo DOCG Briccolina 2019

Plenty of tradition in this Briccolina, if nothing else that is abundantly clear. Dark ripeness for the most part and that fine line walked between most excellent fruit and a swarthiness to remind that these vines grow in soil. Not to mention the wine is made in such a way so as to promote the relationship between the vineyard, the cellar and all that develops from out of a natural world. Plenty of potential and a wine for those who like a bit of sauvage. Drink 2025-2032.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Schiavenza Di Pira Luciano Barolo DOCG Broglio 2019

Broglio is a truly tart and tightly wound example of Serralunga d’Alba but with tell-tale fruit that just feels like it could only represent the hills of this commune. Dustier than some others and like a wire wrapped and circling the spool, pulled so tight there can be no imminent release. Or anytime soon for that matter. That said you feel the effect of this intense juice on your palate for a good long time. Should age with the best of them. Drink 2025-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Luigi Baudana Barolo DOCG Cerretta 2019

Considered the fruit’s pitch and depth this is a nebbiolo in which acidity is tops and surprisingly so. “Always from Ceretta” says Francesca Vaira. “Even if it is a very leafy vintage.” Truly, as noted in the savoury streak running through, surely not atypical for Ceretta cru. Red berries shading to black yet bright, shining and luminescent. Lovely version of Ceretta with a fine balance between that which is tart and naturally sweet.  Drink 2024-2032.  Tasted January 2023

Germano Ettore Di Germano Sergio Barolo DOCG Cerretta 2019

More than somewhat reductive Ceretta, of earth and fruit kept hidden for the time being but also a real mineral notation, or at least something that makes us think that to be the case. What lays beneath are classic notes, rose petals and tar, orange scrape and aromatics as if by ginger or the smoulder of spice on curing and smoking meats. There is a strong crust and slow developed Barque as a skin on this nebbiolo and in 2019 Serralunga d’Alba terms it will likely take as long to open up as any from the commune. Drink 2026-2033.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Garesio Barolo DOCG Cerretta 2019

Lighter and brighter for Ceretta from Serralunga d’Alba, fruit well developed and already showing a maturity for earlier access. Quite tart, high in acid and tannins feeling drying yet not so very long-chained. Drink 2024-2026.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Davide Fregonese Barolo DOCG Cerretta 2019

Straight away as much a feeling gained as being a nebbiolo from the greater whole that is Serralunga d’Alba though Ceretta focused this is and with time in the glass will open to reveal its particular specificity. A bit of cheese rind here, some deeper or more earthy grounding and a moment of brooding. Tannins are quite grippy and the wine will take its time. Drink 2025-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Giovanni Rosso Barolo DOCG Cerretta 2019

The consistency of Cerreta cru is quite remarkable and here another example that carries the weight and class with equal distinction. Tighter or at least as tight as any in its class, tannins immediately known to be grippy and in charge. A wine to wait on and wait for years because its far from ready. On the far side of 2019 in that regard and so remains to be seen if full beauty waits on the other side. Drink 2026-2032.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Fontanafredda Barolo DOCG Del Commune Di Serralunga D’alba 2019

Plain and simple the straight and narrow goods from Serralunga d’Alba with fruit part dark cherry and also plum dusty. Acids crunch in part because there are dried herbs and bits of tar in the nether with tannins grippy but also a bit hard. Middle of the road example that also needs a few years to settle in. Will always drink as a dry and taut nebbiolo. Drink 2025-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

De Simone Roberto Barolo DOCG Del Comune Di Serralunga d’Alba 2019

Perfectly light to mid weight Serralunga d’Alba in the most generalized and understood way. A good combination of commune vineyard fruit to create a layering that is pretty much seamless and proper though there are bits here and there that flash and spark. Lovely level of tart and fruit tang, mild earthiness and just as it began it then finishes with medium intensity tannins that follow suit. Drink 2024-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Franco Boasso Barolo DOCG Margheria Del Commune Di Serralunga d’Alba 2019

Just a bit of a different sort of Serralunga d’Alba iteration coming from this non-specific commune nebbiolo with fruit as dark and mature as it gets for the greater sense of place. Deep inhalant of nebbiolo with more tar than roses and fruits both orange and red compacted one upon another, again and on repeat. So much up front including the tannins and it just feels like a fully pressed wine with everything coming at you, all at once. Drink 2024-2026.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Negro Angelo & Figli Di Giovanni Negro Barolo DOCG Del Comune Di Serralunga d’Alba 2019

Once again the commune delivers its up front values with all parts equally on display if in the style of all in, with haste, straight from the word press. Leathery and earthy red to blackening fruit and all the acid-tannin structural demand, without waiting or holding back. This means the concepts of taut, tart and tang are compacted upon each other while drying notes bind it all together at a quick and forceful finish. Drink 2024-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Enrico Serafino Barolo DOCG Del Commune Di Serralunga d’Alba 2019

A brighter and more effusive Serralunga d’Alba here, nice level of woolly aromatics that entice and linger so that you choose to spend more time on the nose of this intriguing nebbiolo. A gentler touch it feels, a press and likely cappello sommerso methodology that coaxes the right kind of perfumes and creates correct textures. This is simply a lovely and elegant iteration of commune fruit without stress, but with just the right amount of tension. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Giovanni Rosso Barolo DOCG Del Comune Di Serralunga d’Alba 2019

The sort of truly straightforward, expected and knowable multi-vineyard commune example is this from Serralunga d’Alba, without equivocation or fail. A just reward in nebbiolo, dark cherry in fruit, leathery and wise, tense yet never tired. Interest runs high and yet thinking too much about how it was made or for what purpose is simply unnecessary. Cellar for three years, pop and pour with a pasta course, preferably under a sauce of salssicia ragù. Drink 2025-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Franco Boasso Barolo DOCG Gabutti 2019

Dry, earthy and a bit brittle in terms of structure but if you know you know and this is a prime example of a Barolo mired in a place that is ten years before its time. The bones are solid, the intensions altruistic and the confidence ahead of the pack. Gabutti is the cru in Serralunga d’Alba and seeing the forest for the trees is essential in knowing what will become. This moment is truly a “dumb” phase and greater things lay ahead. Trust the process. Drink 2026-2033.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Garesio Barolo DOCG Gianetto 2019

Gianetto is lithe and greatly perfumed as a nebbiolo from Serralunga d’Alba that is truly about beginnings with less attention paid to the greater picture. The fruit is naturally sweet but also quite tart and so there is a slight acetic elevation involved. Tannins are both dusty and brittle. Wait a year and then make use quickly after that. Drink 2024-2026.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023à

Here Lazzarito delivers a one-two pinch of fruit and also perfumes, of red berry and orange, of fresh rose and lilac. Quite a deep aromatic front followed by true depth and intensity on the palate. Big wine for Serralunga d’Alba, layered, compact and generous yet just airy enough to allow breaths of fresh acidity and essential oils to lubricate and elasticize the parts. There should be a long and prosperous life ahead for this special nebbiolo. Drink 2025-2034.  Cask sample, tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Casa E. Di Mirafiore & Fontanafredda Barolo DOCG Lazzarito 2019

Tart aromas, dark in violet light, a nebbiolo of chiaroscuro, shadows and hidden meaning. Perceived and felt with hunger and emotion but the wine requests that you take your time to gain an understanding of its meaning. Patience and attention paid will lead to the truth but also time as the factor for arriving at that place. There is profundity here, that much is apparent and it’s incumbent on you to reach said nirvana. Lazzarito will abide. Drink 2026-2035.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Pira Luigi Di Gianpaolo Pira Barolo DOCG Marenca 2019

Unusual nose for Serralunga d’Alba and perhaps just a sign of early maturity. In fact that is the case and this Marenca speaks in a language that says drink now. Softest tannins of any in the commune from 2019 but no faults, no issues and pretty good wine for right now. Drink 2023-2024.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Pira Luigi Di Gianpaolo Pira Barolo DOCG Margheria 2019

A perfectly reasonable and well seasoned Margheria from the commune of Serralunga d’Alba brings a handsome and lean yet muscular tone to nebbiolo. The aromatics are neither shy nor running with haste and draw you in for more. Traceable actions, emotions and notions upon the palate make you realize this to be something consistent, persistent and quite fine. Nothing earth shattering but defined as truly responsible and beautifully plausible Barolo. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Manzone Gian Paolo Barolo DOCG Meriame 2019

Mariame is true to Serralunga d’Alba commune yet idealistic as its own cru as first noted in aromas running this way and that. Earthy fruit and a cheese rind that repeats with a lactic creaminess. Structure is one of grip and relent meaning there are tannins but they do soften early. The drinking window follows this course. Drink 2024-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Manzone Gian Paolo Barolo DOCG 2019

Not the most open-knit or prominent aromatic front so pause and see what will be. A demi-classic Serralunga d’Alba perfume does come forth in the rose, orange, cherry and tar way but it’s both faint and uninspiring. Palate follows suit though admittedly improves upon the proposition. Solid wine in the end. Drink 2024-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Vico Luigi Barolo DOCG 2019

A bit of a soft, lean and dishy dilute nebbiolo with no real grip or concentration. Not representative of Serralunga d’Alba in any meaningful manner. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Pio Cesare Barolo DOCG Ornato 2019

Tasted with Cesare Benvenuto in Alba from the Serralunga cru and a vintage of round fruit set against a backdrop of understated if surely intense tannin. A year for which a winemaking team had to reset and not push anything too hard, lest there creep in notes of volatility and astringency. Jam as well and the report on Ornato by Pio Cesare speaks nothing of these things. A softness in the beginning and also a state of grace with the force of structure waiting in the wings, respectfully and knowing now is the merely the time for introductions. Some fruit from 1947 planted vines takes part in this nebbiolo play and the rest seem to follow, fill and support, dutifully in the tradition of this menzione. Though those vines are hard to define in how they affect overall concentration there is the unspoken aspect of experience and strength. Of character which leads to probability to say this Ornato will live long and prosper for decades. Another stunner from the world of Pio Cesare. Drink 2026-2039.  Tasted January 2023

Palladino Barolo DOCG Ornato 2019

It all begins with Ornato in that the perfume is quite serious with an amazing display of ferric, hematic and smoked meaty notes. Really deep set of Serralunga d’Alba circumstances established in fruit, earth and stone for a wine of great and trenchant meaning. Structurally that is with backbone, essential acids and the kind of stuffing to see this travel with potential, possibly for decades. Controlled chalkiness and slightly heavy use of wood though that too will help see it live forever. Drink 2026-2035.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Palladino Barolo DOCG Parafada 2019

Parafada being pretty and generous is no mistake for a nebbiolo predicated on perfume. Orange zest, cherry skin, red apple too. Not the most demanding set of structural circumstances right here and sometimes that is just fine. Drink this cru nebbiolo from Serralunga d’Alba sooner than Ornato. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Vico Luigi Barolo DOCG Prapò 2019

Lovely aromatic stance exerted by this Prapò out of Serralunga d’Alba with fresh cut flowers unlike most others and a depth of fruit to match the perfume. High quality work put in and continued in the cellar makes this shine without any volatility whatsoever. Perhaps a bit soft and barrel creamy upon the palate but a most amenable nebbiolo no matter how you slice this Black Forest cake. Drink 2024-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Davide Fregonese Barolo DOCG Prapò 2019

This second of two Prapò out of Serralunga d’Alba is much like the first, pretty of perfume, floral and fruit juicy. The palate is bit tighter and the backbone more upright. Sacrifices some of that first encountered lithe amenability for grippier nebbiolo connections. Drink 2025-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Le Cecche Barolo DOCG Sorano 2019

Sorano is a lean and tannic nebbiolo from Serralunga d’Alba with some acetic tones and dusty tannins. Not a lot of joy early on and while time is an ally it will always remain tight and not what we would refer to as generous. Drink 2025-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Terre Del Barolo Arnaldo Rivera Barolo Vignarionda 2019

Great initial swarthy launch into an aromatic display like a weather front rolled in and hovering over the earth. Vignarionda opens up and rains on earthy fruit in a nebbiolo that can’t be missed or ignored. Dark cherry, tar and some iodine to ferric tendencies. The palate shows more savour and wood, a spice factor but also a hollowness up the middle. Needs just a bit more stuffing though the wine never overworks or tries too hard. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023


Fratelli Serioe Battista Borgogno Barolo DOCG Albarella 2019

Herbal aromatic Barolo commune fruit puts Albarella in a cru of its own and speaks a particular vernacular. One of seasoning and then come the chains of tannin, marching in one by one. In a line, ready to battle. The rusticity in this wine speaks to the traditional, to big casks and loyalty. Drink 2025-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Gomba Cascina Boschetti Barolo DOCG Boschetti 2019

Boschetti is simply beautiful, an aromatic stunner of rose bushes and red fruit so well seasoned and fortified to go on forever. While the nebbiolo in this glass is indeed something too behold it is also one contained within a bubble of great structure to see charm released ever so slowly with all signs pointing to this taking place over two plus decades. The first signs of release are five away. Drink 2027-2038.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

G. D. Vajra Albe Barolo DOCG 2019

Albe a Barolo of four cru, fruit source quadruplet of directions, like looking all four ways an intersection for nebbiolo that speaks four languages and answers four questions. Albe is the window into the 2019, accessible and inviting, fruit times four, all of which explain what a vintage has been from then moment fruit reach maturity and was picked. The precursor and foreshadow into all else to come. Muscular yet supple and with an aim to please. Tannins are nurturing and potential will be longer than imagination will allow. Drink this for up to 12 years. Drink 2024-2030.  Tasted January 2023

G.D. Vajra Di Vaira Aldo Barolo DOCG Bricco Delle Viole 2019

Senses and palates are put on immediate notice for Bricco delle Viole because from out of 2019 the Barolo cru delivers something to stop us in our tracks. The confidence and restraint are more than admirable as they conspire for beauty and of course excellence. Purity of fruit, consistency in temperament and length to last a short lifetime are the combined quotient in this very special nebbiolo. Honesty and execution for Barolo incarnate. Drink 2026-2037.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Marengo Mario Di Marengo Marco Barolo DOCG Bricco Delle Viole 2019

This second of two Bricco delle Viole cru nebbiolo is deeper and darker or perhaps better assessed as quicker to explain its purpose from the 2019 vintage. The fruit exudes confidence and the wine wants you to know this, sans restraint. Acid to tannin structure do much of the same and the wood seasons everything to the max. Will live long though there will always be level of austerity involved. Drink 2026-2034.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Fratelli Serioe Battista Borgogno Barolo DOCG Cannubi 2019

Uncanny aroma of chocolate mint to say that wood is equal to cru in this Cannubi from Barolo commune. Seems to be a mix of cask and smaller barrels – likely some new barriques in this elévage. Also quite a note of evergreen and even clove. This is a maker who cares about their program and wants their wine to speak in this language. Fruit is a bit suppressed, tannins are quite dusty, acids strong. Drink 2024-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Cascina Adelaide Barolo DOCG Cannubi 2019

Fine and spiced if a touch reductive nebbiolo with notable wood off the top as well. A Cannubi concerned with spicing and seasoning, generously salted and of a marked peppery kick. Fruit really shows well on the palate and the mouthfeel does well to express the generous nature of the cru. Long and rewarding to tell us time is the ally and this Barolo will outlast a great many others. Drink 2025-2035.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo DOCG Cannubi 2019

Reticent, not reductive but somewhat closed. That said there is a creaminess to the aromatics, a lactic note and seasoning by scraped orange zest. Lots of wood here and a wine that speaks a language of honour and tradition. Dries a bit but is honestly par for the nebbiolo-Barolo course. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Rinaldi Francesco & Figli Barolo DOCG Cannubi 2019

Nicely aromatic Cannubi, more so than the others in a flight of five, perfumed in floral ways and fruity to a great degree. Quite insular, implosive and tart after that with real tightness and tension upon the palate. Will live a good decade or more post haste in a period of quiet and resolution. Drink 2026-2032.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

E. Pira E Figli Barolo DOCG Cannubi 2019

Classic Cannubi, perfumed and structured, rose to violet, acids and tannin. All of the above, heightened and then grippy, intense and ultimately long. Trenchant response to vintage for a nebbiolo of focus and reality. Drink 2025-2035.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Barale F.Lli Di Barale Sergio Barolo DOCG Castellero 2019

Odd entry, like play dough or yes indeed past water. Weak and pasty. Not great.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo DOCG Castellero 2019

Closed, lean, green and woody. Not a lot of fruit joy. Evergreen, brushy savour and so the character lies in these traits. A treatise between earth and stone, barrel and nebbiolo. What it is. Drink 2024-2026.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Camparo Barolo DOCG Coste Di Vergne 2019

Strong aromas, cru specific indeed, a Coste di Vergne speciality, hearty nebbiolo, heady and with healthy grip. No lack of substance or control in fact this Barolo takes the bull by the horns and rides astride. No fear here. Drink 2025-2032.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Cantine Dei Marchesi Di Barolo Barolo DOCG Del Comune Di Barolo 2019

High-toned, acetic edgy and youthfully gritty nebbiolo from the ubiquity of the Barolo commune. Bones are strong and tradition runs high so appreciate this nebbiolo for what it is. The real deal. Drink 2025-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Borgogno Barolo DOCG Fossati 2019

Top quality fruit, substantial and layered if also compressed and compact. Classicism incarnate, nebbiolo scents captured in every respect, fruit oil the naturally juicy sweet side and herbals equally so. Lovely palate mouthfeel, smooth and ever so slightly creamy, a suave texture derived and ready for what comes next. That being tannins as agreeable as all parts come before and the final context is a beautifully composed Fossati with great days ahead. Drink 2025-2035.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Barale F. Lli Di Barale Sergio Barolo DOCG Monrobiolo Di Bussia 2019

Wood in every respect, vanilla and lavender, cloying and over the top. Evergreen and mint. Too much distraction.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Bric Cenciurio Di Pittatore A E A Barolo DOCG Monrobiolo di Bussia 2019

An herbal nebbiolo from Monrobiolo di Bussia, amaro like, cool and sweetly bitter. Aromatically speaking that is and then comes the darkness of night in the way of tannin, just after a real tang on the central palate. A winner of three parts, though not all together. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Borgogno Barolo DOCG 2019

No cru or MGA mention from this solid nebbiolo of traditional scents and taciturn behaviour. Good bones, chilled features and just enough freshness to handle the tannins in attack. Drink 2024-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Bric Cenciurio Di Pittatore A E A Barolo DOCG Del Comune Di Barolo Pittatore 2019

Once again a proper nebbiolo aromatic attack with no mention of MGA but here a clear and present pronouncement of commune. Barolo fruit for Barolo sake out of a vintage that complies and abides. Crunch and crust, earth and dust, fine lines and finer tension. Drying to a degree and the wood is just a bit over seasoned though time will help alleviate any pain. No undue stress in the end. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

L’Astemia Pentita Barolo DOCG 2019

The other nebbiolo from Barolo, fruit on the orange spectrum, juiced and zested, very much a sangiune and ochre citrus proposition. Also quite woody, vanilla and creamy on the palate, tannins serious. Quite dried out by the time the fruit has gone away but that is the nature of nebbiolo from a vintage like 2019. Time will begin the healing. Drink 2025-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Roberto Sarotto Di Cavallotto Aurora Barolo DOCG Audace 2019

So much wood and no fruit as a result, or at last hidden beneath the sappy drip of vanilla and lavender.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Viberti Giovanni Barolo DOCG Buon Padre 2019

Tight and reductive, dark black cherry behind a wall of freshness and herbaceousness. Good acid-tannin structure and potential because there is a substantial amount of fruit kept safely tucked away. A top level nebbiolo without cru affiliation from Barolo. Drink 2024-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Cavalier Bartolomeo Barolo DOCG San Lorenzo 2019

San Lorenzo cru in Barolo commune brings forth solid nebbiolo drupe with fine acids and more wood than some. That said the barrel seasoning in spiced terms is proper and supportive though the dried herbs and resins do compound over time. And so time is needed to soften these things but not too much because there is a softness on the other side of this wine. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Brezza Giacomo e Figli dal 1885 Barolo DOCG Sarmassa 2019.

