Barolo and Barbaresco: Recent Tastings from Top Producers

The Langhe offers ideal growing conditions for Nebbiolo, and the producers we review here are among the finest at crafting both Barolo and Barbaresco.  Not only do they source from the finest vineyards in the region, they apply great talent and skill in their winemaking.  Most noteworthy is the manner in which they craft wines that display the unique characteristics of the vineyards from which they are sourced.  Their wines combine power and elegance and offer the ideal qualities for pairing with fine Italian cuisine.

 Tasting Notes

Castello di Neive 2014 Barbaresco ($35) 91 This lovely Barbaresco displays a light ruby robe and aromas of dark cherry, raspberry and earth. On the palate is reveals high acidity, firm round tannins and a long dry finish. Will be better after a year or two of aging. Castello di Neive 2011 Santo Stefano Riserva Barbaresco ($80) 94 The 2011 Castelo de Neive Barbaresco Santo Stefano Riserva is among the finest Barbarescos tasted this year. It is immediately accessible offering aromas of dried dark cherry and raspberry fruit with a soft velvety mouth feel like a mature classic Italian red with excellent acidity and a long finish. Superb wine drinking well today and quite ageworthy. US Importer: Winebow

Ceretto 2014 Barbaresco ($50) 91 Medium ruby red. Dark cherry and a note of charred underbrush show on the nose, followed by a silky attack. The wine is seamless in its integration of fruit, herbs, and wood. Sourced from several vineyards and aged 24 months in oak barriques and 25 hl botti. Ceretto 2013 Barolo ($60) 91 Revealing a melange of red cherry, raspberry fruit, dried rose petals, and smoky underbrush, this entry level Barolo is mouth filing and smoothly textured with firm but accessible tannins. There’s rich extract on a prolonged finish. Aged 30 months in oak barriques and vats. Ceretto 2013 Barbaresco Bernadot DOCG ($120) 94 Medium red. More elegant than the regular Barbaresco, the Bernadot reveals a floral nose of dark red fruit with accents of underbrush and red raspberry. It’s silky smooth with impressive depth and a sensuous, refined palate feel. From the low yielding (1.8 tons/acre) Bernadot vineyard. Matured 24 months in French barriques and 25 hl botti. Ceretto 2011 Brunate Barolo 94 The Brunate Barolo offers a high-toned, floral entry of rose petals, licorice and dark cherry. The palate is suave and polished with good depth and exceptional balance. Drinking beautifully right now.  US Importer: Winebow

Einaudi 2010 Terlo Vigna Costa Grimaldi Barolo ($90) 95 Showing classic Barolo scents of dark red cherry married to tobacco leaf and licorice, the 2010 Terlo Vigna Costa Grimaldi has excellent concentration and richness on a silky palate. Tasted with winemaker Matteo Sardagna in October 2017, the wine has still-firm tannins and a long life ahead of it. US Importer: Empson

Giacomo Fenocchio 2013 Bussia Barolo ($55) 94 This lovely Barolo crafted by winemaker Claudio Fenocchio, offers aromas of cherry, raspberry and tobacco. Sourced from a 5 ha parcel of mostly old vines in Bussia Cru in Monforte, the wine is macerated 40 days and aged 30 months in Slavonian oak. Silky and perfumed on the palate, this wine is about ready to drink and will provide years of drinking pleasure. US Importer: Kysela

Castiglione Falletto as seen from Cannubi

Giacosa 2009 Albesani Santo Stefano Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco ($198) 91 The 2009 Santo Stefano is redolent of red plum and cherry skin with complicating notes of black raspberry, tobacco, and leafy underbrush, it shows a fresh fruit core in a seamless, coherent whole. While it’s unexpectedly light, it’s also delicious and ready to drink early on. Giacosa 2011 Rocche del Falletto Barolo Riserva ($425) 97 This is a Giacosa red label Reserve made only in exceptional vintages. It reveals classic Barolo character with red berries, rose petals and an tar-tobacco bouquet. It is structured yet elegant, offering sweet, expansive fruit flavors on a wonderfully pure, elegant and seductive palate.The Roche del Falletto is a parcel in Giacosa’s Falletto Cru in Serralunga d’Alba. Made with an extended maceration of 30 days followed by 30 months in French oak and a further 3 years in bottle before release. Cellar for 5+ years before drinking. US Importer: Folio Fine Wine Partners

Giuseppe Cortese 2013 Barbaresco Rabaja DOCG ($55) 92 The Barbaresco Rabaja is a delightful wine offering aromas of red cherries and rose pedals. It is bold and dark fruited with hints of minerals. Aged 22 months in Slovonian oak, it is nicely concentrated, with firm round tannins and a long lasting finish. US Importer: Winebow

Renato Ratti 2013 Marcenasco Barolo ($53) 94 The bouquet on the Marcenasco evokes fresh red cherries, tobacco leaf and a hint of licorice. This is a polished wine of considerable elegance, depth and purity with fine, velvet tannins. First produced in 1965, the Marcenasco Cru in La Morra was one of the first single vineyard Barolos. Aged 2 years in oak botti of 25hl and 50hl. US importer: LUX/Gallo

Photos by Don Winkler

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