Castello di Verduno
In the village of Verduno it seems that everyone you meet is either a Burlotto or an Alessandria and sometimes they are both. And they are both great great names that are now synonomous with this very special but lesser known commune of the Barolo zone. There are three Burlotto families making wine now and while the cousins at G.B Burlotto have been hogging all the recent press, back at the Castello, Mario Andrion and Paolo Bianco are fashioning some of the most haunting, perfumed and elegant wines of the entire region. They habitually make a riserva from their section of the famous 'grand cru' Monvigliero' as well as a cru wine from Massara. They also bottle superb Barbarescos, often as Riservas, from Rabaja and Faset. Happily, the Castello holds back releases from the usual schedule, so the riserva 2016s are yet to come, but the 2016 'annata' Barolo is avaialble and is in their usual light, elegant and floral style of Nebbiolo, that is so special and so typical of this wonderful village. It is a connoisseur's wine.
Barolo DOCG 2016 - $55
93 points Antonio Galloni: Vinous - "The 2016 Barolo is a pretty and accessible mid-weight Barolo that will drink well with minimal cellaring. Sweet pipe tobacco, cedar, mint, dried flowers and crushed berries are all nicely laced together. Understated and gracious, the 2016 offers considerable appeal. Sweet floral and spice notes linger on the expansive, layered finish. This is very nicely done, especially within its peer group. (Drink between 2020-2031)"
Cordero di Montezemolo
Are they modernists? Do they use oak? Um, probably no, to both questions, but who knows? Who cares any more? Cordero are typical of the long-established Barolo producers (we are finding and selling beautiful examples of their Barolos from the 70s and 60s - check out our list
) who were 'traditional' when that was all there was, and then adopted modern techniques when their value became clear, and now, have moved into the quiet water beyond, where a blending of the best of both tropes is appropriate, and generally accepted as the best way forward. Yes, they have a stunning, high-tech, architectural statement in which to make and show you their wines, but they are wonderful wines, and they are from from great sites. Monfalletto is the proprietary blend, largely from around the winery in Annunziata. The cru wines come from Gattera and Villero (proprietorial name 'Enrico VI.') Both are important and historic sites, as good as any in the zone.
Barolo Monfalletto 2016 - $55
95 points Antonio Galloni: Vinous - "The 2016 Barolo Monfalletto is a gorgeous wine that shows just how fabulous the year is. Bright, floral and light on its feet, the 2016 is all class. The elegance and refinement of La Morra come through loud and clear in a mid-weight, aromatically expressive Barolo that hits all the right notes. Best of all, the 2016 will drink well right out of the gate. This is such a gorgeous and classy wine. Wow. (Drink between 2022-2041)"
Barolo 'Gattera' 2016 - $80
95 points Antonio Galloni: Vinous - "The 2016 Barolo Gattera is one of the best recent editions of this wine I can remember tasting. The natural richness and fruit intensity of this hillside site make for a beautifully expressive Barolo. Dark cherry, hard candy, plum, spice, sweet lavender, graphite and leather all infuse the 2016 with notable character and captivating inner perfume. The Gattera is a blend of two parcels, both southwest facing. It is 2016 is a positively stunning wine. (Drink between 2022-2041)"
Barolo Enrico VI 2016 - $99
95 points Antonio Galloni: Vinous - "The 2016 Barolo Enrico VI is bright, translucent and super-expressive. Freshly cut flowers, mint, pine, spice and sweet red cherry are all beautifully lifted. Medium in body and precise, with stunning nuance, the 2016 is a positively stellar wine that shows the more refined side of the Villero cru. Villero Barolos can be a bit tough, especially in the early going, but the 2016 Enrico VI is a super elegant and classy exception. (Drink between 2022-2041))"
You're in Serralunga now Dorothy. Charm and elegance are in the backseat with Toto. Serralunga is serious. The rich dark orange-brown soils of Serralunga produce, alongside Monforte, the firmest, most tarry wines in the Barolo zone. The best sites are arranged as if along the ridges of a concertina, that is stretched from north to south. The the southern exposures of these perpendicular ridges get full sun to ripen sublimely powerful Nebbiolo. The north faces are only good for fruit trees, hazelnuts, and woods that might just bring you a truffle in the right season, with the right dog by your side. Prapo and Cerretta are twins, each is on the opposite sides of the concertina. Cerretta has a little more East in its aspect Prapo looks slightly more to the West. You've only to look at what Roberto Conterno paid for a chunk of Cerretta recently to get an idea how important these crus are. Taste them now by all means, but it is an academic exercise; these two are wines for the ages.