Reductive yet fruit juicy with a caper and dill acid addendum for a Barolo from Sarmassa that begins all over the map. Plenty of intensity and aromas to tell before transitioning to ample conditioning and substance upon the palate. So much going on in this wildly expressive wine and time will tell to see the settling, integration and positive consciousness. Drink 2025-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Cantine Di Marchesi Di Barolo Barolo DOCG Sarmassa 2019

The connective tissue between one Sarmassa to the next seems on display as here the early notes perceived go blood orange and also savoury caper. Yet this stays the citrus course with greater confidence and the juiciness of this nebbiolo is really quite special. Exhibits the right kind of tart and also a liquid chalkiness to speak of the earth, light clay and stone, in that sweet spot where fruit and tension collide. Tops for the cru and one that heeds the vintage with great distinction. Drink 2025-2033.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Virna Borgogno Barolo DOCG Sarmassa 2019

The third of three Sarmassa exhibits the most barrel in fact it throws the toasted oak full force into the tobacco and roasting meat aromatics without holding back. Vanilla and spices, clove nut also nutmeg and cinnamon. Can imagine a fresh autumn evening with pumpkin and beef stewing side by side with this nebbiolo. Über classic Barolo.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Castiglione Falletto

Cavalier Bartolomeo Barolo DOCG Altenasso 2019

Altenasso presents a specialized and unique profile of a nebbiolo nosing of flowers fresh and dried but also fruit like persimmon and apricot. Chewy fruit, leathery, dried roll up and the similar ilk. Tannins are chalky and a bit gritty but they will melt, coordinate with the other parts and the transitions will surely smoothen. Nice wine, mid-term aging potential recognized and a good fit for Barolo. Drink 2024-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Cavallotto Tenuta Bricco Boschis Barolo DOCG Bricco Boschis 2019

A barrel sample from Bricco Boschis and one of the more mature in this category, most parts resolved at least to a degree where seeing the goal is possible. Good connection between fresh and dried fruit, a bit leathery and certainly some maturity here. The tannins too though they are quite chalky and will take another five plus years to mostly resolve. There is a bit of Brett here, not egregious but definitely present. Drink 2024-2028.  Cask sample tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Boroli Barolo DOCG Brunella 2019

Nice immediate depth noted in this Brunella cru from Castiglione Falletto commune, a nebbiolo of aromatic weave in texture out of design. Black cherry and also a dark blood orange, berry to citrus, no real earthiness at all. More evolution is felt on the palate as well as some unresolved sulphite. Lends a peppery kick and the wine is a bit out of sorts. Offer it some time. Drink 2024-2027. Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Monchiero Fratelli Barolo DOCG Del Comune Di Castiglione Falletto 2019

A nebbiolo from the commune of Castiglione Falletto with notable wood off the top and drying parts, in part because of the overuse of that oak. Simple wine from some solid fruit sources compromised by the producer’s cru divisioning. Drink 2024-2026.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Anna Maria Abbona Barolo Docg Del Comune Di Castiglione Falletto 2019

Good fruit and bones, a nebbiolo of traditional quality and yeoman work done up from a vintage that encouraged such an operation. Wood felt more on the palate in vanilla to chocolate with dried herbs and clay to finish. Pretty traditional stuff. Drink 2024-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Sordo Giovanni Barolo DOCG Monprivato 2019

From Monprivato and the kind of aromatic juices that need be encouraged as often as possible. The roses and orange citrus, earthy sweetness and no wood to speak of. There are no let downs or pauses in this cru’s interpretation of Castiglione Falletto nebbiolo, only seamless transitions and beauty throughout. The tannins are just that correct mix of sweetness and tension, tactile and the taciturn. Yes, yes, please! Drink 2025-2036.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Boroli Barolo DOCG 2019

Some evolution already with maturity of fruit in a raisin inflection. Tannins are equally mature and there are some sour notes overall. Drink up.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Bovio Gianfranco Di Bovio Alessandra Barolo DOCG Parussi 2019

Lithe and citrusy, yet another blood orange cru for a vintage that seems to coax such notes without hesitation. Tart, tang, direct hits of acid and tannins doing much the same. Solid wine from the Parussi cru though not one to age forever. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Rosoretto Barolo DOCG Parussi 2019

Once again Castiglione Falletto supplies a citrus stylistic through here there is as much pink grapefruit as there is blood orange. Seems lighter on the nose than on the palate as the texture goes a bit resiny and glycerin. Wood is a factor as noted by the chocolate and spices coming at the finish. Drink 2024-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Brovia Barolo DOCG Rocche Di Castiglione 2019

Rocche di Castiglione shows immediate structure from backbone and strong grip in ways the other Castiglione Falletto nebbiolo don’t seem to do. Darker fruit integrates cherry into the blood orange citrus and wood sidles on along with equal and opposing force. A seasoned and spiced nebbiolo yet one with good tannic structure and the ability to age. Drink 2025-2032.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Monchiero Fratelli Barolo DOCG Rocche Di Castiglione 2019

The second of two cru wines from Castiglione Falletto in the Rocche di Castiglione MGA is even darker of fruit and headier than the first. As are the acids and also the tannins, fierce and holding quite the level of structural tension. This is a formidably assembled and constructed nebbiolo and one that can surely live two decades or more. Drink 2026-2037.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Terre Del Barolo Arnaldo Rivera Barolo DOCG Rocche Di Castiglione 2019

This third iteration of Rocche di Castiglione is an anomaly in that the fruit is neither dark nor are the bones of this wine as upright and strong as the other two wines. That said there is a different sort of depth in here, more aromatic, more fruit up front and also an earth derivation that really speaks too this sense of cru in the commune of Castiglione Falletto. The wine falls off a bit when it comes to mouthfeel because the tannins really dry out and suck moisture away. Solid wine though and much more traditional in several ways. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Bava Barolo DOCG Scarrone 2019

Scarrone is lighter of style for the commune of Castiglione Falletto and there is a great deal of barrel involved to decide the overall nebbiolo character. Chalky and with some grittiness, even a bit brittle I dare say. The ripeness is the heart of the matter and so time is an ally. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo DOCG Villero 2019

Incredible uncanny scent of liquorice or as it is said fennel from this Vilierio cru nebbiolo out of the commune of Castiglione Falletto. The aromas persists and the flavours only accentuate the initial notes. Then come dried fruit in pods, like carbon and bokser, finishing at drying herbs and tannin. Traditional work here to be sure. Drink 2024-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Poderi E Cantine Oddero Barolo DOCG Villero 2019

A fine and loyal Viliero comes from this herbal and clay-earthy nebbiolo with Castiglione Falletto backbone and utmost certainty for decades of aging. The elévage for this cru-designate wine is beautifully purposed, neither old-school nor modern and just expertly designed straight in between. Fine example that works the glass with excellence. Drink 2025-2032.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Monforte d’Alba

Cascina Sot Di Sanso Maurizio Barolo DOCG Del Commune Di Monforte D’Alba 2019

Interesting note of candied or almost crème brûlée of orange in a nebbiolo from Barolo del Comune di Monforte d’Alba. Rich and concentrated, fruit dark and almost mysterious what with its chiaroscuro effect. The structure is very middle of the road and the tannins are peppery so yes this will be a fine mid term Barolo but nothing to imagine as existing in a bubble to visit twenty years forward. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Icollirossi Barolo DOCG Del Comune Di Monforte d’Alba 2019

Dark cherry, equally citric and somewhat dusty nebbiolo comes from quality if quantified fruit sources adding up to ubiquitous Monforte d’Alba. A solid nebbiolo as Barolo, qualifying with exemplary distinction and just enough naturally curated swarthy character to give this wine its own personality. Tannins really dry away so give this two years minimum. Drink 2025-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Diego Conterno Barolo DOCG Del Commune Di Monforte d’Alba 2019

There are rich and dark Monforte d’Alba Barolo and then there is this example, lighter, transparent and unencumbered. Cherries are red, leather is fresh and and oranges are juiced into the wine. Dry and savoury, roses also arid and the wine just keeps saying “let me be, drink me later.” Drink 2025-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Anna Maria Abbona Barolo DOCG Bricco San Pietro 2019

Bricco San Pietro marches to a funky beat, apposite to many, akin to some of older heart and soul. It’s rhythms are unique, aromatics heady and flavours wild. Dark of berry fruit, sharp of acids and middling by tannin to speak of style but more so cru. Good fun, danceable Barolo, not one for the ages. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Diego Pressenda Barolo DOCG Bricco San Pietro 2019

Brawny, haute and heady Bricco San Pietro in this glass so full, all in, concentrated and spoken of a matter of fact mind. Intensity of fruit intertwined with equally gregarious acidity, crunchy as nebbiolo, arrived in modernity, wine of open heart and mind. That said it’s a wine of solid construction and utilitarian architecture, built to impress and serve the people. Should do this well and with pride for a decade. Drink 2024-2031.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Le Cecche Barolo DOCG Bricco San Pietro 2019

Heady nebbiolo from Bricco San Pietro if more restrained then some others of its Monforte d’Alba cru ilk. Some swarthy peppery piques on the aromatics though subtle enough to stay in check. Cool savour mixed with black cherry does indeed put this in modern stance that is also grounded, balanced and hard to knock over. Really sturdy Barolo. Drink 2024-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Podere Ruggeri Corsini Barolo DOCG Bricco San Pietro 2019

Big austere Barolo here from Monforte d’Alba in the cru of Bricco San Pietro with more than demanding tannins in fact they are the entire early attraction. Hard to see the fruit through the structure and the forest in a Barolo still stuck in wood. Extremely arid and tough. Drink 2025-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Costa Di Bussia Tenuta Arnulfo Barolo DOCG Bussia 2019

Unusual aromatic entry, part pine forest and part Castelmagno cheese. Either something is amiss or the nebbiolo here just comes out a little differently. The palate improves on the situation with some fruit sweetness and the tannins are relatively amenable, at least as far as youth and nebbiolo are concerned. Wait two years and drink for seven. Drink 2025-2031.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Agricola Gian Piero Marrone Barolo DOCG Bussia 2019

Boozy nose on this Bussia with austere tannins that skulk, command and numb the wishful fruit. There is just too much extraction of structure for the purple-violet gang to find sweetness anytime in the near future. Ambitious and such trenchant desire puts this Bussia in a league of its own. Fearing that the waiting will be a minimum seven years before any real charm or natural fruit will begin to emerge. Drink 2026-2036.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Cascina Adelaide Barolo DOCG Bussia 2019

A fine and flirtatious Bussia here from the swinging esses of a valley that snakes through Monforte d’Alba for nebbiolo you just need to know more about. A great and soulful swarthiness initiates the kind of character to speak of a natural approach and an abiding of cru. Cool, savoury-sour-sweet and also umami balance with no lead taken and all aspects working in cohorts. A nebbiolo to revisit again and again, to make friends with, to know for life. Drink 2025-2038. Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023.A fine and flirtatious Bussia here from the swinging esses of a valley that snakes through Monforte d’Alba for nebbiolo you just need to know more about. A great and soulful swarthiness initiates the kind of character to speak of a natural approach and an abiding of cru. Cool, savoury-sour-sweet and also umami balance with no lead taken and all aspects working in cohorts. A nebbiolo to revisit again and again, to make friends with, to know for life. Drink 2025-2038.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Podere Ruggeri Corsini Barolo DOCG Bussia 2019

Darker of fruit and gainful of acidity, a Bussia that challenges tradition and accepts climate for how it will affect what is to come. A nebbiolo of strength across all parts and divides, moving through times of tension, built to last. It’s a different sort in certain respects and it deserves attention. It is part of the future. Drink 2025-2031.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Poderi Colla Barolo DOCG Bussia Dardi Le Rose 2019

Tart, orange tang, strong pressed and juiced nebbiolo out of Dardi Le Rose within Bussia. Bones are stronger than they might have first seemed to be and this 2019 heeds the vintage quite well. Nothing too cumbersome up front and a Barolo that builds with time. Par for the course and age-able while also acting just about agreeable as a wine from this vintage can be. Drink 2024-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Poderi Fogliati Barolo DOCG Bussia 2019

High-toned Bussia, more than most, almost volatile but just hanging in long enough with fruit to match the air. Crunchy nebbiolo, tart and with great implosive intensity. Lingers for one of the longest cru finishes of the lot. Drink 2025-2032.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Rinaldi Giuseppe Barolo DOCG Bussia 2019

Orange off the top, a juice in which the roses swim and the cherries macerate. Lithe and transparent, Bussia light if you will or better yet a part of Bussia in vintage that directs such a transparency of style. Crisp and pure, one of the more focused Barolo from Monforte d’Alba although the wood is just a bit over onto the density defining way of this nebbiolo. Just the slightest lighter hand would have elevated this ’19 into the utter ethereal. In the meantime the wine will age very well because it’s so well balanced. Drink 2024-2035.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Amalia Cascina In Langa Barolo DOCG Bussia Vigna Fantini 2019

Rich and intense nebbiolo with more pinpointed dry accuracy as coming from Vigna Fantini within the larger Bussia. Doubles down on itself, concentrating a faction of the cru out of which there are glycerin citrus notes from head to tail, nose to palate. The parts are well synched in Fantini while the tannins persist with a fine elemental chalkiness though they are not overly demanding. A really fine example of a place within a place no doubt. Drink 2024-2033.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Sara Vezza Barolo DOCG Castelletto Persiera 2019

Tart, and if there is some red fruit sweetness it stretches thin, dishy and somewhat dilute. Soapy like some would imagine cilantro and simple. Lacks concentration, clarity and ultimately structure. Drink 2024-2026.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo DOCG Castelletto 2019

Closed as far as a Monforte d’Alba Barolo is concerned which increasingly seems to be a trait of the cru Castelletto. There feels to be some classic Barolo scents behind the veil, namely roses and cherries, tart, light and juicy. Good appellate, applet and palate presence to be sure, nothing extraordinary or out of the ordinary but balanced and promising. Will surely benefit from the bottle. Drink 2025-2032.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Conterno Fantino Barolo DOCG Castelletto Vigna Pressenda 2019

Funky and lactic Castelletto, orange rind and cheese crust too, tang in waves and acids very much the director of this nebbiolo cru’s attempt. Lean in the middle stages and austere at the finish. Drink 2024-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Fortemasso Barolo DOCG Castelletto 2019

Right, correct and proper Castelletto straight away, giving forth great richness of fruit and basically in delivery of all the finest attributes this cru could have from the vintage. Exemplary of 2019 without total struggle and this is nebbiolo that seems so comfortable in its own skin. Good chewy middle palate and welcoming throughout. Drink 2024-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Raineri Gianmatteo Barolo DOCG Castelletto 2019

The darkest of Castelletto fruit with full on Monforte d’Alba sun-grabbed extraction. Concentration is the result for a richness of nebbiolo fruit at the height of cru heights. Does it all up front and then tapers off, descending into denouement quicker than some but the ride was pleasurable. Pretty classy wine all in all if not one to age with for a decade. Drink 2024-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Cascina Chicco Ginestra Barolo Riserva DOCG 2016

A wise, mature and resolved Barolo that now sits in a lovely state of nebbiolo calm and interprets “the nobility of the soil,” this according to Fabio Faccenda. Ginestra does indeed breathe of its micro-climate, in particular the Ligurian winds that blow through to influence vine cycles. A lovely state of grace at this stage for Ginestra, surely a Barolo with a full coat of barrel, integrated, seasoned and pretty much seamless at this stage. Dark chocolate and liquid cocoa mark the finish. Ready to go. Drink 2023-2027.  Tasted January 2023

Conterno Fantino Barolo DOCG Vigna Sorì Ginestra 2019

Ginestra is of a higher tonal calling, black cherry fruit magnetized by balsamic and sweet leather. Opens up the olfactory like few others with peppery colts and volatile peaks. Cool and expansive through the middle though the void is filled with an austerity of variegate tannin. Not all perfect phenols here to speak of cru by way of vintage. Drink 2024-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Fratelli Alessandria Barolo DOCG Gramolere 2019

Gramolere is a lean, tart and tannic Barolo with little fruit joy up front. Quite tight, tough and austere, old school and herbal. Only time can heal the early wound and yet a wine of reserved fruit up front is not likely going to find heaps of natural sweetness later on. But it will always be Barolo. Drink 2025-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Amalia Cascina In Langa Barolo DOCG Le Coste Di Monforte 2019

Good bones and solid fruit give this Le Coste di Monforte Barolo the grounding and the tools to do right by vintage and carry a nebbiolo torch. This is precisely what 2019 has delivered and here the acceptance translates to exemplary mid-weight Barolo. It is especially proper because the tannins are just about spot on. Very good work. Drink 2024-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Diego Conterno Barolo DOCG Le Coste Di Monforte 2019

From 2019 and just a bit of a shift to the left with a sour-edginess that is a bit distracting while tannins are jilted austere in the other direction. Time will be of some assistance but things are just a bit off centre. Still there is a reasonable vintage sentiment drawn and for nebbiolo more than enough to go on. Drink 2024-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Diego Pressenda Barolo DOCG Le Coste Di Monforte 2019

Deep and seasoned nebbiolo takes full advantage of 2019 for this well pressed and therefore concentrated Barolo. Well representative of Le Coste di Monforte though not to be the longest ager of them all. Good acidity and quality tannins are supportive if a bit verdant overall. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Abbona Di Abbona Marziano e C. Barolo DOCG Pressenda 2019

A cask sample and one quite ready it seems as witnessed by the gregariousness of the aromas. Part dark cherry and part swarthy, full formed and intense. Tight Barolo for Monforte d’Alba, of strong voice and deep intention. Drink 2025-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023


With Giorgio Boschis

E. Pira & Figli Barolo DOCG Mosconi 2019

Lovely aromatic swirl from this Monforte d’Alba Barolo, a nebbiolo of liquorice and black cherry but more than that a full on swell of that fruit mixed with high acidity and heavy tannin. A big example, all in while also well-balanced, especially considering the concentration, extraction and heft. If it seems to miss the deft touch of some cru wines that’s youth talking and this surely impresses in so many respects. Drink 2025-2035.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Cascina Chicco Barolo DOCG Rocche Di Castelletto 2019

A bit of restraint on this Barolo that wants to be aromatic, no reduction per se but definitely a closed initialization. Plenty of attitude and swagger, confidence and knowhow. Dark cherry fruit for sure and a cool almost minty middle before relenting to a forceful and capable set of tannins. Proper and very correct example from Monforte d’Alba to represent Barolo, nebbiolo and 2019 with great distinction. Drink 2024-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Parusso Armando Di Parusso F. Lli Barolo DOCG Mosconi 2019

Aromas are heady and a bit dank, of creosote, graphite and other wood-derived resins that dominate the front. Wet pine and also cedar, orange chocolate and too much oily to sappy intensity. Quite out of whack.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Poderi Fogliati Barolo DOCG Treturne 2019

Solid and correct Barolo from Monforte d’Alba, purely and expressly nebbiolo if a bit over-extracted, boozy and even jammy. Good chewy dark cherry and liquorice though of a sour set of flavours. Persimmon and fig, some over maturity and sliding forward with haste. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Réva Barolo DOCG 2019

Nice citrus display, red and orange, into pomegranate and currants. Tart Barolo with vintage tang, idiomatic of Monforte d’Alba and solid throughout. Getting the roses and the tar, all the right moves, a vintage wine that does things with great correctness. Drink 2024-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Cantina Del Nebbiolo Barolo DOCG Perno 2019

Lovely example of 2019 Barolo with the ethereal aspect of Perno in Monforte d’Alba though also a wine with a highly perceptible presence of wood. The juxtaposition of bright red currant and rosy fruit against vanilla and spice is currently a disparate proposition though time will do wonders to bring the parts together. Will flesh out as a result and surely be a very different wine five-plus years down the road. Drink 2024-2030.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Raineri Barolo DOCG Perno 2019

Repeatable style it feels, as Perno though fruit here is a darker reddish orange with some earthiness involved. Leads to an easier tumble with the acids in particular but also the level of barrel involved. Integrates well at this early stage and the prospects for a clean and seamless future looks good indeed. Great structure here and a Barolo from Monforte d’Alba that should live well. Drink 2025-2031.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Schiavenza Di Pira Luciano Barolo DOCG Perno 2019

Funky and separately volatile, overheated and while trying to be a lithe and transparent Perno there is no hiding from the acetic meanderings and wood spice in full on smoulder. Ends up being tart, tight and austere. Drink 2025-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Sordo Giovanni Barolo DOCG Perno 2019

A verdant evergreen dominated Perno from the top, wet pine forest and cool savoury herbals, even a shot or two of Amaro. Similarly styled on the palate, chewy liquorice, blanched fennel and more of the same on repeat. Very tannic. A wine with character though one that is of an idiosyncratic kind. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Barolo Riserva DOCG 2017


Gomba Barolo Boschetti Riserva DOCG 2017

If Riserva smells like Riserva and Riserva acts like Riserva then it must be Riserva. The wisdom in aromatics from experience determine this 2017 as it must, in controlled concentration and of a maturity that speaks to grounding, not evolution. And yet this is just so very 2017 in the earthy but also edgy behaviour, somewhere between rustic and glorious. Clearly haute conditioning for the vintage and a Barolo from Boschetti cru that will live as long as any. Drink 2023-2033. Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Viberti Giovanni Barolo Riserva DOCG Bricco Delle Viole 2017

Bricco delle Viole and 2017 are stand alone and though we are seeing this two years advanced from current vintage 2019 Barolo there is something about this Riserva that speaks to it having always been this way. Swarthy and woollen that is, but so bloody characterful and with chalky tannins yet to resolve. This is a Barolo of strength that moves with elasticity, bending and stretching, working its muscles and biding time. Another year or so and there will be more elegance involved. Truly complex Barolo Riserva indeed. Drink 2024-2031.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 202

Brezza Giacomo E Figli Barolo Riserva DOCG Sarmassa Vigna Bricco 2017

Sarmassa as Riserva is quite intense from 2017, aromatically speaking, indicating a concentration and compacting of rose petals and sweet herbs. A handsome nebbiolo, firm and reserved, wearing a serious face and clearly built for long aging. Perhaps as long as any 2017 Riserva will. Drink 2024-2034.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Castiglione Falletto

Cavallotto Tenuta Bricco Boschis Barolo Riserva DOCG Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe 2017

Not entirely sure why there is a need or desire to show a Riserva 2017 from a cask sample but frankly this feels ready to be in bottle. The aromatics are resolved, the fruit laid in a state of preparedness and the nebbiolo character intact, with tact and in display of its varietal guarantee. No other 2017 exhibits this much acidity and while some might see it as edgy to verging on volatile, the reminder is this. Bricco Boschis, Castiglione Falletto and an old school soul for Barolo that will outlast them all. What a glorious Barolo, without holes and one hundred percent in charge of its emotions. Ours submit to the character of this great nebbiolo. Drink 2025-2040.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Giacosa Fratelli Barolo Riserva DOCG Scarrone Vigna Mandorlo 2017

Scarrone out of Castiglione Falletto is a deep one from 2017, of extreme ripeness and an almost brooding character with baritone voice. Very tannic on top of deep, dark and cimmerian fruit, compact and of more density than most. Nothing left to resolve (for the most part) and these next five years will be the best. Drink 2023-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Rosoretto Barolo Parussi Riserva DOCG 2017

Parussi as Riserva 2017 is the most fruit juicy and accessible of them all. Red berries in the wild strawberry to raspberry with great sour tang and fine supportive acidity. Structure is one and done so drink this wine sooner rather than later. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

La Morra

San Biagio Barolo Riserva DOCG Bricco San Biagio 2017

Barrel sample so take it with a grain of salt through five-plus years in there should always be plenty to learn and figure out. Bricco San Biagio presents a lithe and transparent nebbiolo, regardless of appellation and this one is all red roses, many of them in a drying state. Lots of perfume but not tremendously complex. Some dried herbs and tannin doing the same. Further time in cask will not do this nebbiolo any favours. Drink 2024-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Rocche Costamagna Barolo Riserva DOCG Rocche Dell’Annunziata 2017

Once again the resolution is in while the chances for revolution are past. Full and purposed Riserva here from Rocche dell-Annunziata, plenty of formidable tannin and the kind of exercise to speak of traditional values. Wait one more year but the nebbiolo here is well on its way. Time to bottle! Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind from a cask sample at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Monforte d’Alba

Cascina Sot di Sanso Maurizio Barolo Riserva DOCG Bricco San Pietro 2017

Grippy, firm and tannic Riserva 2017, transparent and yet elevated in glycerin, minty cool and dried herbal savoury. Yes, particularly tannic stuff here from Bricco San Pietro in Monforte d’Alba, fruit more than ready, structure always in charge. Must have traditional Piedmontese cuisine to make this one sing. Drink 2023-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Costa Di Bussia Tenuta Arnulfo Barolo Riserva DOCG Bussia 2017

And then there is Bussia, big and broad, muscular yet of a wide berth and shoulders stretching far and wide. Complexity of aromatics as classic as they come, tar and roses, cherries and leather. Perfectly repeatable on the palate, even keeled despite its tension and grip. A Barolo that is so bloody real and knowable, not one of fantasy and imagination. For the true collector. Drink 2024-2034.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Ettore Fontana Barolo Riserva DOCG Bussia 2017

Here the lightest and most transparent nebbiolo known to the Langhe in that triad of origin, for Barolo Riserva DOCG 2017 out of Bussia in Monforte d’Alba. See right through this lithe one and use creativity in imagination to consider just how beautiful it surely has too be. The enchantress, the elegance of elegance, body, flesh and bones all perfect and in synch, a relationship between all, as one. A nebbiolo for which place of origin and vines have forged a union to last forever. There is neither rush to begin drinking nor haste to see the future. Drink 2025-2040. Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Cantina Stroppiana Barolo Riserva DOCG Bussia 2017

Bussia is the largest of the crus and so there is no surprise that nebbiolo comes away quite different from producer to producer. This Barolo Riserva DOCG 2017 is a darker, richer and more mature one though it’s not necessarily a question of ripeness. Extraction yes and also maceration. Expect both in this ’17 but also some drying tannins, peppery piques and a moment of unresolved sulphites. Really gets into the olfactory. A touch problematic and still needs to settle down. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Franco Conterno Cascina Sciulun Barolo Riserva DOCG Bussia 2017

Yet another Bussia unlike the others, here with some mature Barolo Riserva DOCG 2017 fruit and a gentle woolliness. Quite tart and chalky, rustic to a pretty notable degree. Tannins are still gritty. Drink 2024-2026.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Fortemasso Barolo Riserva DOCG Castelletto 2017

Haughty aromatic Castelletto from out of Monforte d’Alba commune matched by a fulsome, glycerin and dark berry set of flavours. A 2017 that’s all in with great ripeness and a cool evergreen middle. Warms at the finish and feels a bit elevated in alcohol but finds peace in maintaining balance. Drink 2023-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Anselma Famiglia Barolo Riserva DOCG Adasi 2017, Più Communi

Deep, broad, wide breadth of more than one commune’s fruit composition, classic dark and modern fruit-styled Barolo. In terms of Riserva DOCG 2017 this fulfills the appellate warrant with concentration if not complexity. It will impress on a professional level if not a cerebral one. It’s good don’t get me wrong but not a nebbiolo of either fantasy or soul. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Negretti Barolo Riserva DOCG Bricco Ambrogio Indio 2017, Roddi

An impressive Barolo Riserva DOCG 2017 because of its balance between concentration and structure with a wildly fresh berry set of aromatics. A Bricco Ambrogio nebbiolo in full open bloom right now, much of its structure exorcized and with acidity marching along every step of the way. A modern iteration drinking really well though with edgy tannins that seek salty protein for best results. Ready for Roddi. Drink 2023-2027.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Serralunga d’Alba

Enrico Serafino Barolo Riserva DOCG Briccolina 2017 

Briccolina out of Serralunga d’Alba is on the fulsome, opaque and ropey side of nebbiolo and yet there is a litheness of being that allows it to breath quite freely. In others words a Barolo Riserva 2017 spoken though modern vernacular, far away from ancient Piedmointese dialect. Suave and smooth, liquid chalky and just nearing the opening gambit of its play. Drink 2024-2029.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Réva Barolo Riserva DOCG Lazzarito 2017

Lazzarito is a conundrum as a cru because the nebbiolo from its Serralunga d’Alba soils can make for strange wines and also those that are simply brilliant. It is the Bourgogne of Barolo, fickle, challenging and of highest potential. This Riserva 2017 finds the great track, in delivery of fine and beautiful fruit, sweetest acidities and essential underlying structure. Both gorgeous and built to last. Extreme modernity too. Drink 2025-2035.  Tasted blind at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Barolo Riserva DOCG 2007 and Barolo DOCG 2009

Marchesi Di Barolo Barolo Riserva DOCG 2007, Barolo

Nearly 16 years of age, not exactly a cool or middle of the road vintage and so great showing here from Marchese di Barolo. Impeccably orchestrated nebbiolo in fact with no cru mention but the level of freshness is impressive. Hard to believe in a way, but hey if anyone could have been capable it would be the Marchesi via the famiglia Abbona. Dark raspberry and cherry with sweet reduced balsamic and great persistence. Everything at the right pace in its right place. “Pace!” Drink 2023-2027.  Tasted at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Casa E. Mirafiore Barolo Riserva DOCG 2007, Più Communi

Age is very apparent, tartufo and balsamic well engaged and freshness a thing of the past. The aspect of this Barolo Riserva 2007 that keeps the pace is acidity and a liquid chalkiness of the tannin, even a bit grainy still. Will gain complexity and interest with another few years as those last two aspects soften, but fruit will always be a thing of the past. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Brezza Giacomo E Figli Dal 1885 Barolo DOCG Cannubi 2009, Barolo

A most unique aromatic emission from Brezza’s 2009 Barolo which is truly indicative of traditional winemaking in an era old enough to be considered historical. Very nutty aromas now, roasted chestnut and toasted hazelnut, still chalky and acids working the wine. A faint linger or at least a reminiscence of fresh fruit but mostly kernel and earth at this point. Drink 2023-2024.  Tasted at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Casa E. Di Mirafiore Barolo DOCG Paiagallo 2009, Barolo

Quite typical for 13-14 year old Barolo with secondary drifting into tertiary aromas of nuts, earth and spiced vegetals. The mouthfeel here is exceptional and the wood has done well to create this feeling. Some emotion in this wine. Drink 2023-2024.  Tasted at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo DOCG Cannubi 2009, Barolo

Giacomo Fenochio’s Cannubi is something completely different as it is compared to the other ‘09s and shares a moment or two with its own style looking forward 10 years to the Anteprima 2019. The fruits are all there; cherry, plum and orange, macerating in their combined juices and so to be such a fruity wine at this age is something special. Spice and balsamic as well but no real secondary push. Lots of wood though with chocolate all over the finish. For the style this has been done really well. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Marchesi Di Barolo Barolo DOCG Sarmassa 2009, Barolo

Sarmassa remains in very good shape from the 2009 vintage though the warmth has advanced the fruit even beyond that of the 2007 Riserva, all from non specified Barolo commune vineyards. The tartufo has begun too take hold of the aromas, along with wood derived accents like soy and older tar. Smooth as silk to no real surprise and a nebbiolo to drink with braised beef cheek or classic tajarin. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Virna Di Borgogno Barolo DOCG Cannubi 2009, Barolo

And now for something completely different. Barolo DOCG 2009 by Virna di Borgogno is the nebbiolo of highest tonality, of volatility that persists without fully taking over the wine. The tannins are also amazingly persistent all the while there just really isn’t much fruit left in the mix. So much curiosity here. Drink 2023-2024.  Tasted at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Cavallotto Barolo DOCG Bricco Boschis 2009, Barolo

Bricco Boschis by Cavollotto is a wild thing, a savage of nebbiolo that no other 2009 can touch. By far the most complex Barolo of this retrospective tasting and while it may seem even a bit peppery and woolly there is so much going on you simply do not know where to begin. I would wager that this Barolo is less than halfway into its tenure and the best is yet to come. Drink 2023-2029.  Tasted at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Aurelio Settimo Barolo DOCG 2009, La Morra

Fine, mildly funky and surely earthy older Barolo here from Aurelio Settimo of the most traditional and abiding kind. All the expectations are met and aromas extended. From balsamic to soy, toasted nuts to caramelized orange. Very complex, very classy stuff. Plenty of life yet to live. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Gagliasso Mario Barolo DOCG Rocche Dell’Annunziata 2009, La Morra

Quite evolved, creamy and a seriously oaky 2009 Barolo. Sweetness in a way like no other. Drink 2023.  Tasted at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Mauro Molino Barolo DOCG Conca 2009, La Morra

Plum fleshed and spiced, tart and sweet as well, a hallmark of 2009 and when nebbiolo was made this way. Lots of wood and yet that fruit persistence melds well with how much time was spent inside, but also in the kind of barrels used. Showing beautifully and drinking equally so. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Cascina Chicco Barolo DOCG Castelletto 2009, Monforte d’Alba

All chocolate and in so many respects a wine of wood and not much else. At this stage the 2009 Barolo from Cascina Chicco out of Monforte d’Alba’s Castelletto is out of fruit and nearly out of time. Drinks like old wines bathed in barrel will, beautiful for family and friends. Drink 2023-2024.  Tasted at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Famiglia Anselma Barolo DOCG Le Coste Di Monforte 2009, Monforte d’Alba

Still a touch off reduction which is always quite amazing considering how many years gone by should have left this aspect behind. Toasted nuts and smoked meat define the tone in a nebbiolo from Monforte d’Alba that carries its Le Coste cru as a reminder of speciality until today. Famiglia Anselma’s 2009 is showing with haute distinction and kudos to the deft touch. This is an older Barolo in great shape. Drink 2023-2027.  Tasted at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Paolo Manzone Barolo DOCG Meriame 2009, Serralunga d’Alba

Meriame by Paolo Manzone still exhibits some red cherry and plum fruit so that is a great positive for a 13-14 year-old Barolo. The persistence in balance and relationship between fruit and acidity is commendable with help by tannins that have all but finished their yeoman work. Finishes with just a few grains but for the most part this wine sings as it was meant to do. Drink 2023-2025.  Tasted at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Sordo Giovanni Barolo DOCG Gabutti 2009, Serralunga D’alba

Sordo Giovanni’s 2009 from Gabutti cru has hit the soft caramel and toffee stage with nary a moment of fruit lingering in the nether. Nuts and spice are there along with pretty persistent tannins, no doubt as a by-product of this hard, rocky and antediluvian terroir on the angular side of Barolo. Still needs years though as mentioned there won’t be fruit around when the time comes to that fruition. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Fratelli Alessandria Barolo DOCG Monvigliero 2009, Verduno

Behold the excellence and power of Monvigliero to plod across nearly a decade and a half of time and emerge with vital energy and fruit, untamed and unscathed. This is terrific nebbiolo from Fratelli Alessandria and it’s in a really terrific place. Great showing! Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted at Nebbiolo Prima, January 2023

Library vintages

Cavalier Bartolomeo Barolo DOCG Altenasso 2018

A mix of Castiglione Falletto soils in clay, tufo and calcari prepare this Altenasso for its 24 month stay in grandi botti. A big and broad shouldered nebbiolo, quite glycerin of consistency and well adapted in the face of chaos, challenge and finally the heat of the vintage. Wasn’t simple or easy and the complexities here are a reflection of the stress but the final equation sees a Barolo both clean and pure. Five spice powder makes for some exotica and the tannic texture echoes that dusty and fluffy tufo feeling. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted January 2023

Burzi Alberto Barolo DOCG 2018, La Morra

In 2018 Alberto Burzi decided not to bottle any single vineyard nebbiolo and so all that important fruit has been committed to the classico. All from La Morra vineyards, some vines 85 years of age and other in the 35-40 range. Saw 35 days of cappello sommerso maceration, a technique normally reserved for Capalot, Roncaglie and La Serra. Alberto’s is truly stylish Barolo because he made the right decisions. This ’18 is rich yet elastic and proportionally in balance. Consider it a super cru example of La Morra. Drink 2024-2030.  Tasted January 2023

E. Pira & Figli Barolo DOCG Via Nuova 2018

Via Nuova is a blend of three communes fruit: Serralunga, Monforte and Barolo, the latter of which is the home cantina for Chiara and Giorgio Boschis. Winemaking is the same as the Langhe nebbiolo though the Barolo spends two years in 50-50 cask and barriques. From a really warm season and so “2018 is for drinking immediately,” says Giorgio, though that would not likely have been the case six months to a year ago. Has now moved ahead with expedience and prowess, sitting in that proverbial state of elegance and grace. This despite the race to ripeness, inclusive of tannins so sweet, sound and worthy. Drink 2023-2027.  Tasted January 2023

Alberto Cordero

Cordero Di Montezemolo Barolo DOCG Bricco Gattera 2018, La Morra

Alberto Cordero explains how a particular clone provides the smallest of berries raised on the Gattera hill at the centre of his Cordero Di Montezemolo estate. “A really challenging vintage,” remembers Cordero, “rainy in April and May, impossible to walk in the vineyards, very unstable. In June, so much mildew. Then good, dry and hot for the rest of the season. In the end it was stability and balance that exerted the all important influence on richness and juiciness. Clear, equanimous Barolo, of fruit and grip connected by glycerin and sweetness. Not overtly tannic and is already beginning to resolve. From an early 2023 vantage point this nebbiolo is precisely classic. Surely a success created by the work put in, especially in the vineyard back in the early part of the season. Drink 2023-2028.  Tasted January 2023

With Riccardo Bera

Bera Barolo DOCG Mosconi 2017, Monforte d’Alba

From this vintage the fruit is not 100 per cent Bera and just shortly thereafter the Bera family purchased a portion of the famous Monforte cru. This is the first and only trial vintage before the purchase but the focus was on acquiring a piece. Straight away the dry and brushy vintage while some red fruit freshness persists. Some austerity yet starting, to advance, mature and soften. The reconciliation and full recovery may be a year or two away but this nebbiolo is showing the signs. Quality precursor to what is coming form the new plantation and Bera’s full control of their own Mosconi Barolo destiny. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted January 2023

Cavalier Bartolomeo Barolo DOCG Fiasco 2016, Castiglione Falletto

Only 700 bottles were produced of this first and still only example of Cavalier Bartolomeo’s Riserva called Fiasco. The word can of course mean the same in English but could also refer to a flagon, carafe or as many remember, the straw wrapped bottles of Chianti. Would think the reference here is more about tension and classic nebbiolo structure out of a vintage overflowing with such features. Only the newest, freshest and toastiest barrels were used yet there is an impressive integration of parts. The mention of Fiasco is fantasy but the fruit source is the same Altennaso cru as that “menzione” Barolo. High calcareous soils lend a lightning streak and strike to this very wooded nebbiolo with great distractive ability. Quality is apposite to quantity in a Barolo of truly singular nature. Drink 2025-2032.  Tasted January 2023

Pio Cesare Barolo DOCG 2016, Più Communi

A blend of five villages (50 percent Serralunga with Monforte d’Alba, La Morra, Grinzane and Novello) and seven total vineyards. “Please do not call this fucking normale,” pleads Cesare Benvenuto and he’s not joking. There is in fact nothing regular or ubiquitous about this serious and trenchantly purposed cuvée. No pedantic character but instead a going concern of Barolo places. Only 7,000 bottles are made so do the math and understand the problem. Poignancy and nebbiolo so pretty. “For me, from my heart and taste,” says Benvenuto, “in my point of view this is the way to make true Barolo.” Hard to argue when the years have aided and abetted, brought this 2016 to a place where you can feel what makes this vision a reality. Good to go and almost surely for another 10 years in much the same way. Remove the emotion and accept the science. Drink 2025-2032.  Last tasted January 2023

A blend of communes for true estate blending business. Rich and developed dark fruit that goes for broke right from the word go. Also major tannins of mean business and some final bitters. No turning back from this one. Drink 2022-2026.  Tasted January 2020

Agricola Marrone Barolo DOCG Bussia 2016

Three years later and Bussia is still a baby. There may be some signs of advancement but they are whispers and so it remains status quo for this most statuesque Barolo. So fresh, so stable.  Last tasted January 2023

Welcome to Bussia. This is the prudent one, far from promiscuous and very promising. Hides everything and is not so fast to give anything away. The textural components are all together; chew, crunch, soft and crackling. Grooves slowly and changes tempo. Not sure which way it will go but its subtlety and its impression will not be denied. From Monforte d’Alba. Drink 2022-2029.  Tasted January 2020

Agricola Marrone Barolo DOCG Pichemej 2009

A cuvée of two vineyards, Bussia and Santa Maria, from Monforte d’Alba and Barolo. The word means “more than better” in local Piedmontese dialect and for the Marrone sisters Pichmej is their grandfather Carlo’s Barolo. Spends 30 months in grandi botti to emerge silky and smooth, especially with conditioning having brought this nebbiolo into what is now a fully mature stage. Has entered the drying moments of its fruit years and overall the evolution of tenure is pretty much complete. A lovely position to be in. Drink 2023-2026.  Tasted January 2023

G. D. Vajra Albe Barolo DOCG 2008

A vintage that was picked late and to this day wells with freshness and tension. So intact, tactful and nosing of tar, candied rose petal and liquorice. Frozen in a perfect moment of time, just musky enough to think about roasted meats and also caramelizing vegetables. A thank you to Isidoro Vaira for bringing out this older Barolo that clearly shows challenging it is to assess wines like these when they are so young.  Last tasted January 2023.

“Lovely smelling red though at first blind I’m not sure I’d place a heavy bet on it turning up same suit Nebbiolo. Wait, something Piemontese this way comes on the flop; dried roses, nearing potpurri, though covered in a grainy melt of chocolate and wood. A river of tannin and mouth cleansing acidity rounds out the flush. At $40 it’s a good red, if not a fine Barolo.  Tasted February 2014

Good to go!


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Three DOCG pillars of Asti: Secco, Dolce, Moscato d’Asti

For a wine region to succeed it must exercise sustainable principles and do so by meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Investment argues for three main pillars: economic, environmental, and social, a.k.a. people, planet and profits. In scientific terms sustainability refers to an ecosystem’s ability to exist constantly at a cost within a universe that evolves towards thermodynamic equilibrium within a state of maximum entropy. A modern vernacular would speak of the coexistence between humans and their host biosphere. A transfer of these ideological theories into wine-speak says that in Asti the growers, producers and their appointed Tutela dell’Asti DOCG chaperones have collectively agreed to set the appellative wines of Asti Secco DOCG, Asti Dolce DOCG and Moscato d’Asti DOCG as representative of their present and future. Three pillars of Asti.

“Born in 1932, the Consortium for the Promotion of Asti has a clear mission: to perform all the necessary actions to protect, promote and enhance the value of Asti and Moscato d’Asti, in Italy and the world.” The sustainable manifesto is clear and one day spent inside the offices of the Consortium will instruct and explain all you need to know about economic, social, environmental, export, security and what Italians refer to as disciplinare policies. Regulations regarding vineyard yields, levels of alcohol, sugar, extract and bars of pressure are so defined as to ensure current production and sales viability but also explicitly what the next generation will need to carry the work forward.

Guido Bezzo and the Asti lab crew

The Consortium’s Laboritorio Analisi for the Tutela dell’Asti DOCG is one of the most advanced and technologically impressive anywhere, with the mechanization capable of carrying out a diverse set of analyses. Under the guise of Guido Bezzo, who incidentally also happens to be a virtuoso trumpeter, the lab exerts its expertise far beyond pedestrian testing of alcohol, sugar and varietal purity. It delves deeper than mere organoleptic conclusions. The lab’s research works to investigate the impact analysis results for one 750 mL bottle of Asti wine covering categories that includes a mind-boggling set of parameters: Climate change; Reduction of the ozone layer; Toxicity and carcinogenic effects on humans; Particulate/smog caused by emissions of inorganic substances; Ionizing radiation effects on human inorganic health; Photochemical ozone formation; Acidification; Terrestrial, aquatic and marine eutrophication; Ecotoxicity in freshwater aquatic environments; Soil transformation; Resource depletion in water, minerals and fossils. Heady stuff indeed.

Dinner at Teatro Alfieri, Asti with President of the Consorzio Moscato d’Asti DOCG President Romano Dogliotti

La Caudrina’s Romano Dogliotti is President of the Consorzio dell’Asti DOCG and like so many Langhe winemakers, he is intrinsically tied to tradition but with a decisive openness to new technologies. In line withy many of his compatriots, Dogliotto’s Moscato d’Asti is made by putting yeast and moscato grape must in an autoclave. The must ferments at low temperature in this reinforced fermentation vessel until about half the natural sugar is consumed, then the wine is quickly passed through a micron filter to arrest the fermentation. The result is Moscato d’Asti at five and a half degrees of alcohol by volume and enough residual sweetness to conjure the feeling of eating ripe orchard fruit. In Asti the moscato comes out three ways: Secco, Dolce, Moscato d’Asti.

There are 10,000 hectares of vineyards for these lightly sparkling, off-dry to sweet Asti white wines and the Consorzio is entrusted to promote and protect the wines in the appellation. They are widely imitated and so undertaking legal action and registering trademarks in every country is a necessary side-hustle of the job. In terms of producer requests, all changes and modifications applied for must be approved by the consortium. An integral aspect of the work involves field, vineyard as well as laboratory research.

Teatro Alfieri, Asti

Asti covers parts of 52 communes, three provinces; Asti, Cuneo, Alessandria and three territories; Langhe, Roero and Monferrato. The vineyard landscape of these three famous Piedmontese areas were recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2014, Un territorio Patrimonio dell’Umanità. Sedimentary soils that date back 10-15 million years predominate. One is the Pliocenic basin of Asti to the northeast. The to the west around Canelli there are Serravallian (Middle Miocene) soils, stratified layers of blue clay, sand and lime. Many believe this to be the best composition for Moscato d’Asti. To the east in the area of Strevi the ground is Tortonian (late Miocene), younger at five to 10 million years, with more clay and more lime in deeper layers and colour. 

Laboritorio Analisi for the Tutela dell’Asti DOCG

The crux of the varietal situation is twofold, at once for vineyards subsisting at the foot of the Alps and also drawing energy being proximate to the sea. Seventy-five per cent of the vineyards are directly protected by the mountains. As seemingly everywhere, climate is changing here too. In the last 15 years average temperatures have increased by one degree. In the past 58 years the average increase has been by two. More important are temperature abnormalities. The centrepiece moscato bianco is a very sensitive grape and easily subjected to diseases. A study of 15 experimental vineyards continues to assess the vintages and the shifting climatic effect on the wines.

Agnolotti al tartufo bianco, Ristorante Cascinale Nuovo (Isola d’Asti –

Guyot training is appropriate for poor quality soils and lower yields. Broken down by altitude, 44 per cent of the vineyards are at 250-300m and 30 per cent at 300-450m. In terms of slope, 2,770 of 9,700ha have a gradient higher than 30 per cent, 336 ha with a gradient of more than 50. “Heroic agriculture” is the moniker bestowed. “The Sorì vineyards.” No mechanization is employed and a certain crucial must is picking times, especially in terms of the preservation of moscato bianco’s aromatic compounds.  Yields per hectare are set at 9.5 tonnes for Asti and Moscato d’Asti, the approximate price at 1.1 Euro.

With Andrea Costa, Vini Marenco

The 60,000 tonnes kept at negative four degrees in summer costs dearly in equipment and energy. It is widely believed that juice can stay in tank for up to two years without losing aromatic concentration. Fermentation takes place at 20 degrees in pressure tanks developed by Italian sparkling wine pioneer Dr. Federico Martinotti, director of the Research Institute for the Wine of Asti, who patented the method in 1895. Martinotti is credited with creating the method of developing the bubbles inside of tanks. The juice can stand pressures of more than 10 bars. Yeasts must be stopped abruptly (in a matter of a few hours) to avoid off odours and flavours, i.e rotten egg and cooked cabbage. Centrifuge and filters are used. In the past pasteurization at 50 degrees was the norm but now micro filtration screens out the yeast (at 0.2 microns) and stabilizes the wines. Agronomist/viticuilturalist Daniele Eberle also explains how Fratelli Gancia used the same techniques that the French used here in Piemonte in the late 1800s. The city of Canelli, cultural home of Asti holds the highest concentration of companies that make all the equipment necessary for bottling Spumante wines.

Étretat – Claude Monet, Palazzo Mazzetti

These are the disciplinare for the three appellation wines:

  • Asti Dolce DOCG: 6-7 per cent alcohol by volume, 90-100 g/L residual sugar and Sparkling at maximum 4-5 bars of pressure
  • Moscato d’Asti DOCG: Minimum 4.5 up to 6.5 per cent alcohol by volume, 120-130 g/L residual sugar and Sparkling at maximum 2.5 bars of pressure 
  • Asti Secco DOCG: Minimum 11.0 per cent alcohol by volume, 17 g/L residual sugar and Sparkling at 3-3.5 maximum bars of pressure

Massive thanks to Mariana Nedic, Marina Nedic, Ana Murguia and the staff at IEEM Communications. Looking back at December travels and work assignments in Italy I now find myself focusing in on the new and forward thinking Moscato d’Asti stories in the heart of Piemonte. Tough wines to produce but these traditional producers have to do it. It Is their heritage, imperative and pleasure. At the Consorzio dell’Asti in Isola d’Asti the steps and stages of Asti’s gently sparkling wines gave way to a blind tasting of the following seven. 

Blind Tasting

Duchessa Lia Asti Secco DOCG Santo Stefano Belbo, Piedmont, Italy

Lime and a soapy entry but on the drier side, likely Asti Secco. Feels like 15 g/L of sugar with gentle and supportive acidity. Somewhere between peach and pear, clean and perhaps too much so. Certainly a fine mousse and persistence. A new style from which the aromatics are diminished and yet the gain in versatility in this case indicates one done well. Does well to avoid the potential of bitters marking the finish. Alcohol is at 11.0 per cent and sugars could be as high as 17 g/L though this seems lower in the 10-12 range. Drink 2019-2021. Tasted blind at the Asti DOCG consortium, December 2019

Acquesi Asti Dolce DOCG, Piedmont, Italy ($13.95)

Asti Dolce for sure, crazy sweet and reminiscent of a lime creamsicle. Aromatic but not overtly so, all controlled by the sugars and so very cloying. Exceptionally foamy, creamed and whipped in mousse. Perfectly suited to flavour a zabaglione to work alongside hazelnuts baked into a soft, crumbly cake. Alcohol at 7.0 per cent and sugars at 90-100 g/L. Drink 2019.  Tasted blind at the Asti DOCG consortium, December 2019

Gancia Asti Secco DOCG Cuvée Asti 24 Messi Método Classico 2012, Piedmont, Italy

A wine that owes to the experience of Carlo Gancia in Canelli. Wildly aromatic, a Langhe experiential moment straight away conceived and delivered. A Piedmontese traditional method bubble that is clearly more complex than kin simplicities. Bottle fermented and made from grapes harvested in 2012. Recently disgorged so at least six years on the lees technically Asti Dolce but really no affinity because the secondary and even tertiary aromas are in. Baking scents and oxidative meets caramelized notes are part of the mix, as is this ginger-orange créme brûlée with a healthy compliment of torched sugar flavours. A complex mess of aromatics, next level texture and most of all, multi-developed levels and layers of sweetness. Drink 2019-2022. Tasted blind at the Asti DOCG consortium, December 2019

Bèra Moscato d’ Asti DOCG 2019, Piedmont, Italy ($29.30)

Now into Moscato d’Asti with the most classic presentation, aromatically effusive, effective, generous and free. The sweetness in such a moscato is so very stone fruit based and subjected to a perfectly ripe squeeze of more than one citrus. Lemon, lime and orange without forgetting the smells of their blossoms. Quite correct and more so, leaving an impression that is not soon left for dust. From fruit grown in Meviglie at the limit of Neive. Drink 2019-2021.  Tasted blind at the Asti DOCG consortium, December 2019

Michele Chiarlo Moscato d’Asti DOCG Nivole 2018, Piedmont, Italy (650440, $9.75, 375ml)

Waxy, aerosol citrus and perhaps a year older with prevalent if weighty acids that settle this Moscato d’Asti into a secondary period. Both aromatics and freshness are diminished though so seem the sugars so the balance is still well-afforded. Ultimately a perfect example of the ripe peach scents so expected from Moscato d’Asti. Drink 2019-2021. Tasted blind at the Asti DOCG consortium, December 2019

Mongioia Moscato d’Asti DOCG Crivella 2016, Piedmont, Italy

Quite toasty and though no wood was used it shows a remarkably semi-oxidative and lightly caramelized character that brings colour, cooked apple and creamy nectarine mousse. It has certainly come to a more interesting and charming place with just a moment’s liquorice and this white fig flavour. Worth some fun and giggles with persistent acids. Fruit from steep vineyards in Santo Stefano Belbo in the province of Cuneo at the border of Asti. Drink 2019-2020.  Tasted blind at the Asti DOCG consortium, December 2019

Mongioia Moscato d’Asti DOCG Crivella 2003, Piedmont, Italy

Quite the advanced Moscato d’Asti here at the edge of tumbling down from the Sorì. Oxidative and fully caramelized notes, with preserved lemon, torched orange and candied ginger. The sugars are accentuated as a result of the diminishing acidity. Still a joyous showing for a 16 year-old moscato. Fruit from steep vineyards in Santo Stefano Belbo in the province of Cuneo at the border of Asti. Drink 2019.  Tasted December 2019

Tasting next door to Monet

After the Masterclass and blind tasting we transferred to Asti and convened in Palazzo Mazzetti for a walk-around with the producers in the company of a small but exquisite exhibit, “Monet e gli Impressionisti.” These winemakers are finding new success by making use of advanced technologies, higher altitudes, specific soils and identifiable crus. These are the Moscato d’Asti I tasted and the world may know they are to be reckoned with.

Azienda Agricola Cerino Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2019, Piedmont, Italy

A curious and interesting moscato this one, fresh enough and so very basil herbal, then white flowers and lime. A touch refined in white sweetness, also tart, long and elastic. Unique and quite fine. Drink 2019-2020.  Tasted December 2019

Azienda Agricola Gallo Cascina Cabonaldo Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2019, Piedmont, Italy

Located in Montabone, halfway between Canelli (to the west) and Acqui Terme (to the southeast). The vineyards at 320m help strengthen the haughty aromatics, even while this moscato acts pale and sallow though clearly fresh, clean and seemingly simple. Nothing wrong with that in fact this is one of the easiest feats of drinking amenability. Direct, correct and highly effective. Drink 2019-2020.  Tasted December 2019

Lorenzo Gozzelino and Silviana Ignat

Azienda Agricola Gozzelino Sergio Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2018, Piedmont, Italy

Righteous, energetic, ripe and frantic moscato is exemplary as such because it enlivens the heart and enlightens the mind. Big, bouncy, bountiful and welling with blossom aromatics leading to rich, striking, full flavour. Lemon and apricot develop a marmalade of unction, glycerin and natural texture. This fruit from Gozzelino’s vineyards is top notch. Drink 2019-2022.  Tasted December 2019

Gozzelino Moscato Passito DOC Piemonte 2012, Piedmont, Italy

Following the manual picking of withered Moscato grapes in November they are pressed and put in refrigerated vats under controlled fermentation. In dessert wine terms for moscato in Piedmont this is the truth, spirited and flashy. Pineapple with an adage of savour in pencil lead and sage of a texture in silken layers. Brazil Nuts are all over the finish as a nougat or an ulterior marzipan. Textbook stuff. Drink 2019-2027.  Tasted December 2019

Azienda Agricola Scagliola Giacomo E Figlio Moscato d’Asti DOCG Sifasol 2018, Piedmont, Italy

Located in Canelli here’s a sweetly viscous moscato very lime-driven from calcareous terroir. High quality acidity off the sorì (top portion) from south-facing vines 70 years of age. High level scents of orange blossom, apricot and sage, so typical of Canelli. Really balanced moscato in every respect. Drink 2019-2022.  Tasted December 2019

Azienda Agricola Terrabianca Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2019, Piedmont, Italy

Azienda Agricola Terrabianca di Alpiste Federico e Andrea is located in Mango at 520-550m, one of the highest points in the Langhe and not far from Castagnole. This for moscato is surely something other, something curious, sweetly magical. Hard not to love a glass. Drink 2019-2021.  Tasted December 2019

Azienda Agricola Terrabianca Moscato d’Asti Vignot DOCG 2019, Piedmont, Italy

Terrabianca’s Vignot cru moscato is from Canelli off a south exposure for vines of 65 years-old. One of the richest Moscato d’Asti wines you will ever indulge in the fine, smooth and feathery way of lemon curd, but also paraffin waxy and spiked by a limoncello spirit. Zested, striking, maximizing varietal and stylistic enjoyment. Clearly a cut above and so very singular. Drink 2019-2024.  Tasted December 2019

Ristorante Cascinale Nuovo (Isola d’Asti –

Azienda Agricola Terrabianca Moscato d’Asti Vignot DOCG 2012, Piedmont, Italy

A rare opportunity to taste the possibilities in aged Moscato d’Asti, here from Terrabianca’s south-facing Vignot cru in Canelli off of vines of 65 years of age. Vines that soak up maximum sun, not just to promote an oriented sweet richesse but also the ability to age. Now having developed honey and the early stages of petrol and persistent tonal depth. Spurts of lemon are the near-term projection with a real smoulder on the vaporous horizon. Really smart stuff in a world of similitude occupied by the likes of riesling and sémillon. Drink 2019-2021.  Tasted December 2019

Cantina Alice Bel Colle Moscato d’Asti DOCG Paiè 2018, Piedmont, Italy

From the hills of Alto Monferrato in and about turn of face with 100 per cent of the moscato grapes subjected to a passito methodology of drying for a few months before turning into sparkling wine. Finishes at 5.5 per cent alcohol and 150 g/L of residual sugar. “It is a new way of showing Moscato d’Asti,” tells the spokesperson on behalf of the choir for 100 members. There can be no argument there. Royally sweet and unequivocally in hyperbole of all the aromatic and fruit concentrated aspects of the Md’A style. Truly haughty and heightened in caricature respect. Is it too much? Drink 2019-2022.  Tasted December 2019

Cantina Tre Secoli Moscato D’asti DOCG 2018, Piedmont, Italy

Located in Canelli Tre Secoli’s moscato is so correct. Combines the full frontal aromatic attack with an easing into back end creaminess and big orange citrus flavour. Perfectly ripe and intentional mild sparkling wine with moments occupied by lemon, lime curd and apricot marmalade. Drink 2019-2020.  Tasted December 2019

Coppo 1892 Moscato d’Asti DOCG Moncalvina “Canelli” 2018, Piedmont, Italy ($23.20 – Estimate)

“Moscato loves altitude as compared to barbera,” tells Luigi Coppo, “and now is the time to think about Moscato d’Asti.” Luigi says it’s a serious wine because it’s difficult to make. No sugars are added or carbonization performed and it’s a vintage wine. These are the three tenets that matter most. From Canelli vineyards between 200-280m and the classicism of construct and effect is pure magic in proper and precise, sleight of hand ability. That’s what it needs to be, no more, no less. Naturally sweet, a pinch of salt and all the orchard fruit; apple, pear, lemon and orange. All together in balance and gift with tannin on a real dry finish. Drink 2019-2023.  Tasted December 2019

Fontanafredda Asti DOCG 2018, Piedmont, Italy

Intense and sharp, mildly herbal and heavy into the citrus to contrast and compliment the heavy sweetness. Some finishing bitters add a feeling of complexity. Drink 2019-2020.  Tasted December 2019

Tartufo Bianco, Ristorante Cascinale Nuovo (Isola d’Asti –

Fontanafredda Moscato d’Asti DOCG Le Fronde 2018, Piedmont, Italy

Here lies Moscato d’Asti at the furthest edge of sweetness and creamy consistency. After the pleasant aromas of peaches and crème frâiche come the stirring moments of a dull anxiety. That feeling of imbalance marks the finish. Drink 2019.  Tasted December 2019

Gianni Doglia Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2019, Piedmont, Italy ($20.00 – Estimate)

The 25th anniversary bottling that combs all the moscato vineyards on the estate though truth be told they all produce quite different wines. “Gianni’s dream was to produce the best moscato ever,” tells sister Paola. The clarity and clean, clean living is evident and with thanks to upstart acidity to balance the sugars. A soil-driven expression of moscato for a fresh and crunchy result. Peaches meet white balsamic for some genuine complexity. Eight to ten bottlings are made each year from wine that sits suspended at one degree in juice format inside steel tanks. At this time of year there is no danger of fermentation. A wine of 5.0 per cent alcohol. Drink 2019-2020.  Tasted December 2019

Gianni Doglia Moscato d’Asti DOCG Casa di Bianca 2018, Piedmont, Italy ($20.00 – Estimate)

A single-vineyard moscato from 35 year-old vines and the plot Gianni’s grandfather just knew grew the best vines and so Gianni first decided to separate it from the pack in 2012. And so this particular moscato sees eight or nine months on the lees and finds a next level of complexity for the stylistic and the tradition. Gives a yeasty note on top of green apple, melon, orange blossom and fine herbs. The acidity is greater and so energy is exercised in perpetual motion. The alcohol result is just slightly higher at 5.5 per cent. A wine completely unique in this world that may just deliver some petrol and paraffin with a few years time. Drink 2019-2023.  Tasted December 2019

Marenco Moscato d’Asti DOCG Strev 2018, Piedmont, Italy

From Strevi in the province of Alessandria equidistant from both Alba and Asti to form a correct isosceles. Strev is the moscato work of Andrea Costa, winemaker Patrizia Marenco and team. Several vineyards in the area are suited to aromatic varieties because of soil composition (white clay, marl and limestone) off of cooler hillsides at 300-320m. Most important is the diurnal shift between day and night temperature. This is the epitome of aromatic preservation on the lemon-lime-orange freshness scale with good acids and next level goodness. Drink 2019-2021.  Tasted December 2019

Andrea Costa and Laura Kaminsky, Vini Marenco

Marenco Moscato d’Asti DOCG Scarpona 2016, Piedmont, Italy

Andrea Costa has a boyish grin and wink in his eye when he delivers this three year-old moscato into my glass and for good reason. This is the revolution in moscato d’asti, the one made so bloody intriguing surely due to innovation projects both in the vineyards and cellar. There’s an affinity here with Collio friulano and sauvignon, namely because of the elasticity and surely the transferrable aromas, in a marine-mountain sandwich effect or what we expect from typical Moscato d’Asti. Moves through passion fruit and mineral-flinty-elemental strikes, so much so the sugars are forgotten. Smouldering, so curious and of more depth than many. Drink 2019-2022.  Tasted December 2019

Matteo Soria Moscato d’Asti DOCG Soria 2019, Piedmont, Italy ($16.00 – Estimate)

Bottled last week, barely moved in, likely not yet settled into its new digs. Made up of 75 per cent 2019 (as per appellation rule) plus a mix of the three previous vintages. Crisp, cleaner and waxier than the ’16 with sharper acidity and leaner flavours. Heavily aromatic and even a bit herbal but just so linear, searing and lightning quick in reflex motion. That said the ripeness is just a tad short of ideal and so Matteo seems to have gone straight to freshness and intensity. It was the correct choice with a little help from the last three vintage friends. All about finding more aromas. Drink 2019-2022.  Tasted December 2019

Michele Chiarlo Moscato d’Asti DOCG Nivole 2019, Piedmont, Italy (650440, $9.75, 375ml)

Waxy, aerosol citrus and perhaps a year older with prevalent if weighty acids that settle this Moscato d’Asti into a secondary period. Both aromatics and freshness are diminished though so seem the sugars so the balance is still well-afforded. Ultimately a perfect example of the ripe peach scents so expected from Moscato d’Asti. Drink 2019-2021.  Tasted December 2019

Tenuta Langasco Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2019, Piedmont, Italy

Very accomplished moscato from Langasco out of Madonna di Como in the hills surrounding the city of Alba. As aromatic as should be, could be, would be or might ever be desired. You can’t miss the blossoms, peach and citrus, then juiced for maximum effect. The parts are all arranged one, two, three together. Very special. Drink 2019-2022.  Tasted December 2019

Viticoltori Associati Vinchio E Vaglio Serra Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2019, Piedmont, Italy

A perfectly reasoned and seasoned Moscato d’Asti, blossoms blooming and varietally profiled through their aromatic presence. Very lemon and honeyed as if by Passito but the concentration goers it natural and alone. Clean, caressing and just lovely. Drink 2019-2020.  Tasted December 2019

With the Martini Boys

Viticoltori Associati Vinchio E Vaglio Serra Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2018, Piedmont, Italy

Persistently stable, crunchy and crisp moscato from the great cooperative, high in acids and big, brilliant flavours. Grand squeeze of lime juice and has lost nary an aromatic or textural step due to an extra year in bottle, in fact the freshness is on pare if not trying to edge past and exceed the newer 2019. Really fine 2018. Drink 2019-2020.  Tasted December 2019

Good to go!


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You say you want a Barbera d’Asti revolution

Vineyards in Santo Stefano Belbo

rev·o·lu·tion /ˌrevəˈlo͞oSH(ə)n/ noun

  1. a dramatic and wide-reaching change in the way something works or is organized or in people’s ideas about it
  2. an instance of revolving.

To make a revolution you have to bring about change. You need to evolve and revolve. You can’t just keep doing the same things over and over again. To take part in a revolution you have to keep an open mind and seek out the subtleties. You have to get down to what is really real. Revolution is not always fast or dramatic, in fact it’s sometimes barely audible, visible or easily noted in smell or taste. It is perceptible if you can find a way to feel it, especially when it comes down to wine.

Sometimes, there’s a grape, well, it’s the grape for the time and place. It fits right in there. That grape is barbera and the place is Asti, if more specifically in the Monferrato hills. Those hills are the source of the “Barbera Revolution” where farming and winemaking are changing the way we think about the wines of Barbera d’Asti and Monferrato. The revolution is happening now, in the late stages of the second decade of the 21st century because an epiphany is taking place. A new age of understanding, of altitude, solar radiation, heliophany and how to capture the essential tenets of phenolic ripeness and acidity. Knowledge and understanding are zeroing in on growing areas, plant phytochemisry and the sensorial characteristics of Barbera d’Asti.

Acidity is the key to barbera, just as it is with grapes of a similar ilk, grapes like sangiovese and malbec. If you would like to capture the essence of these grape varieties you have to preserve and elevate their natural acidities and you have to do so with a supporting cast of freshness, ripeness and structure. This is the crux of the new revolution in Asti. Never before have we seen farming practices and a scaling back of oak aging getting together to make sure that the grape, that barbera is given the spotlight to be the centre of attention.

Masterclass “Barbera Revolution” guided by Kerin O’Keefe and President Filippo Mobrici, Consorzio Tutela Barbera d’Asti e Vini del Monferrato.

Related – Barbera d’Asti Del Monferrato E Nizza Monferrato

Barbera d’Asti 2.0 is a scientific study that began in 2017, iniated by the Conzorzio Barbera d’Asti e Vini del Monferrato in partnership with the Università di Torino – Disafa and supported by the Regione Piemonte. The goal of the project is to create a sensory map of the Barbera d’Asti DOCG appellation. To define the 5300 hectares of the appellation across 67 municipalities in the provinces of Asti and Alessandria. To connect the characteristics of Barbera d’Asti with the varied geological and climatic conditions of the growing areas. The research involves measuring, quantifying and qualifying precipitation, thermal excursion, soil structures, pH, phenolics, sugar and acidity. Micro-harvests and micro-vinifications have been conducted, 111 samples of DOCG wines have been collected, tested and evaluated by enologists and researchers from the University. In the end a sensory map has been created.

Well, you know
You better free you mind instead

In July of 2017 I spent a week in the hills where Barbera d’Asti grows. I returned in December of 2018 and spent another eye-opening and mind-blowing stretch of time in the varietal home. My attitude has officially evolved, changed and revolved, now resting in affirmation of consideration, to emerge with revolution firmly entrenched, personal and up close to me, of sound body and mind. It was in Canelli at Gancia Castle, at Enoteca Regionale Acqui “Terme e Vino” and Ristorante Nuovo Paradiso in Acqui Terme, at Castello di Costigliole d’Asti and the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners in Costigiole d’Asti, at Relais San Maurizio in Santo Stefano Belbo and finally, at Foro Boario di Nizza Monferrato, for the Masterclass “Barbera Revolution” guided by Kerin O’Keefe and organized by Consorzio Tutela Barbera d’Asti e Vini del Monferrato.

The following are 33 examples of barbera d’asti tasted at these events in Piemonte back in December 2018.

Araldica Castelvero Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Rive 2016, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Acqui Terme is the source for a darker, slightly brooding and richly, almost chocolate endowed barbera. Acidity is clearly still in charge and there are more grains, chains and presently grisly tannins keeping fruit in check. Will age well but time is needed before the begin. Drink 2021-2026.  Tasted December 2018  araldicavini  @araldicavini  Araldica Castelvero

Family Winery Berta Paolo 1842 Barbera d’Asti DOCG Belmon 2017, Piedmont, Italy (WineryWineAlign)

The vintage will not always deliver what you expect so never get too complacent with barbera and always pay attention. Paolo Berta turns the plan on its head and brings freshness in the face of jammy potential in a lovely act of balance. Fruit picked on acidity while perfectly positioned at sugar plus phenolic ripeness means this got it all right. It’s a connection between forethought and development that hits the proverbial barbera nail on the head. Never-ending acidity is the fairy tale and the reason for the story. Drink 2018-2022.  Tasted December 2018  vinifamigliaberta  @wineBerta  @viniberta

Family Winery Berta Paolo 1842 Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG 175 Vendmmie 2016, Piedmont, Italy (WineryWineAlign)

In classic Berta Paolo form there is a protective and reductive element plus untapped potential in a barbera from Nizza Monferrato that wraps itself up in layers upon layers of red fruit, white soil and blanketing richness. The terroir is truly all over this wine, in and out of every oozing red fruit pore. It’s complex in so many ways and in time will only improve its interest. Drink 2020-2025.  Tasted December 2018

Bersano Barbera d’Asti DOCG Cremosina 2016, Piedmont, Italy (Agent, WineAlign)

“Cremisona is our history. We believe in this kind of barbera, not just about quality, because that is not enough these days. It must be recognized as barbera.” White pepper, red cherry and so young. Really peppery, tart, tight, taut and so very, very Nizza Monferrato. Place, pace, place. Drink 2020-2026.  Tasted December 2018 bersano1907  profilewinegroup  @BERSANO1907  @ProfileWineGrp  @Bersanowine  Profile Wine Group

Tenuta Bricco San Gregorio Di Laiolo Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Rossomora, Piedmont, Italy (WineryWineAlign)

Vinchio’s soil can only mean high toned, high alcohol, Amarone like grip and power. The fruit is up to the task and though we accept this as Vinchio, RossoMora and Barbera d’Asti it pulls no punches nor shies away from advanced solicitation. Screams at you and at the same time asks you to call for time. Huge wine and needing a little humility in the name of balance. Drink 2019-2021.  Tasted December 2018  tenutabriccosangiorgio  Tenuta Bricco San Giorgio

Cascina Castlet Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Passum 2016, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Costigiole d’Asti is the source for a barbera that stands like a stick in the thick consistency of the varietal stew, with lightning bolts of acidity followed by grippy shudders of structured thunder. Such a big wine of larger than life personality with white peppery piques and properly spiced, mild dark chocolate bitterness. Will age without trepidation or any true concern. Drink 2021-2029.  Tasted December 2018  cascinacastlet  @cascinacastlet  Cascina Castlèt

Coppo Barbera d’Asti DOCG L’Avvocata 2014, Piedmont, Italy (Agent, $19.95, WineAlign)

Luigi Coppo’s L’Avvocata is his fresh, come and drink me first red, clearly meant for the here and now. Dedicated to the original owner of this recently purchased vineyard, described as a tough woman, known to all as “the lawyer.” It’s quite floral and shows beautiful acidity. Effusive and rising, this is barbera as part of the shift to recognize quality at the entry level. Successful in that regard in spite of or perhaps as a result of the warmth and concentration.  Drink 2018-2019. Tasted December 2018 coppo1892  maitredechai_ca  @COPPO1892  @maitredechai  @COPPO1892  Le Maître de Chai

Luigi Coppo and Pomorosso

Coppo Barbera d’Asti Nizza DOCG Pomorosso 2014, Piedmont, Italy (Agent, $74.95, WineAlign)

If ever a vintage were going to give the Coppo Pomorosso a most sincere gift of its terroir than 2016 would be the one. In fact Luigi Coppo says uncle Roberto compares it to 1990 and he confirms the connection, if only by way of lab tests and results. The real reason is out there, in three vineyards located in Agliano Terme. “The balance was in place, even before we picked the grapes,” tells Coppo. This Pomorosso speaks young but is of course so very structured and only produced in exceptional vintages. The soil is marine sediment rich in minerals and the name is for the red apple tree on top of the hill. It’s an icon red by nature and design, with 2016 top finesse and the key to barbera’s ability of longevity. Drink 2019-2027.  Tasted December 2018

Coppo Barbera d’Asti DOCG Camp du Rouss 2016, Piedmont, Italy (Agent, $25.95, WineAlign)

Luigi Coppo’s barbera is a calcareous Castelnuovo Calcea striker with clay richness and spice brought on by some time in barrel. It’s deeply rendered into a well that pools with cherry liqueur and melted liquorice. Needs some time for the parts to mingle, match and melt into one another. A highly polished wine with plenty of possibility. Drink 2020-2026.  Tasted December 2018

Franco Roero Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Sichei 2016, Piedmont, Italy (Agent, WineAlign)

Just a huge barbera out of Montegrosso d’Asti, with acidity and grip, through the roof and got a hold on you. Volatility is certainly at the top edge of the straddled ridge but neither extraction nor concentration dip into and up over the top. It’s a matter of making what place and vintage demand, with swagger, confidence and direct messaging. Truly white limestone screaming which incidentally keeps the concentration in check. Drink 2021-2028.  Tasted December 2018  franco_roero_winery  cottonwoodwineagency  @FrancoRoeroVini   @Cottonwood@franco.roero  Cottonwood Agency Wines & Spirits

Az. Agr. Garrone Evasio & Figlio Barbera d’Asti DOCG 2016, Piedmont, Italy (WineryWineAlign)

A different sort of deeper clay, moisture retentive for red cherry generosity and because there is a sidle into strawberry but of the drying, concentrated one. It’s a Montemagno matter, picked later and macerated to a greater degree though really fine acidity keeps it very much alive. Drink 2019-2020.  Tasted December 2018  #garroneevasioefiglio  @vinigarrone

Davide Ghiga

Azienda Agricola Ghiga Enrico Barbera d’Asti DOCG 2016, Piedmont, Italy (WineryWineAlign)

Young Davide Ghiga’s barbera is the azienda’s normale but it’s certainly a child of selezione. Bright, fresh and tenably intense. Solid would be a good descriptor for the honesty and varietal morality exhibited by this stand up barbera. The fruit is dark in a black cherry way but it’s clearly a matter of Costigliole d’Asti terroir more than winemaking. The high tones confirm this assessment and the way in which the wine is 100 per cent a matter of fruit. So much fruit. Drink 2018-2021.  Tasted December 2018  ghigaaziendaagricola   Davide Ghiga  Azienda Agricola Ghiga Fratelli

Azienda Agricola Ghiga Enrico Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG 2016, Piedmont, Italy (WineryWineAlign)

The Ghiga brothers’ Superiore from Costigiole d’Asti takes the sweetness of dark and hematic fruit, gives it time in new grandi botti then sees it emerge with loads of chocolate and hyper intensity. Young is an understatement and time the declaration for development ahead of a deeper understanding. The vineyard is 22 years-old at this stage and the upside for terroir and winemaking reeks of potential. You just feel the earliest of beginnings involving a special relationship between viticulture and viniculture so we’re “gonna see what them racket boys can do.” This ’16 and coming vintages will likely turn out to be classics someday. So “put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty and meet me tonight in Atlantic City.” Ghiga, a.k.a. The Boss of barbera, based in Castiglione Tinella-Cuneo. Drink 2019-2025.  Tasted December 2018

Gianni Doglia Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Genio 2016, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Genio is Piemontese for Gianni’s grandfather “Eugenio” and these ’16 startling aromatics are like genies escaping from the bottle. Some extra altitude up to 350m in Castagnole Lanze brings an expression of solar radiated, polyphenolic aromatics that set this bold and structured barbera apart. There is a presence and a personality of energy despite the weight and the bold attack. It’s really juicy, fresh, high in acidity and just plain exciting. Drink 2021-2029.  Tasted December 2018  gianni_doglia_wines  Gianni Doglia Azienda vitivinicola Gianni Doglia  Paola Doglia

Gianni Doglia Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOCG Viti Vecchie 2016, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Doglia’s old vines are an average of 50 years for barbera from Nizza Monferrato that travels the emotional gamut from freshness through structure and into softness. Gianni’s reminds me of 90s St. Émilion and 2000s Napa merlot but with barbera’s lightning acidity. If it is possible for a red to offer a big hug while scratching your back then this would be the one. The soils may be different than Castagnole Lanze but the treatment in the cellar is virtually the same, with small barrels and 30 per cent new. Twenty-five kilometres separate the Nizza from the Genio and here you get more texture and dark, rich chocolate. Also mint, a salty vein and very ripe cherries. Drink 2019-2023.  Tasted December 2018

Gozzelino Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Ciabot d’la Mandorla 2015, Piedmont, Italy (WineryWineAlign)

This traditional barbera is a well-pressed one from Costigliole d’Asti and spent 24 months in large (30hL) format grandi botti. Very rich, lots of chocolate, some shots of tonic and high acidity intensity. Drink 2019-2022.  Tasted December 2018   Azienda Agricola Gozzelino Sergio

Tenuta Il Falchetto Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Bricco Paradiso 2016, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

A really rich, fully fruit realized, intensely tangy, plum meets currants and pomegranate barbera with density, structure and purpose. The numbers are big and the personality boisterous but there is more than enough fruit to keep the booze and the bones from dominating. Pretty good vitality and energy within the big framework. Drink 2021-2028.  Tasted December 2018  tenutailfalchetto  @ilfalchettovini  @tenutailfalchetto

With Andrea Ivaldi

Azienda Agricola Ivaldi Dario Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOCG “1613” 2015, Piedmont, Italy (Agent, $31.78, WineAlign)

From Andrea Ivaldi comes the next and generous vintage of Nizza barbera, with an initial waft of intensity on the nose that speaks with volatility, then blows off with just a minute or two of swirl. The calcaire speaks next with lightning quickness while the black cherry spiked by anise fruit hurries to keep pace. There is great peppery presence and a keen sense of place in this Nizza, rich and fluid, ripe and full of classic barbera acidity. Understated chic and real class come forth, take a bow of humility, turn around and go back to work. Tasted again the next day and the day after that it only revealed further complexities. Drink 2019-2024. Tasted May and December 2018  andrea.ivaldi  devonmasciangelo  @ivaldidario  @vinidelmonferrato  Devon Masciangelo

You say you wanna @barberadasti revolution? Well you know, a Masterclass with 19 examples led by @kerinokeefe is a fine place to begin ~ #barberarevolution

La Caudrina Barbera d’Asti DOCG La Solista 2016, Piedmont, Italy (WineryWineAlign)

From Nizza Monferrato Caudrina’s is blessed of the kind of sweet fruit barbera is so capable of delivering. It’s a white lightning example though off of sandy soils but it’s so transparent, lightly tonal in high spoken voice and just bloody beautiful. Drink 2019-2021.  Tasted December 2018  #lacaudrina  @LaCaudrina

Manfredi Barbera d’Asti DOCG 2015, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

The confidence oozes from this barbera and it goes to show that the delayed release is truly a matter of planning ahead rather than some sort of reactive response. Three vineyards make up the concerted assemblage and while the levels of Brett and volatility are up there with the funkier barbera they are well beneath the threshold. In that sense this is a wine of stylistic choice more than flawed or not flawed. It’s up to you to decide if the leathery cherry earthiness is up your alley but regardless the juicy nature and exquisite acidity ride up and down everyone’s preferred slope. A very expressive wine this is and if you are a fan of post-funk beats than you will find this very special. Drink 2018-2023.  Tasted December 2018  manfredicantine  Manfredi Cantine

Marchesi Alfieri Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Alfiera 2016, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

San Martino Alfieri is a calcareous limestone and clay terroir, not unusual for the territory but here there is a combination of juicy, generous fruit in a darker realm though still moderate in grip and power. This certainly takes barbera to another level and though it initiates the idea of strength it’s really quite balanced and potentially, holding cards to become magically ethereal. Just a touch overripe but really beautiful for the short to mid term. Drink 2019-2022.  Tasted December 2018  marchesialfieri  univinsetspiritueux    @UNIVINS  Marchesi Alfieri – Cantine e Locanda Univins et Spiritueux / Univins & Spirits

Marenco Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Ciresa 2016, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

The moscato d’asti specialist out of Strevi makes a plum meets sharply tangy cherry (Ciresa) barbera with high acidity and a liquid chalky texture. It’s different, harder to pinpoint and to get. It needs time, now, in the glass, and for a few years to understand its nuance and speciality. Must be Strevi. Drink 2020-2025.  Tasted December 2018  marencovini  @MARENCOVINI  Marenco

Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti DOCG Le Orme 2016, Piedmont, Italy (265413, $15.95, WineAlign)

The three terroir gathering is by now a barbera institution, from fruit gathered out of Castelnuovo Calcea, Montaldo Scarampi and Agliano Terme. As expected it is 2016 that becomes tbe perfect playground for an archetypal barbera made by Michele and Stefano Chiarlo. The acids are spot on in this ubiquitous bd’a, with fruit at the sparked cherry forefront as well as any in the category. Try to find better value at the price. Really, go ahead and try. Drink 2018-2022.  Tasted December 2018 michelechiarlo  univinscanada  @michelechiarlo  @UNIVINS  Michele Chiarlo  @UnivinsCanada

Tenuta Olim Bauda Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Le Rocchette 2016, Piedmont, Italy (434258, $32.95, WineAlign)

Though Gianni Bertolino’s is a high octane, high alcohol and high tonal Incisa Scapaccino barbera the balance here is virtually spot on, with acidity and tannin sending shots of structure like steel straws through sand, clay, limestone and concrete. So young, lightning quick and needing a pause for several years to gain flesh, texture and fruit pulp succulence. This will act just like a dried persimmon/plum/cherry fruit leather in five plus years time. Poured from magnum so do the age waiting game math. Drink 2021-2029.  Tasted December 2018  tenuta_olimbauda hobbsandcompany  @tenutaolimbauda  @hobbsandco  hobbsandcompany

Tenuta Olim Bauda Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Le Rocchette 2011, Piedmont, Italy (434258, $32.95, WineAlign)

Tasting this with Gianni Bertolino he notes how ’11 is really a bridge year, between the classic ’10 and the massive ’12. At seven years on the evolution is on and the revolution begun. It has brought barbera to a new place, still possessive of high phenolics and higher acidity though with the sweetly rendered resolution of ripe red fruit. Though it seems less characteristic of the big and the brooding barbera there is firm grip in its stance. Now beginning to shed its second skin so ready and willing to reveal its honest and forthcoming nature. The probability meeting possibility is now found, not vice versa and so welcome to the best of its times. Drink 2018-2022.  Tasted December 2018

Tenuta Olim Bauda Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOCG 2015, Piedmont, Italy (WineryWineAlign)

Gianni Bertolino’s Nizza ’15 is barbera at a precise axis where fruit and acidity work, meet, mix and play. They may at first get into an old time Monferrato tussle and a big time Piemontese hassle but get on the same page before too long. In fact with thanks to a generous and amenable 2015 vintage they find a quick and easy way to kiss, make-up and shake hands. On the edge of sour the message gets through, from fruit so sweet and acidity so fine. Ripeness tangles with tangy and soil drive pushes the structure too. Perfectly representative of territory, man and place. Drink 2019-2023.  Tasted December 2018

Pico Maccario Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Epico 2016, Piedmont, Italy (AgentWineAlign)

Plum pudding, chocolate caramel and baking spice are the barrique-influenced order in the very ripe Mombaruzzo 2016 Epico. It’s very generous, tenebrous and deep into its clay soil origins. High acids keep up the energy. Drink 2019-2021.  Tasted December 2018  picomaccario  @PicoMaccario  @PicoMaccario

Ricossa Antica Barbera d’Asti DOCG 2016, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

From calcareous Nizza Monferrato – Agliano Terme soils, vinified in stainless steel only. The naked grape, cherries upon cherries and more cherries. Simplicity with no approach to any sort of crossroads where any great decisions or soul selling are required. Juicy and forward. Drink 2019-2021.  Tasted December 2018  ricossawine  selectwinemoments  @ricossawine   @SelectWinePros Ricossa Wine  Select Wines

Scarpa Barbera d’Asti DOCG Casa Scarpa 2015, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

From Nizza Monferrato vineyards where Poderi Bricchi is elevated to heights between 410 and 480 meters. The youngest fruit is pulled from lower elevations (250m) for Casa Scarpa, the freshest of the estate’s barbera that sees a minimum one year in stainless steel only, followed by another in bottle before release. It’s a magnesium salty barbera, bright, tart, striking and blessed with great acidity. In your face striking, real and immediately promising. Drink 2018-2021.  Tasted December 2018  scarpawine  @Scarpawines  Scarpa Wine

Scarpa Barbera d’Asti DOCG La Bogliona 2010, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

From the eestate with one foot in the Monferrato Astigiano and the other in the Monferrato Alessandrino, the fruit for La Bogliona is drawn from one of two estate cru, which along with Poderi Bricchi are the reason Scarpa exists. This 2010 has certainly advanced and is a formidable if severe combination of secondary fruit character and exceptional acidity. The maceration time was 14-16 days, followed by 30-36 months in 15 hL grandi botti of various French ages and origins. Silky pure with a note like shoe polish on leather, variegated of high quality red fruit. So alive but also so lived. Impressive and instinctive you can only imagine the things it’s been and seen. Drink 2018-2024.  Tasted December 2018

Cantina Terre Artisane Barbera d’Asti DOCG Anno Domini 2016, Piedmont, Italy (WineryWineAlign)

From Mombercelli this small production barbera is of the old school’s high acid-driven way, with tonality shooting through the roof and to the stars. It’s ripe and light, effulgent and finishing on a note of bitters. Drink 2019-2020.  Tasted December 2018  cantinaterreastesane  Cantina Terre Astesane Mombercelli

Tojo Barbera d’Asti DOCG Delianna 2016, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

DeliAnna exhibits more concentration, phenolics and glycerin than so many barbera, probably because the yields are one grappolo per vine, in other words, after the greening one bunch is left to mature and produce highest quality fruit. The noted sense of accomplishment is palpable, felt through the purple flower-scented and sweet red berry fruit. The chiming in of fine acidity elevates and oak is but a dream undreamt. If there is any it’s hidden with 100 per cent deception. Here folks is 21st century barbera d’asti. Drink 2019-2025.  Tasted December 2018  tojo_vino  Tojo Azienda Agricola Bocchino Vittorio

Viticoltori Associati Vinchio e Vaglio Serra Barbera d’Asti DOCG Vigne Vecchie 50 2016, Piedmont, Italy (WineryWineAlign)

From white calcaire and sandy soils these Nizza Monferrato – Agliano Terme old vines bring depth and some acid-tannin structure not noted in the more straightforward, juicy and high acid examples. The vine age seems to tame the acids and fruit is concentrated, expressed and up front. Really long and perfectly wise, even developed for the first few years of drinking. One of the worlds wonderful cooperatives with an eye to pinpointing grape and place. Drink 2019-2022.  Tasted December 2018  vinchiovaglioserra  @vinchiovaglio  @VinchioVaglioSerra

Good to go!


Vineyards in Santo Stefano Belbo


Twitter: @mgodello

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Barbera d’Asti Del Monferrato E Nizza Monferrato

This report first appeared on WineAlign. Here it is expanded to include all the wines reviewed in July of 2017; 27 Barbera d’Asti and 44 Barbera d’Asti Nizza from 29 producers.

  • Consorzio Barbera d’Asti E Vini Del Monferrato
  • Cascina Gilli Di Vergnano Giovanni
  • Cascina Galarin
  • Bersano
  • Pico Maccario
  • Azienda Agricola Ivaldi Dario
  • Az. Agr. Garrone Evasio & Figlio
  • Michele Chiarlo
  • Castello Di Gabiano Marchesi Cattaneo Adorno Giustiniani Srl
  • Rovero
  • Coppo
  • Tenuta Il Falchetto
  • Az. Agr. Franco Roero
  • Viticoltori Associati Vinchio e Vaglio Serra
  • Marchesi Incisa Della Rocchetta
  • Marco Bonfante
  • Erede Di Chiappone
  • Gozzelino
  • Moretti Adimari
  • Berta Paolo
  • Borgo Isolabella Delle Croce
  • Il Botolo
  • Cascina Garitina
  • Villa Giada
  • Bava
  • La Gironda
  • Tenuta Olim Bauda
  • Cantina Tre Secoli
  • L’Armangia

Back in July of 2017 I hopped aboard the Collisioni Progetto Vino train in advance of four seminar-saturated days in Barolo, to immerse myself in everything the great red hope known as barbera holds in the territory of Monferrato. Here in Ontario we possess a pretty good idea about the nature and the competency of Barbera d’Alba, mainly because of its association with the Piemontese region’s more famous grape variety nebbiolo in production of the noble and regal Barolo and Barbaresco wines. The successes enjoyed by Barbera d’Alba are ensured, not solely because of but certainly by its proximate association. But what about Barbera d’Asti?

Collisioni Festival’s Ian D’Agata recently stated “it is undoubtedly in Piedmont where the grape performs best. To put barbera’s popularity in perspective, consider that 33 per cent of Piedmont’s 45,000 hectares under vine are planted to barbera.” Try throwing this statistic in the face of Monferrato, Nizza Monferrato and so many other Asti barbera growers. So the question begs as to why so many DOC’s exist is such a close proximate place? The answer is quite simple. I am “insert commune name here” and I am this DOC, around my village, with my own very special terroir. Yours may only be five kilometres away from me but I am special and my land and grapes are not like yours. It must be noted that in Piemonte there are as many native grapes then there are in all of France. This is the second and more important reason nearly 50, or almost 10 per cent of all registered Italian grapes are found in Piemonte.

The Barbera DOCGs via

The consortium for Barbera d’Asti and Monferrato wines was founded in 1946 with distinctive labelling and while only seven members were originally on board, today more than 200 band together for the good of the grape and especially the agricultural practices of the territory. I will touch on other Piemontese denominations such as Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato, Freisa d’Asti and Grignolino d’Asti in a follow-up report but now is the time to discuss, analyze and celebrate all things Barbera d’Asti E Vini Monferrato.

Barbera d’Asti is a DOCG with upwards of 3,900 hectares under vine with nearly 2,500 producers, 30 of which are cooperatives. The wines can be fresh reds made in stainless steel or receive some oak aging while the bigger Barbera d’Asti Superiore, made from selected grapes are required by DOCG law to be aged for at least six months in wood. Both the Barbera d’asti Superiore and Barbera del Monferrato Superiore DOCGs were awarded in 2008, both have maximum yield allowances of nine tonnes per hectare but Monferrato’s minimum alcohol requirement is a half a point higher at 13 per cent by volume. The Vigna (single-vineyard) Monferrato yields are lower, at eight tonnes per hectare. Aging for both is 14 months from November 1st the year after harvest. In Monferrato 85 per cent must be barbera with the remainder allowing dolcetto, grigolino and freisa while Barbera d’Asti Superiore requires 90 per cent barbera.

Barbera vineyards in Costigiole d’Asti

The rich limestone, clay and calcium hills of the Nizza wine zone is one of three Barbera d’Asti sub-zones (that also include Tinella and Colli Astigiani). Nizza’s terroir is a result of marine sediment and with proof supplied by a walk-around tasting and dinner during which wines dating back to 2001 were poured, it is indeed the zone where the most ageworthy and arguably the best barbera d’Asti is made. In 2014 the DOCG was created and the artist formerly known as “Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza” has now been abbreviated to simply, Nizza. Like Prince. Power and balance are married in Nizza and many perform well past the 10 year mark after vintage. Wines from Nizza must be 100 per cent barbera, the yields are capped at seven tonnes per hectare and the age requirement is 18 months (six in oak) from January 1st the year after harvest. Reserva is 30 months (12 in oak) and Vigna (single-vineyard) releases must have yields no higher than 6.3 with a minimum of 13.5 per cent alcohol.  The first Nizza DOCG wines were released in July of 2016.

Still today the barbera wines of Monferrato and Nizza are virtually ignored worldwide. Many consumers simply think of the name Asti and sweet sparkling wines come to mind. Many others know not of Asti and still countless more associate the grape with Alba. The Consorzio Barbera d’Asti e Vini del Monferrato is working tirelessly to change public perception, first with its proud public speaking president Filippo Mobrici, by enlisting the association with the Collisioni Festival and through the work of ambassadors like Michele Longo. The Collisioni Progetto Vino brings groups of journalists and sommeliers from around the globe to taste, educate and indulge in the multiplicity of barbera.

A compassionate barbera d’asti sky in the dimmet of a piemonte evening.

The following tasting notes of Barbera d’Asti and Nizza wines were executed in the consorzio headquarters in Costigiole and at the Enoteca Regionale di Nizza in July of 2017. The first tasting focused on Barbera d’Asti and Barbera d’Asti Superiore from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 vintages with the emphasis placed on four sub-zones and their differing soils. The second (walk-around) tasting allowed producers to pour at their whimsy so this included portfolios with varietal wines such as grignolino and freisa. The gathering of the Associazione Produttori del Nizza focused beautifully on a comparison of only wines from the 2014 vintage, by way of introduction, followed by two brilliant tastings in which verticals of their wines were offered, first at a (way too fast) high-speed walkabout and then later during a (beautifully slow) dinner at Locanda Del Boscogrande. My full report covers more than 75 reviews of Monferrato barbera from both the Asti and Nizza categories.

Barbera d’Asti DOCG

Consorzio Barbera d’Asti E Vini Del Monferrato Barbera d’Asti DOCG 2015, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Every year one wine is chosen through a series of blind tastings from a selection of producers, to be bottled and labeled under the “taken as a while” entity Consorzio Barbera D’asti E Vini Del Monferrato Barbera D’asti. Only the producer and the President (Filippo Mobrici) know who’s wine is chosen, along with wink, wink, everyone else. This 2015 is quite the firm and brambly barbera, as it should be, with an omnipresent blanketing European vintage depth of character, from warmth, quality, quantity and length. This is typically barbera pressed, full on for fruit, specific to a Monferrato territorial claim and nary a moment of intrusive tannin. Drink 2017-2019.  Tasted July 2017  barberadasti  @barberadasti  @barberadasti

Cascina Gilli Di Vergnano Giovanni Barbera d’Asti DOCG Le More 2016, Piedmont, Italy (Agent, WineAlign)

From the silty marl of Monferrato in Castelnuovo Don Bosco, here the traditionally rustic is acquiesced. Of dark berry, dusty, mulberry, a rich mid-palate, leathery, textured, solid if not profound structure. Only stainless steel and possessive of appropriate length. Drink 2017-2019.  Tasted July 2017  cascinagilli  @cascinagilli  @cascinagilli

Cascina Galarin Barbera d’Asti DOCG Le Querce 2016, Piedmont, Italy (Agent, WineAlign)

Out of the silty marl comes this stainless raised barbera, of such a similar profile to Le More, less floral and also less obvious fruity berry. Made with five per cent freisa, here there is more caramel and dried plum, also more VA and a bit of residual CO2. The bitter finish blend into acidity so very tart. Drink 2017-2018.  Tasted July 2017  #cascinagalarin  Cascina Galarin

Bersano Barbera d’Asti DOCG Costalunga 2015, Piedmont, Italy (Agent, 348680, $13.75, WineAlign)

Bersano’s, like so many of its peers making barbera in and around Monferrato comes from a terroir of silty marl. It spends one year in (large) botti and is a most most floral and perfumed barbera, notably of violets, even a touch of liquorice or fennel. Fills in with more mid-palate and structure than many at this “posto che si chiama” entry level, with bitters as tonics well integrated into the mix. Drink 2017-2020.  Tasted July 2017  bersano1907  profilewinegroup  @BERSANO1907  @ProfileWineGrp  @Bersanowine  Profile Wine Group

Pico Maccario Barbera d’Asti DOCG Lavignone 2016, Piedmont, Italy (Agent, WineAlign)

Quite the deep, dark and handsome barbera with a current of black currant and a pure stainless steel raising. Plums and chocolate mark the second half profile for the rich red, no oak lover in you. This pervasive barbera represents just about half of the house’s total (400,000 bottle) production. It’s truly a matter of fresh fruit and the already conscious awareness of its sharp, tart, fugacious youth. Solicits a knowing nod of the head when tasted at the source not long after a moment with the ’14 less than a year before. Drink 2017-2019.  Tasted July 2017  picomaccario  @PicoMaccario  @PicoMaccario

Pico Maccario Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Epico 2014, Piedmont, Italy (Agent, WineAlign)

Epico is the top selection from the oldest (60 year-old) vines developed 14 months in barrel. In its current state the oak is alpha dominant and the volatility quite pronounced. There is something of a jammy quality, not so much a viscous or pejorative, pectin-laced presence on the palate but more like a reduction as barbera syrup or liqueur. The epitome of modern and produced. Drink 2017-2020.  Tasted July 2017

Pico Maccario Barbera d’Asti DOCG Tre Rovere 2015, Piedmont, Italy (Winery WineAlign)

The “three oaks” saw to six months in barrel and along with an expressly coffee aroma there too is this sugary scent. Candied plums bring fruit depth and richness and the wine sings the high notes of volatility. It’s quite a tart treat, from liquid clay to blackberry in a combined and distilled affair. A moment of cotton candy is fleeting because the heavy clays and ferric accent take over, stirring up some bitters to mix with the sugars. A deferential and adjustable barbera that condones the ups and downs of the oeuvre. Drink 2017-2020.  Tasted July 2017

Azienda Agricola Ivaldi Dario Barbera d’Asti DOC 2015, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

In the pantheon of red wine made from the barbera grape in Asti lands it is Andrea Ivaldi’s that stands out, like a beacon or a lighthouse, lit up to help mariners find the shore. In this case a summoning light set in a white limestone vineyard and it is the youngest member of the Ivaldi family who resides as the current superintendent of this special barbera. At a locally low 14 per cent alcohol and a hue so Monthelie transparent this is classic, innate, intense liquid stone, bled from the pietra bianca at 300 masl. The blessedly honest red fruit raised in cement tanks for one year is hypo-reductive and only 4,000-5,000 bottles are produced. So balanced, melting, oozing and brisk, structured even. Drink 2017-2021.  Tasted July 2017

Az. Agr. Garrone Evasio & Figlio Barbera d’Asti DOCG 2015, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Garrone’s barbera climbs out of the silty marl and exhibits more VA than the others but in a good way. If perhaps it acts a bit acetic, it thus so hides its florals, though there is more texture and integration, gliding silky across the palate and finishing long. More complexity and interest here. Drink 2018-2021.  Tasted July 2017  @vinigarrone

Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti DOCG Le Orme 2015, Piedmont, Italy (265413, $13.95, WineAlign)

Le Orme or “the footsteps” spent 16 months in stainless steel, taken from variegated terroir; sandy, marly and coarser soils. It sheds developed florals and high yet stretched and creeping acidity and in turn length. The acumen and experience comes through, leading to more refinement and almost a creamy (though unwooded) texture on bright, juicy fruit. Drink 2017-2019.  Tasted July 2017  michelechiarlo  univinscanada  @michelechiarlo  @UNIVINS  Michele Chiarlo  @UnivinsCanada

Castello Di Gabiano Marchesi Cattaneo Adorno Giustiniani Srl Barbera d’Asti DOCG La Braja 2015, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Gabiano’s stands apart in a barbera tasting of 13 wines because of its naturally wild personality. Run free off sandy soils it saw 16 months in a combination of botti and barriques. Beyond barbera it also contains some grignolino and freisa, more tannin, certainly reductive (which easily blows off) and I’d even call it righteously and properly stinky. More developed and even wise, this has that acidity that travels up and down the sides of the mouth. Drink 2018-2021.  Tasted July 2017  castellodigabiano  @CastelloGabiano  Gazzola Katia (Castello di Gabiano)

#risotto #ristorantelabarbera #costiglioledasti @costiglioleat

Rovero Barbera d’Asti DOCG Superiore Rouvé (Bio) 2014, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Rovero’s wafts with the most perfume by a long shot, by a soaking up and in from 24 months in barrique. The waves of vanilla infiltrate the purple berries, much like Rioja and its wood perfume but in barbera it comes with so much acidity. Like chewing on a stick of wood dynamite overcompensating for fruit that didn’t stack up, though it would have been honest and pure to allow the fruit to talk anyway, in whatever voice it may have chosen. Drink 2018-2020.  Tasted July 2017

Luigi Coppo

Coppo Barbera d’Asti DOCG Pomorosso 2014, Piedmont, Italy (Agent, $74.95, WineAlign)

From the house that Piero Coppo built, now in the forward thinking acumen-saturated hands, heart and mind of Luigi Coppo, comes a barbera most ambitious and in 2014, likely to be misunderstood in the throes of its youth. Pomorosso carries the baggage and the experience of 125 years of history in pocket, is only produced in the best vintages and spends 14 months in French oak. A fair to challenging vintage makes cause and pause to consider it a case of over-oak usage because it still overwhelms the terroir while simultaneously in disavow and disallow for the vintage to speak. The big but factor is spoken with a simple term. Balance. Even while the wood is very much in charge the craft behind the scene fills the screen, like a sepia toned vintage movie reel, in which hard at work agriculturalists, agronomists and oenologists move in fast frame motion, tending to their barbera. Beautiful fruit defends itself, because and for the land, reeks through the wood, integrates acidity and lingers, long after the wood perfume has dissipated. Fast forward to the end of the film and enjoy in retrospective view, somewhere mid next decade, while the credits roll. Drink 2020-2028.  Tasted July 2017  coppo1892  maitredechai_ca  @COPPO1892  @maitredechai  @COPPO1892  Le Maître de Chai

Tenuta Il Falchetto Barbera d’Asti DOCG Pian Scorrone 2016, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Sees some stainless steel and six months in acacia wood. From a mix of soils in the Piemontese tertiary basin, characterized by sedimentary rocks known as “Marnoso Arenacea,” deposited from a marine environment 30-35 million years ago. A lovely barbera in purity of fruit, perfume and balance. Varietal honesty and bright personality bring dark plum, great acidity and ultimately just a pleasure to drink. 2017-2019.  Tasted July 2017  tenutailfalchetto  @ilfalchettovini  @tenutailfalchetto

Az. Agr. Franco Roero Barbera d’Asti DOCG Carbune 2016, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Roero’s is another stainless specimen but this time off of mixed soils cut across two sub-zones. The fruit here is rich, darker, spicy and the acidity less pronounced, rendered, melted in. It too is a pleasure to drink but not as bright as some, to be sure. Just a bit pressed, quite solid and hefty at 15.4 per cent alcohol. Drink 2017-2019.  Tasted July 2017  franco_roero_winery  @FrancoRoeroVini  @franco.roero

Az. Agr. Franco Roero Barbera d’Asti Superiore Docg Mappale 213 2015, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

From Montegrosso d’Asti Roero’s Mappale takes a heat index step back from Carbuné and from 2016. In 2015 the single vineyard, single (213) block is vinified separately from the others (including Siché and Cellarino) and spends 18 months in large barrels. Still it’s a dark, hematic bruiser with Cassis and dark chocolate, plus the omnipresent energy of acidity. Also ropey, tart and glazed, almost to the point of deep caramel. Then again it always comes back to how young it is. Drink 2018-2023.  Tasted July 2017

Viticoltori Associati Vinchio e Vaglio Serra Barbera d’Asti DOCG Vigne Vecchie 2011, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

The use of generous oak on these old vines rings and scents into secondary notes, of creosote, graphite, vanilla, clove and dried fruit from strawberry to prune. This will soon be turning to figs, chocolate and balsamic when in a year or two the fruit is no longer willing to sing and the acidity will step back into a phase otherwise quiet. From vineyards in Montegrosso, with caramel, more vanilla, creaminess and Amarone like character in alcohol and a perception of sweetness. Drake 2017-2019.  Tasted July 2017  vinchiovaglioserra  @vinchiovaglio  @VinchioVaglioSerra

Marchesi Incisa Della Rocchetta Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Sant’Emiliano 2015, Piedmont, Italy (SAQ, 12278202, $29.45, WineAlign)

Marchesi Incisa Della Rocchetta is from Sassiccaia fame and also a family with a long Piemontese tradition. Their barbera is aged 18 months in French barrels and hails from near (southeast) of Asti. It’s certainly posied and appointed though I can’t help but notice the five-spice, caramel and balsamic aspect. A highly refined if tart style, seriously structured and wholesome though balanced within that formidable framework. As it fleshes and expands it reveals more charm, with some grace and elegance, kept warm and safe from the elements with an expensive scarf to be sure. Drink 2018-2023.  Tasted July 2017  #marchesiincisadellarocchetta  vins.balthazard  #marchesiincisadellarocchetta  @vinsbalthazard  #marchesiincisadellarocchetta  @VinsBalthazard

Marco Bonfante Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Menego 2011, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Marco Bonfante’s barbera d’asti made from fruit all over the hill is called Menego, the nickname and in honour of his and Micaela’s father Domenico who passed away in 2000. At the top of Domenico’s hill is Il Bricco and it is this one and a half hectares of south-exposed fruit that separates this barbera from the broad expression that is Menego. The calcareous terroir defines this wine and though the journey here is a high octane, jammy developing one through 14 months in barriques, this is the (relatively speaking) elegant vintage. It stills clocks in at a minimum 15 per cent alcohol and delivers a firm, confident and authoritative message but its elasticity and length allow it to breathe. Still it does not merely wave but punches and is more of a shout than a whisper. At six years the window of pleasure is open, if only just the first crack. Drink 2017-2023.  Tasted July 2017  marcobonfantewinery  @MarcoBonfante70  @MarcoBonfanteWinery

Marco Bonfante Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Menego 2012, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

What a difference a vintage makes, here in 2012 out of warmth and into the highest of alcohol level with intensely ripe fruit. Marco Bonfante does not mess around, stretching the elevations of brix and alcohol while maintaining the natural acidity of barbera and waiting it out so the phenolic ripeness can fall, or rather climb to the high line. That he finds a way to work some magic so that balance is achieved is nothing short of remarkable. The most grip, power and brooding comes out of the 2012, like Madiran tannat, Cahors malbec, Napa Valley Petit Sirah and northern Rhône syrah all rolled into one. But this is the genesis of the new barbera d’asti and only Bonfante pushes such limits and scores in the end. This 2012 is the striker every great football club somehow finds, at most times blending in but always the silent assassin. This Menego is coursing with chocolate, Cassis, espresso and black cherry. It’s just a huge wine, easily at the 16 per cent mark and structured to go a decade before any withering or wuthering. Tension builds all the way until the end. Wot Gorilla. Drink 2019-2027.  Tasted July 2017

Marco Bonfante Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Menego 2009, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

In 2009 the hill supplied fruit ready to kill so at eight years Menego has entered its secondary phase. It will not be expected that either 2011 or 2012 will travel this far, this fast though the (more elegant) former will certainly get there quicker then (the massive) latter. A new complexity has emerged with the developing 2009, from out of and with a nod to the southwest facing calcareous vineyard. Cinnamon, orange and subtler spices now grace the aromatics, things the young and powerful Menego do not release. The accents make the eyebrows rise and when noted integrating into the chocolate coated palate there is a tickling sensation. Yet another immensely impressive moment with a Marco Bonfante bruiser is had but with some age the time spent is relenting and ultimately offering some relief. Drink 2017-2021.  Tasted July 2017

Erede Di Chiappone Barbera d’Asti DOCG Brentura 2013, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

From Daniele Chiappone and a 100 per cent stainless steel upbringing at four years old the Chiappone retains remarkable freshness, with not a moment of reduction or careless redirection. Some dried fruit on the nose is curious so changes are in the air but the Brentura’s structure outside of the wood realm is more solid than most. So too is the warmer, rounder and more breathable acidity, now so integrated. Marvellous example of what barbera d’sati can be. Drink 2017-2019. Tasted July 2017  erededi  @erededi  Erede Di Chiappone Armando

Gozzelino Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Ciabot d’la Mandorla 2012, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

The underworld of gariga and earthy fox holes are accessed through Gozzelino’s well-aged 2012, a barbera that saw its biased share of barrel by way of a 24 months full soaking in (3000L) Grande Botti. It has emerged vinous and boxy, foxy and full of heavy set moxy, like dried fruit and jerky absorbing like sponges in a pool of campari and aperol. The rusticity is palpable, the figs and the chocolate baking with spice. The alcohol persists while the wine acts fading but it’s certainly persistent. Old-school, traditional, out there in the antediluvian void. Drink 2017-2018.  Tasted July 2017  Azienda Agricola Gozzelino Sergio

Moretti Adimari Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG 2015, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Moretti’s Superiore takes barbera further, out of a stainless steel world and into barriques for eight months. Perfume and acidity are barbera hallmarks, here now merged nicely together, but it is texture that elevates the game. The chalkiness gained from sandy, Franco (white) limestone soils make for a rover of a barbera, through liquid mineral and made creamy by barrel. Moretti as a producer experiments with riesling, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc so there is no surprise this barbera travels hither and thither. And it works. Drink 2018-2022.  Tasted July 2017  morettiadimariwines    @morettiadimariwines

Montalbera Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG Nuda 2013, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Montalbera’s calcareous soils are the catalyst to keeping this barbera scaled back, with teeth still shining white after 20 months in barriques. The unfiltered, oak driven wine is astonishingly divine and elegantly integrated with so much dripping, oozing and glazing chocolate. It’s rich and fine if for certain a mess in a mouthful. Drink 2018-2021.  Tasted July 2017  montalbera  @Montalbera  @montalbera

Berta Paolo Barbera d’Asti DOCG 2015, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

From vineyards located between the areas of Monferrato and Langa, Berta Paolo’s barbera is a ceremoniously traditional one, possessive of a walk the line beauty specific to the area, at once sonsy in pure red fruit and then volatile to just the right degree. Here is the sort of barbera that exemplifies the natural while unbeknownst to just how raw an affair it really is. Honesty oozes from one that succeeds in being real without even trying. Drink 2017-2019.  Tasted July 2017 vinifamigliaberta  @wineBerta  @viniberta

Borgo Isolabella Delle Croce Barbera d’Asti DOCG 2015, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Were that is were so simple for all barbera to take one road or the other, as does Isolabella’s on the darker, full-tempered side. This is so perfectly solid, structured, architecturally sound barbera, with classically styled columns and porticos, tart and with a wealth of 2015 fruit. It’s dark but health-tempered, ever so slightly tannic and streaming with fine natural acidity. So well made. Drink 2017-2020.  Tasted July 2017  isolabelladellacroce2001  @ISOLABELLA_D_C_  @isolabelladellecroce

The history of @ilNizza began long ago. Prepare for its storied future. Exceptional tasting, stellar wines #barberadasti #100percent #100percentapproval #piemonte #progettovino #collision

Nizza DOCG and DOC

Bersano Barbera d’Asti Riserva Nizza DOCG Generala 2014, Piedmont, Italy (Agent, WineAlign)

Suave, refined, silky smooth barbera, of a warmth to express and make accessible the sense of its strength, power and alcohol. It is the exceptionality of texture that really shines. Bersano’s Nizza (Riserva) has already done its 30 months of aging time so it can be released 12 days from now. A true case of catching a wine at its potential best. As they say, timing is everything. Like on the stage so on a lighter, theatrical note this is perhaps an ode to 20th century Italian drama, to Signora Ignazia. “Dear, dear Signora! Hail to our great Generala! To our patron saint!” And yet we could do without the theatre, as long as we have barbera. Drink 2018-2024.  Tasted July 2017  bersano1907  profilewinegroup  @BERSANO1907  @ProfileWineGrp  @Bersanowine  Profile Wine Group

Bersano Barbera d’Asti Nizza DOC Generala 2013, Piedmont, Italy (Agent, WineAlign)

Something about the 2013 vintage speaks with such great clarity as it does here in Roberto Morosinotto’s barbera from Nizza fruit that spent six months in tonneaux. The chocolate swirl has palpably settled on the palate but it’s just so silky smooth, tempered and demonstrative. Acidity surely runs high, it is barbera after all, but it also drifts into and with the waves of plum, wood spice and just spice in generala. Drink 2017-2020.  Tasted July 2017

Bersano Barbera d’Asti Nizza DOC Generala 2010, Piedmont, Italy (Agent, WineAlign)

The summer of extreme heat (though perhaps holding no candle compared to 2017) has delivered a warm to warmest Bersano barbera with a calming effect achieved by cooling time spent in big barrels that date back to 1970. This ’10 is possessive of that sort of delicious perception of sweetness that puts it up there with the richest of the Nizza barbera. The élevage is half and half tonneaux/barriques and texture is full of this Mediterranean liquorice/black olive/gariga/briny tang. Nicely structured to last in this state for another three years. Drink 2017-2020.  Tasted July 2017

Bersano Barbera d’Asti Nizza DOC Generala 2008, Piedmont, Italy (Agent, WineAlign)

Another excellent vintage for the Generala is found to be sound and generous at the nine year mark though the fully developed secondary character is duly noted. Helps to prepare and deduce a clear impression of where 2010 will go over the next two to three years. This ’08 has not quite reached the denouement stage though it has peaked, reeking resinous of fruit and wood clasped in a lover’s humid embrace, with notes of dried orange, apricot, fig jam, tar and roses. The acidity still rages quite assiduously while the briny and ecoregion earthy brush have now faded and disappeared from the fragrance trail. Drink 2017-2019.  Tasted July 2017

Il Botolo Barbera d’Asti Nizza DOCG 2014, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

From soils with quite a bit of sediment, in the northeast part of Nizza. Quite the silky feel following on the heels of refinement and freshness. A liquid liqueur that is close to syrup but more of a natural feel, without tonic or medicine, but just pure limestone liquid fruit. The sort of tart that is elongated, elastic and stretched with ease. Drink early because it’s quite a glassful of immediate pleasure. Grows on you too. Drink 2017-2019.  Tasted July 2017

Cascina Garitina Barbera d’Asti Superiore “900” Neuvsent CEC Nizza DOCG 2014, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Why 900? Because Giancarlo Morino’s momma began working here in the 1900s but the local dialect was spoken so quickly so it was just, “900.” The vineyard “CEC” is pronounced “check,” or short for Francesca, who used to own the vineyard. From the (Castel Boglione) southern part of Nizza with higher acidity and alcohol, here at 15 per cent. Aged 12 months in barrel, there is some deep organic clay and (three) old vineyard (1924, 1949 and 1954) induced layering, astringency and brooding, of a seriousness about it that makes it dense and a bit tempered, finishing with dark chocolate. A minty, savoury and sapid streak runs through, likely with thanks to the cooling Mediterranean “Marin” winds that blow through the vineyards from spring to autumn. Well done but needs as much as five to seven years to show as silky and refined as some of the others. Drink 2019-2024.  Tasted July 2017  cascinagaritina  @gianlucamorino  Gianluca Morino (Vignaiolo indipendente)

I’ve got 900 reasons to drink these @gianlucamorino #cascinagaritina #nizza but need only one #nizzamonferrato #progettovino #collisionimonferrato #cec #neuvsent #barberadasti

Cascina Garitina Barbera d’Asti Superiore “900” Neuvsent Nizza DOC 2010, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Having tasted Gianluca Morino’s 2014 earlier in the day it makes this follow up, retrospective look at his 2010 such a satisfying confirmation of his work. That ’14 was way too young to make lifelong friends with but this ’10, well this is something other. While still a seriously brooding, hematic, ganache spread of fine chocolate barbera, the components have filled the kettle to overflowing, but time has worked to now emit a floral and spice perfume. The richness of oak has also rendered a touch of complexity, of caramel and baking spice but even further, into secondary beginnings. The tones are aromatic, musical and textural, of sweet, salty and faintly sour by a fineness of acidity. One more year will bring it all together. Drink 2017-2020.  Tasted July 2017

Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOCG Cipressi 2014, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

From a loamy locale, aged in large oak barrels, there is a rusticity about it along with its really dark cherry fruit. Some Bretty volatility too, complexity, character, oomph and reason for living. Quite high in acidity and structure is provided by that ideal with addendum by the gentle touch afforded by the higher oxygen exchange, large format wood. Drink 2018-2022.  Tasted July 2017  michelechiarlo  univinscanada  @michelechiarlo  @UNIVINS  Michele Chiarlo  @UnivinsCanada

Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOCG La Court 2013, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Chiarlo’s La Court is actually one of the only Nizza barbera with a hard to get, slightly reserved character. It’s aromas are a bit muted though you get the sense that it’s quite floral behind the veil. Patience and air reveal dark fruits, of plum and black raspberry, then dusty earth and liquorice, with a silky patterning on the palate. Would love to get some wood spice but that too is currently in limbo so time is required to reveal such charm. The acidity is less than barbera raging, something that falls into line with the sneaky structure. Quite singular Nizza cru work right here. Drink 2018-2023.  Tasted July 2017

Viticoltori Associati Vinchio Vaglio Serra Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOCG Laudana 2014, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

From the hill known as “Bricco Laudana” this is one of two barberas produced from its clay and sandy marls, a barbera d’asti DOC and this extraordinary Nizza DOCG. The Nizza is aged one year in large oak barrels, thus mixing grace, elegance and full on liqueur with high, nearing acetic acidity. Very long but with angular bits and spikes in and out of the morello cherry fruit. Needs a year to settle in and amongst its sharp, moving parts. The cru is farmed by five or six producers and certainly one to watch, explore and anticipate the subsequent glory that near-future vintages will bring. Drink 2018-2024.  Tasted July 2017  vinchiovaglioserra  @vinchiovaglio  @VinchioVaglioSerra

Viticoltori Associati Vinchio Vaglio Serra Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOC Laudana 2012, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Laudana is a warm and inviting barbera, dark with an ambling, rusty variegate, almost traditionally rustic but with a silky texture. Its notes play sweet and sour red fruits, namely raspberry and its constitution is right proper Nizza with the sort of traditional feel to demand not just attention but a raison d’être that says,”grant us our own DOCG.” It’s a dusty and vinous affair, like fully realized merlot with elevated alcohol, acidity and good phenolic ripeness. A solid, unafraid and unabashed barbera to represent the denomination with confidence and poise. Drink 2017-2019.  Tasted July 2017

Azienda Agricola Ivaldi Dario Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOCG “1613” 2014, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Ivaldi Dario’s barbera captures the honesty, clarity and purity of Nizza Monferrato, from grapes grown on clay-limestone soils and from vines 50 years of age. This perfectly suited barbera was aged in large Slavonian oak barrels and in 2014 turned out lithe and beautiful at 13.5 per cent. It’s tart as it should be, recounting a brief bit of tradition, earthiness and volatility. This is the most decent and convivial barbera of the lot, from longer, slower maceration with less pump overs and no unnecessary barriques aging. The lighter hue is vintage related but also house-curated, not to (re) mention classic styling. Picked early? Perhaps. Most important is that it is progressively hands-off, proper and most appreciated winemaking to celebrate a white limestone terroir. Drink 2018-2023.  Tasted July 2017  andrea.ivaldi  @ivaldidario  @vinidelmonferrato

Azienda Agricola Ivaldi Dario Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOC “1613” 2012, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Few persuasions in the schemes of wine assessments are more fascinating to study than vintage variation, always great signs and portents from the fringe growing regions of the world. Monferrato is one such place, affected by swings in climatic conditions from year to year, raised here in magnification through the lens of Andrea Ivaldi’s multi-faceted barbera. The depth and structure in this ’12 is so contrary to the bright eyed ’14, now richer and almost brooding, even for Nizza. Ivaldi is a house with a self-predicated idiosyncrasy but here it speaks with Nizza style, perhaps antithetically reflexive but still with fruit that echoes from its manifest gaze into a mirror. Andrea makes exactly what the vintage gives, with blacker than red fruit bruised with a variegated hematoma and yet layered with a mineral underlap from that white limestone hill. As an arrangement it’s bigger than even he would likely have wanted to fashion but he’s a pragmatic winemaker who had to pick his fruit by September 20th. Do the math and see the forest for the trees. Drink 2017-2022.  Tasted July 2017

Berta Paolo Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOCG La Berta 2014, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

The Berta family wine estate dates back to 1842 with vineyards located between the areas of Monferrato and Langa. Their Nizza barbera d’asti is aged in large 500L oak barrels, lending a perfume that lingers long after this textured wine has stretched into the long aftertaste. Berta’s is quite a warm, rich, welling and dense example, fine liquid grainy, weighty and youthfully cumbersome. Having been afforded the opportunity to taste some older examples later the same day really put this one into perspective and provided a deeper understanding of Nizza structure. Drink 2018-2022.  Tasted July 2017  vinifamigliaberta  @wineBerta  @viniberta

Berta Paolo Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOC La Berta 2011, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

The Nizza DOCG was added to Asti’s barbera portfolio in 2014 so this predates the appellative status, though for real intents and purposes this ’11 serves the same purpose. From a hotter than hot summer though the aromatics hide the thought and so you would never know just how warm it was. The palate speaks a different story with a deep-seated liqueur distilled from the top of the Berta Paolo terroir, a 40-70 year old set of plantings at Il Bricco, “The kettle” vineyard, 270 meters above sea level. The veins of this plot stretched over the hill of San Michele at Nizza Monferrato are the reason for Berta Paola’s distinct barbera texture. In 2011 this translates to a creamy, dreamy, suave and fine leathery parochial wine. Another example to set up one’s mind to realize what later vintages will turn out to be. Drink 2017-2022.  Tasted July 2017

If 2014 is anything like 2008 the future will shine on #famigliaberta #barberadasti @ilnizza Riserva #progettovino #collisionimonferrato

Berta Paolo Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOC La Berta 2008, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

More traditional than ever, partly and certainly because of age but also in an era that predates the level of current Nizza Monferrato understanding. This travels into a secondary, present state savour with the still flowing liqueur of the San Michele terroir. Speaks an older school, barrel-influenced vernacular, of a chocolate and vanilla vocabulary with an edge of Brett and volatility. Character from another time and quite persistent in voice. Drink 2017-2018.  Tasted July 2017

Villa Giada Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOCG Bricco Dani 2014, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Here from Andrea Faccio struts with great confidence the dark, hematic, ferric and brooding barbera. A very serious Nizza, mercury rising, full on chocolate, espresso and an oily tar, imagining a nebbiolo-like modernity that places this in a stylistic and über-specific category. High acidity, some grainy tannin and sharp finishings so this needs some time. More than any other thus far in the Nizza DOCG flights. Drink 2019-2024.  Tasted July 2017  villagiadawine  Andrea Faccio

Bava Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOCG Pianoalto 2014, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

A large (500L) barrel aging, this is highly, beautifully perfumed, restrained and deliciously tart. Savoury, herbal and tomato leaf herbal, from a hill with a crest, “the high plain,” or plateau. A current of currants, bell pepper and really ripe acidity. This is the most proper use of barrels, generous but exceptional. The most energy of all, modern and yet somehow classic, even traditional. Drink 2018-2025.  Tasted July 2017  bavawinery  @bavawinery  @bava.winery

Bava Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOC Pianoalto 2007, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Barbera’s secondary moments are upon the 10 year-old Pianoalto though the wine still slides across the palate with creamy barrel texture. Notes of fig and prune are a case of a hot and dry vintage with very low yields. The nose has matured into a perfume only lifted now by the persistence of barbera’s elevated acidity so this continues to fly at a decent altitude. It’s quite perfect at the ripe old age. Drink 2017-2020.  Tasted July 2017

Bava Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOC Pianoalto 2001, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Certainly showing its age at 16 and perhaps not as long-lasting due to what was at the time a middle of the road sort of vintage. It was a low and slow, no real heat to speak of, natural and organically rendered season so the wine has in turn done the same in kind. Now into the tertiary it has little to no bite or reason to put up a fight. What does persist is a chocolate, espresso and spice sprinkling, then down towards a slightly sharp, tart and done with it finish. Tannins are now only woody but all in all it’s a curious and worthy look back at turn of the century Nizza. Drink 2017-2018.  Tasted July 2017

La Gironda Barbera d’Asti Nizza DOCG Le Nicchie 2014, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

A barbera return to dark fruit, glycerin into texture across a silky smooth palate. From old vines, many exceeding 50 years. Real concentration and developed fruit with an underlay of stone and clay. It’s rich and intense but not dense, warm but not searing. Everything rising but cresting, on a plateau where it can be handled. Structure is clear and obvious. Take this one deep into the cellar. Drink 2018-2025.  Tasted July 2017  la_gironda  @LaGironda  Susanna Galandrino

La Gironda Barbera d’Asti Nizza DOC Le Nicchie 2011, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

The vintage for Le Nicchie is deep, dark and handsome, with fruit woven into texture rich and thick, with lots of wood and lit-scented herbs. Smells like rosemary and thyme stalks thrown on an open flame. It’s also almost impossibly silky and smooth while in management of quite refined acidity and tannin. Very polished Nizza barbera. Drink 2019-2023.  Tasted July 2017

La Gironda Barbera d’Asti Nizza DOC Le Nicchie 2007, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

La Gironda’s is yet another 2007 that exhibits very high acidity. It was in fact a hot vintage that concentrated fruit but also that omniscient barbera acidity. Seems very young, almost impulsively so. The flavours are of an extreme Nizza variety, like a slice of Cru cake (in this case Le Nicchie) swimming in a syrupy pool of its own deeply reduced demi-glacé. For fans of barbera density with haute couture style and this is how this house does what they do best. Drink 2017-2020.  Tasted July 2017

La Gironda Barbera d’Asti Nizza DOC Le Nicchie 2003, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

As hot as a vintage like 2007 might have been it held no fingertip burning candle to the likes of the scorcher of 2003. In the case of La Gironda and its Le Nicchie Cru the heat played right into the hands of the house style. This is quite a remarkable specimen because despite the warmth and the time elapsed this barbera is just in the early throes of secondary life, so the level of structure is quite astounding. The heavy wood aspect fully renders in chocolate tones piqued with spice. The combinative use of barriques and tonneaux has struck an accord and this still clings to viable life even if it’s quite the molten chocolate bomb. Drink 2017-2019.  Tasted July 2017

Tenuta Olim Bauda Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOCG 2014, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Few barbera from Nizza’s recently appointed DOCG are as polished as Gianni Bertolino’s ’14, a long developed piemontese that spent two years in large barrels. The fruit is really ripe, pushed to the limit of the vintage but just cresting at the edge of dried fruit and the tawny, figgy spectrum. Wild strawberry keeps it fruity and earthy, acidity is round and still in charge, thankfully, for the building and beguiling effect of great structure. Drink 2018-2022.  Tasted July 2017  tenuta_olimbauda hobbsandcompany  @tenutaolimbauda  @hobbsandco  hobbsandcompany

Tenuta Olim Bauda Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza Doc 2011, Piedmont, Italy (SAQ 11383570, $37.50, WineAlign)

From a hot vintage, especially in summer but the warmth was managed by enough cool nights. Gianni Bertolino tells me about picking on acidity, not sugar, in mid-September. Here is the generous, extremely fresh, tart and silky barbera. A seriously classy, chic, racy and almost perfectly modern wine, very much an acumen-acquiesced and benchmark leader for the Nizza appellation. Drink 2017-2023.  Tasted July 2017

Tenuta Olim Bauda Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza Doc 2010, Piedmont, Italy (SAQ 11383570, $37.50, WineAlign)

Earlier in the day it was Gianni Bertolino who commented on barbera from Nizza being a six-year wine. His 2010 must have hit its stride at just about exactly the six year mark because here in its seventh just the beginnings of secondary character are showing their tell tale signs. It’s in cantilever mode, stretching out over the barbera abyss, unfurling its wings and truly opening to reveal its charms. Though the acidity still burns, churns and plays devil’s advocate to the depth of fruit and territory, the wood has melted enough to reign in that sapidity and balance is coming into order. It may come as a surprise to find the acidity warm but no longer sharpening its stone but where chocolate, dried fruit (namely plum) and spice are concerned this will be the result. Yet so much life persists in this ubiquitously defined cru of a Nizza. Drink 2017-2022.  Tasted July 2017

Cantina Tre Secoli Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOCG 2014, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Cooperative rendered barbera, aged for one year in small barrels. Soil is equally spread across several vineyards, from a rock, sand and loam accrue. Amenable, approachable, warm and vibrant acidity, dark fruit and negligible tannin. Some sweetness, black cherry, berry and fig. Drink 2017-2020.  Tasted July 2017  #cantinatresecoli  @TRESECOLI  @tresecoli1887

Cantina Tre Secoli Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOCG 2011, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

It takes but a sip of the Tre Secoli 2011 to gain an understanding in comparison as to where the afore-tasted 2014 is heading. Few Nizza barbera swim with such full on chocolate and dried fruit depth and while the kinship resemblance between the two wines is uncanny, the heat of this ’11 vintage has brought on some fully realized evolution. The richness is all in, drying out and truffles are just around the next bend. Drink 2017-2019.  Tasted July 2017

A quadrato of big, bold and balanced @MarcoBonfante70 #barberadasti @ilNizza Bricco Bonfante #progettovino #collisionimonferrato

Marco Bonfante Barbera d’Asti Superiore Riserva Nizza DOCG Bricco Bonfante 2014, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

In the hills of Nizza and Val di Sacca, Bonfante takes a deferential approach with some drying of the grapes for a handful of days, but unlike the three to four months as in Amarone. His fruit is aged in a combination of small and large oak barrels for 20 months. The extra concentration leads to higher sugar content and therefore elevated (15-16 per cent) alcohol but the wine is vinified dry. Sourced from the Bricco, top of the hill on calcareous clay marl. In the end this is a thick, viscous, shaken but certainly refined and balanced barbera in its large format, unabashed and even braggart style. Drink 2019-2026. Tasted July 2017  marcobonfantewinery  @MarcoBonfante70  @MarcoBonfanteWinery

Marco Bonfante Barbera d’Asti Superiore Riserva Nizza DOC Bricco Bonfante 2012, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Bricco Bonfante is the one and a half hectare family vineyard though it’s not necessary to label the wine “vigna.” Bricco works just fine. Now the comparison (to the barbera d’asti Superiore) becomes clear because the silk and elegance is noted in clean and pure Nizza. The 5,500 density of vines producing 4,000 bottles works out mathematically to 800 grams of fruit per plant, a number nothing short of ridiculous economics. With necessity the mother of invention the quality must run high and so 24 months in new barriques is bequeathed the precious fruit. The bricco exalted is the origin of the barbera that delivers prescience, presence and a preciseness of being. The hill is the thing, the vineyard its totem, the hot vintage adding heat early and on repeat, at 15.5 degrees alcohol (declared) so ripe, so big and with structure so in control. Drink 2019-2027.  Tasted July 2017

Marco Bonfante Barbera d’Asti Superiore Riserva Nizza DOC Bricco Bonfante 2011, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

The vintage is in fact not so completely unlike the 2012 if perhaps a step taken back, away from power, terribilita and the heat. The palate has already begun to relent into a Nizza meets Bricco Bonfante sweetness and the tannins have resolved one notch down to a point closer to understanding. As a result there is more polish to Marco’s 2011 and a finer layer of silk. Here for the first time there is this purity of dark cherries mixed into the finest chocolate and a touch of secondary character development in balsamic. Should be good to go this time next year. Drink 2018-2024.  Tasted July 2017

Marco Bonfante Barbera d’Asti Superiore Riserva Nizza DOC Bricco Bonfante 2010, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Travelling in reverse down along a Marco Bonfante vertical is a most interesting exercise and makes so much sense. The 2010 is so similar to 2011, even more than how that ’11 compares with 2012. The fruit in ’10 is less pitchy, in delivery of red to black berries (or black raspberry to be precise) and yet the silky thread runs through the red. The same 24 months in new barriques sends this reeling into the plum chocolate pudding as a veritable bomb of a Nizza barbera. There are some who might find the stylistic overbearing, weighty and dense. They would not be wrong but they would be missing the Bricco point, of a matter that comes from the top of the hill with lowest of the low yields out of a rarity of rarities vineyard. There is no denying the acumen and the ambition but also, mostly the necessity. Drink 2017-2021.  Tasted July 2017

Marco Bonfante Barbera d’Asti Superiore Riserva Nizza DOC Bricco Bonfante 2009, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

It was beginning to look like no matter how far back you travel in a Bricco Bonfante Nizza vertical there would be no signs of evolution, that is until you hit this 2009. Here the first to begin an inkling into secondary notes, if only the etchings of spice symbols and wood derived pericopes. There is also a faint, around the corner idea of tar and candied roses, or perhaps they’ve already begun to join the scented party. I find this 2009 quite cru Barolo-like and it’s interesting to note that this was Marco’s first Nizza Bricco. It also happens to be the one with the most apparent fruit, or perhaps time is the factor needed for such a reveal. It travels from red to black and back. Really quite amazing. Drink 2017-2021.  Tasted July 2017

Godello, Michele Longo, Michaela Morris and Dr. Michael Apstein

L’Armangia Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOC Titon 2013, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Titon is a blend of three estate vineyards planted between 1934 and 1990. The plots are also a mix of exposures; southeast, east and west, with warm temperatures abundant throughout. This barbera runs a fever of acidity, doles out plenty of chocolate, has yet to fully integrate its wood and is truly well made Nizza. Drink 2017-2019.  Tasted July 2017  armangia.giuly  @LARMANGIA

L’Armangia Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOC Vignali 2011, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Vignali is the single-vineyard barbera from the estate vineyard planted in 1934. An approximate 24 months of barrel aging is performed before it then ages in bottle for a further 24 months. At first there are the new 300L oak casks, then small 130L barrels for 12 months and finally large casks for 10-12 months more. Well, all this to say that Vignali is fully involved in its secondary stage of life. It is a most mature barbera, with the three holy trinity tenets of chocolate, balsamic and high level acidity all working as one. The soil and barbera tang is fully felt. Drink 2017-2019.  Tasted July 2017

L’Armangia Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOC Vignali 2010, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

A later harvest developed riper fruit with higher phenolics and with seven years under its belt that fruit is drying nicely. Chocolate as always with figs, raisins, apricots and as expected balsamic, though here with a shot of dark espresso. All of the above on repeat and that big barbera acidity. Drink 2017-2018.  Tasted July 2017

Going back to @ilNizza for a lesson in what tomorrow will bring @Coppo1892 Grazie Luigi #barbera #barberadasti #riservadellafamiglia

Coppo Barbera d’Asti Nizza Superiore DOC Riserva di Famiglia 2009, Piedmont, Italy (Agent, $74.95, WineAlign)

From a small cru located in Castelnuovo Calcea, born in 1998, “a project, not only a wine,” explains Luigi Coppo. Only produced in the best vintages, the previous being 2007 and the next will be 2010, though this ’09 is undoubtedly the finest. “It’s not a wine of economics,” continues Coppo, but a single-vineyard expression for people to think outside the barbera box. It shares less history than Pomorosso and thus the reason why it is only selected from very specific vintages, “to work on the craft.” Few if any Barbera d’Asti carry such precision and presence. It’s adult candy, wise and layered, the key to making great barbera right here, in this texture. Expertly woven are fruit, wood and acidity so that all are blended, with no ego, nothing taken for granted, all in balance. Drink 2017-2027.  Tasted July 2017  coppo1892  maitredechai_ca  @COPPO1892  @maitredechai  @COPPO1892  Le Maître de Chai

Coppo Barbera d’Asti Nizza Superiore DOC Riserva di Famiglia 2007, Piedmont, Italy (AgentWineAlign)

Higher acidity in 2007 and alcohol pushing at 15.3 per cent (as opposed to 14.7 in 2009) don’t mean the world has come to end but it does make for an electric Nizza barbera. Even then Coppo could be pragmatic when it was called for so the wood use in this barbera was increased, to soak up some of that fantasy and see if the components could strike a balance in accord. You can really sense the fineness of silk on the palate. Still so beautifully managed, or rather you can intuit looking ahead 10 years from signsin this 2007 how in future vintages the winemaker will know how to manage the realities of vintage variable acidities, through the adjustments in wood and how that will determine the levels of tannin. Drink 2017-2019.  Tasted July 2017.

Borgo Isolabella Delle Croce Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza Doc Augusta 2009, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

All the Isolabella wines receive a girl’s name, in this instance Augusta, a vineyard selection from a couple of sites on each side of the village limits and named after the proprietor’s sister. The estate produces only 90,000 bottles, each highly specialized and this barbera comes out of the highly prized vintage. In retrospect and with the fortune to taste several 2009s in one walkabout it is now obvious that the season bequeathed the gift of age on its wines. Great because of an extra fineness of acidity from a grape that always gives this way but in Isolabella’s 2009 there is this cool, savoury, reserved character, not unusual but balanced in equal opposition to the strength of perfume and body. A delicato is expressed in what may be referred to as an ultra-über special 2009. Drink 2017-2025.  Tasted July 2017  isolabelladellacroce2001  @ISOLABELLA_D_C_  @isolabelladellecroce

A deep #eredichiappone vertical delve with Daniele for perspective and a release of endorphins @ilNizza possibilities #progrettovini #collisionimonferrato

Erede Di Chiappone Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOC RU 2011, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Daniele Chiappone’s 2011 is his richest, warmest, most wood affected barbera replete with an armament of spice. While still in the care of its 16 per cent alcohol frame it is a most underdeveloped specimen but because it’s so big and burly it can’t help but reek, ooze and sweat out the aching masala of aromatics. In talking with Daniele he fully admits this to be the vintage of great demand and pressure so he simply made the wine it asked for. I liken this to Amarone from vintages like 2010 and 2011, unavoidable and so a great winemaker will simply do what must be done and try to seek out balance in a bold and crazy world. With fine acidity void of spikes, peaks and valleys Chappione puts this barbera in a state of equilibrium however high the plain may be. Give this two years minimum to integrate and match it with some lean venison over a bed of tangy polenta. Drink 2019-2027.  Tasted July 2017

Erede Di Chiappone Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOC RU 2010, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

Chappione’s 2010 is barbera of a powerful maturation and its polyphenolics are quite different than those from 2011. The hard skins, noted by Daniele as pelli durissime might lead to a personality ostinata impermeabilità but a longer maceration broke them down, turned the opposite around to make them flexible and permeable. Though still tightly wound and not yet pliant this precise and very present 2010 of intrinsic structural value will make use of another year in bottle to soften its pertinacious fibres. When it opens up it will bloom, but ever so slowly, over a 15-20 year plan. Its crazy legs, choice acidities and quality tannins will all conspire towards longevity of the indiction degree. Drink 2019-2027.  Tasted July 2017

Erede Di Chiappone Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOC RU 2006, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

RU by Daniele Chiappone is this, at first something altogether inexplicable but when tasted alongside his 2005, 2010 and 2011 it makes such perfect sense. Sense in where this fits in his evolution and to speak on behalf of the age-worthy ability of Nizza barbera. In a world where barbera perfume so often performs with perfunctory brevity this goes on and on. It is a unique combination of fennel frond, incense, hibiscus and violet to create an intoxicant and an anaesthetic. Yet another exceptional vintage is revealed, traditional and so alive, spun from earth crusting over cherry and then this smooth leather. The portal backwards 10 years allows for looks forward 10 more, especially into what’s coming from 2015 and 2016. To say the match with a prodigiously spiced in aromatic ragu over linguine was agreeable would be the understatement of the Monferrato century. Perfectly timed acidity seals the deal. This is barbera folks, of wit, age and history. Drink 2017-2021.  Tasted July 2017

Erede Di Chiappone Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza DOC RU 2005, Piedmont, Italy (Winery, WineAlign)

The vintage was a tough one with some hail and difficult to get the grapes into a state of full maturity. It’s amazing how winemakers remember every painful moment of a vintage like 2005 and Daniele Chiappone recalls picking in the first week of October. While that may not be wholly unusual for the RU cru it is quite a late Piemonte harvest. This RU carries deep, dark depth in currant fruit, in a realm where cabernet franc hooks up with nebbiolo and sires a love child. Side by side with 2010 it is really just the quality of tannins that truly sets the two apart and here the chemical reactions in the natural world bring about spice; cinnamon, star anise and then this eminence of Chiappone acidity. In Nizza it is this speciality that is both singular and distinct that creates such a structured feeling of éclat, or in the case of Chiappone, fulgore. Drink 2017-2022.  Tasted July 2017

Il contingente canadese @Collisioni #nizza #barberalovers #represent #progettovino #piemonte

Thanks for reading up on the wines of Barbera d’Asti and Nizza Monferrato. Let’s all hope we begin to see more options in both categories made available here in Ontario. A special thanks to Ian D’Agata, Michele Longo, Michaela Morris, Giulia Corino and the entire Collisioni crew.

Good to go!


Twitter: @mgodello

Instagram: mgodello


The Wine Diaries: Around the world in 20 whites

Photo Credit:

In sweltering times like these the refreshing vigor of white wine is irrefutable and necessary. I would steer you to just about any global example from this list. Standing tall above is a 20th choice, the Terredora Greco di Tufo that I reviewed the other day. The Iberians too are all solid selections.

Stag’s Leap Winery Viognier 2011 (597369, $34.95) tasted twice tarried true to type. Velvety proof found in the pudding, the Viognier’s a Napa squall of plum flowering white in the wind. Apples baking and an Indonesian spice market with the citrus spray of a fresh squeezed grapefruit. Then the wine goes underground, into a heated, peppery lair. “Aww she surely do moves me,” she must be illegal stuff.  89

Ferngrove Cossack Riesling 2010 (275206, $24.95) adventures into herbal grass, spinifex and mangrove musk. Some petrol and shucked mollusk shell join the omnipresent lemon and lime of Aussie Riesling. Like rice pudding wine. The Cossack’s twain marks not in Ukraine. “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.”   87

Astrolabe Province Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (10421, $21.95) formerly known as Voyage, formerly, formerly just Astrolabe. Kiwi non-starter in search of an identity in a sea of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Vegetal asparagus and blanched beans lift a dead bale but a kicking caboose shakes that thing on the finale88

Blind River Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (141499, $19.95) does not run with Marlborough’s reliably charitable gooseberry, grass and acidity. “Well it was back in Blind River” when I last saw this SB alive. Young but long on decline.  84

Seifried Riesling 2011 (989541, $17.95) is a robotically off-dry, stone fruit and cold Steve Austin reeking of A16. Blanched, bionic, bitter, sweet and sour gooseberagus. Would fare better as Cantonese chicken balls. Wrestles with identity. Could pass for Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Cyborg or Steve Andersen. No matter the Riesling.  85

Vrede en Lust White Mischief 2011 (280156, $16.95) is bees-waxy, dank and yet juicy South African Vin Gris. A kitchen sink of protractive, not so floral smells. Five blended varietals cancel each other out. Pinot Grigio always wins. 87

Meinklang Grüner Veltliner 2010 (219014, $15.95) is some kind of Mostellian edible oil product. S, green herbs and Pam. A snail minus the butter and garlic. Zero acidity, humourless, see that “S” car go.  84

Domaine Gresser Duttenberg Riesling 2009 (283523, $21.95) fights the Alsatian fight. Light and expressive of primeval stone, caraway and Sommer Special Amer. Bucketmouth watering salinity.  87

Lucien Albrecht Réserve Pinot Gris 2010 (281394, $17.95) is pungent in a dry rub ginger, zeotar and galangal sort of way. To taste it is sweet and to mouth viscous like Muskateler. Rustic and ready for porky burnt ends roasted over felled Linden.  86

Château Haut Bertinerie 2009 (422220, $23.95) of old vines from the woods of the Blye has been “down on the rock for so long.” Marl, barley and Fuissé-esque peach toast. Allen’s Apple Juice too. Talking White Bordeaux with 100% Sauvignon Blanc Blues.  87

Domaine De La Tourlaudière Muscadet Sèvre Et Maine 2010 (171694, $13.95) shows off more weight and depth for the appellation, if less acidity so fish matches ahead of seafood. A peppery kick and tangy melon rind remind me of Verdejo or Albarinho. A Melon de Bourgogne à la Loire easy to get along with.  I think Norm might agree.  87

Masion Foucher La Vigne Aux Sandres Pouilly Fumé 2010 (277350, $20.95) seems to act green with Kiwi envy. How else to explain the extreme grassy and goosey behaviour?   86

Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Kabinett 2008 (606202, $16.95) hails from less than 1er Cru Vineyard stock,  fumes odiferously of orange peel and Mandarin sauce reduction. This passes and leads to a cleaner Gardenia scent. To taste much more confected than expected with spiced honey. Got a lot going on here but the focus is not on the trolley.  87

Darting Riesling Kabinett 2009 (950212, $15.95) is guarded, a mastiff in protection mode. Bawdy lime and not much else. Almost always enjoy this Michelsberg. Funny bottle.  NR

Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio 2011 (954024, $17.95) the Gallo of Alto Adige effervesces yeast meets western volcanic and dolomitic crust and sea. Peaches and cream, nectarine with length but campestral like Beck’s melancholy. “Keep your lamplight trimmed and burning.”  87

Michele Chiarlo Le Marne Gavi 2011 (228528, $14.95) is a salt lick of crustaceous shells and dripping stone fruit goodness. A simple and fun summer quaffer.  87

Casa Do Valle Grande Escolha 2011 (276220, $14.95) while unmistakably Portuguese Vinho Verde, this could be a ringer for Greco di Tufo or Viognier. The long visit to the haberdashery at once wears baking spice, Mezzogiorno mangia cake at Christmas and then white rose, honeysuckle Hermitage. Lofty comparisons for sure but this exceptional IVR* treacle is a chef mastered sweetbread of a double “V.”  89








Nessa Albariño 2010 (282558, $15.95) maybe pale but a gale of vinous expression abounds. Lemon, wax and citrus along with the bitter roots of Wormwood and Horseradish. Would work well with Fried clams and donuts.  88

Domaine Des Chouans 2010 (278945, $15.95) chassays over all pretty and sallow. Dry, sweet at first, then turns bitter. A Blue Podded Blauwschokker Garden Pea. Ornamental but inedible.  85

More notes from the VINTAGES, June 23, 2012 release:

The Wine Diaries:  Chardonnay close to the edge

The Wine Diaries: MMVA’s sparkling wine showers

IVR* – Vintage Direct Intrigue-to-Value Ratio

CVR* – Vintage Direct Curiosity-to-Value Ratio

Good to go!

The Wine Diaries: MMVA’s sparkling wine showers

LMFAO. The Canadian Press/Chris Young

Organizers of the Much Music Video Awards are proud to say the event’s boozy and disorganized culture has been cleaned up over the past few years. So, you and your under-aged teenager decided it would be perfectly fine to attend. Katy Perry’s flesh-coloured bodysuit was certainly not considered inappropriate. Nor was LMFAO’s impromptu spraying of what appears to be Champagne during the duo’s rendition of their clean as a whistle, Top 40 hit.

Redfoo and SkyBlu doused a mostly underage crowd with what appeared to be real champagne – though it was likely only sparkling wine if you want to get technical. No harm done, right? That is unless it was baby Duck or Spumante. Let’s see the kids explain that one to their parents.

Where are Milli Vanilli and Right Said Fred when you need them. Could that Champagne Shower at least have been executed with one of these five? 

Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée Rosé (280172, $21.95) feigns saignée Rosé Brut if only in hue. The Blanc from Hawkes Bay Chardonnay as commodore over the faint hit of raspberry from Marlborough Pinot. “Easy like Sunday morning.”  85

Laborie Brut Sparkling Wine 2009 (280115, $17.95) makes you want to crack a window. Smells like a wet wookie, the yeasty South African cheese that is. Chewy, crusted apple pie, crackerbread, Kasha, gypsum and kaolin. “A party rocker from night ’til noon and it’s about to be a champagne monsoon.” Indehiscent bacca Pinot and Chardonnay with balancing citrus and noble lineage.  88

Bestheim Brut Crémant D’alsace (141184, $17.95) may as well be cider of apple and grapefruit. Subtle spice, soufrière and a weal burst of freshness, then bubbles all gone. What is luck but something made to run out.  86

Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato D’asti 2010 (942888, $16.95) shows off some apricot, honey, Caprino rind and Viognier perfume but is ultimately all oranges, all the time. Frizzy and fizzy Gelato D’arancia alla Crema. Low in alcohol, more dessert wine than aperitif.  Good Asti, if not an acquired taste.  86

Prevedello Asolo Superiore Extra Dry Prosecco 2010 (262881, $16.95) echoes the Moscato’s intense fruity florals but the palate is so dry I’m spitting cotton. Taleggio tang, blood orange acidity and a bit gritty. Sexy and it knows it.  87

Good to go!

April Wine: Top VINTAGES Values to Buy Right Now

April 12, 2012

How many times have you found yourself standing in the LCBO dumbfounded and lost in ambient wine distraction? Do you feel knocked upside the Medulla Oblongata by a monopoly’s shelves bedecked by every race, creed and colour of wine known to Ontario kind? Don’t get caught on The Bad Side of The Moon. Have no fear. Head straight to the VINTAGES section and choose one of these great IVR* and CVR** top picks.

Current In VINTAGES Stores
Pietro Marini Malbec 2008 (268045, $13.95) Argentina
Petra Zingari Toscana Igt 2008 (244228, $13.95) Italy
Michele Chiarlo ‘Le Orme’ Barbera D’asti Superiore 2009 (265413, $14.95) Italy
Bodega del Abad Dom Bueno Crianza 2001 (244699, $14.95) Spain
Taurino Riserva Salice Salentino 2008 (177527, $14.95) Italy
Domaine De La Janasse Côtes Du Rhône 2009 (705228, $15.95) France
VINTAGES April 14th Release
Jorio Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2009 (134577, $13.95) Italy
Fabre Montmayou Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (261891, $14.95) Argentina
VINTAGES April 28th Release
Sister’s Run Epiphany Shiraz 2008 (269464, $15.95) Australia
Cannonica e Ceretto Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 (275867, $17.00) Italy
Current In VINTAGES Stores
Tawse Sketches of Ontario Rosé 2011 (172643, $15.95) Ontario
Louis Bouillot Perle D’ivoire Brut Blancs De Blancs (48801, $18.95) France
Current In VINTAGES Stores
Fielding Estate Chardonnay Unoaked 2008 (164491, $13.95) Ontario
Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling 2011 (080234, $16.95) Ontario
Studert-Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 2007 (114777, $17.95) Germany
Marimar Estate La Masía Don Miguel Vineyard Chardonnay 2007 (270090, $19.95) California
VINTAGES April 14th Release
Michael Delhommeau Cuvee Harmonie Muscadet De Sevre-et-Maine 2010 (164624, $12.95) France
L’Uvaggio Di Giacomo Vermentino 2009 (279281, $15.95) California
Tyrell’s Brookdale Semillon 2011 (269316, $19.95) Australia
VINTAGES April 28th Release
Vincent Girardin Vieilles Vignes Mâcon-Fuissé 2009 (264515, $19.95) France

IVR* – Vintage Direct Intrigue-to-Value Ratio

CVR* – Vintage Direct Curiosity-to-Value Ratio



Live Wine Chat on

April 12, 2012

Join in Today at 2:00 pm ET as I chat online about wine. I will be joined by Ruth Dunley (PostMedia), Rod Phillips (Ottawa Citizen), James Nevison (HALFAGLASS) and Gurvinder Bhatia (Vinomania)

We will be discussing wine media. Do you read wine reviews or make purchases based on what wine critics write … should you? 




Good to go!

Non-Fiction Wines For Spring Break

Canada Geese Have Returned to the Lake – March 14, 2012



Another personal hermeneutic. Argot befitting the setting. Perfect weather to fly. “Are we part of the plan here?” Elbow up to the bar, eat, drink and be happy.

What’s on your menu this week? Take-out Pizza, maybe even from scratch? Pasta with tin tomatoes, or perhaps smothered in a sauce made from last summer’s canned San Marzanos? The grill fired up on a Spring evening laden with burgers, chicken and steaks? The Smoker filled with ‘Bama Ribs, Brisket or Pork Shoulder? My menu for Spring Break includes Boneless Beef Rib-Eyes cut to 2″, Beef Ribs, Tomato-Lentil Confit, Veal Knuckers, Brisket-Chuck Sliders, Grilled Whole Pink Snapper, Roasted Nova Scotia Cod, Oven Fries, Vine-Ripened Tomato and Beet Salad, Asparagus Gratin and Tuscan Bread Soup. No-nonsense and universally versatile, food-friendly wines will really tie the room together.


Michele Chiarlo ‘Le Orme’ Barbera D’asti Superiore 2009 (265413, $14.95) my old friend, “…step on in and let me shake your hand. So glad that you’re here again.” Felonious only in its unalarming cost, this cruising Piemontese and its waxing, gibbous nose is juicy, sumptuous and buys a dinner thrill. A study in IVR* 101. Luscious, lip-smacking acidity and balance are its calling card. From the VINTAGES March 17, 2012 Release88











Domaine Vincent Paris Saint-Joseph 2009 (239053, $24.20) was $28.95 when first released through VINTAGES. Chaste, exemplary, pellucid pulp of Strawberry Syrah. Itchy white pepper proboscis, more Vincent than Jules, true to its namesake proprietor. Logical, reasonable, avoiding intuitive survival. A Royale with cheese. Only 12.1% ABV. On the wine card at Barque. No fiction.  90














IVR* – Vintage Direct Intrigue-to-Value Ratio





Good to go!