Barolo 'Prapo' 2016 - $69
94 points Antonio Galloni: Vinous - "The 2016 Barolo Prapò captures all of the wild, unrestrained character that is so typical of wines from this district of Serralunga. Dried herbs, menthol, underbrush, licorice, pine, cloves and incense play off a core of dark fruit. Virile and imposing, with plenty of clout, the 2016 is super-impressive in the early going. (Drink between 2024-2041)"
Barolo 'Cerretta' 2016 - $69
93 points Antonio Galloni: Vinous - "The 2016 Barolo Cerretta is gorgeous. Crushed red berry fruit, mint, flowers and white pepper give this aromatic, mid-weight Barolo a real feeling of finesse that also comes through in the silky red berry fruit flavors. There is just enough grip to give the mid-palate and finish energy, but overall this is a relatively approachable Barolo that will drink well with minimal cellaring. (Drink between 2023-2036)"
The substantial Francesco Rinaldi cantina and tasting room is hard to miss on your way into Barolo on the new road. Indeed it muscles the road into a sweeping bend to avoid its situation atop the Cannubi bump to the north of the village. The estate shares its name and its two famous vineyards with their more bucolic but more fashionable cousins at Giuseppe Rinaldi at the other end of town. There are no greater crus in all of Piedmont than Cannubi and Brunate but they are also among the most pliable, harmonious and seductive of all the crus.
Barolo 'Brunate' 2016 - $65
94 points Antonio Galloni: Vinous - "The 2016 Barolo Brunate is captivating. Dried herbs, mint, sage, cedar, sweet pipe tobacco and gentle earthy notes give the 2016 lovely aromatic complexity. Like all of the Rinaldi 2016s, the Brunate has a bit more early appeal than some other recent vintages. Even so, there is plenty of depth, Brunate muscle and overall structure to support a number of years of fine drinking. (Drink between 2024-2041)"
Barolo 'Cannubi' 2016 - $75
94 points Antonio Galloni: Vinous - "The 2016 Barolo Cannubi shows all of the raciness of this site to great effect. Crushed flowers, mint, spice and red berry fruit fill out the layers as this pliant, silky Barolo shows off its considerable allure. Soft edges (for a young Barolo) give the Cannubi notable immediacy and tons of sheer appeal. The Cannubi is a wine of pure pleasure. (Drink between 2024-2041)"
Though technically in Monforte, Fenocchio's style is closer to Castiglione del Falletto which stands on a hilltop at the very heart of the Barolo zone. Castiglione marks the transition from the light soils of La Morra and Barolo to the dark soils of Serralunga and Monforte. Fenocchio has outstanding holdings on each side of the divide and is one of the few producers who handles the variety with flair. Cannubi (not offered) and Castellero demonstrate the supple and perfumed western side, while Monforte's Bussia and Castiglione's Villero are great examples of the dark art of the east. Still a devoted 'traditionalist,' Fenocchio's wines are all serious and worthy of collection.
Barolo 'Bussia' 2016 - $65
95 points Antonio Galloni: Vinous - "The 2016 Barolo Bussia is a wine of tremendous character and complexity. Menthol, lavender, black cherry, graphite, cloves and leather all open up in the glass. Virile and layered, with tons of depth, the 2016 Bussia has so much to offer. A few years in the cellar will help the tannins soften, but the 2016 is already quite expressive. It is also one of the very finest wines I have ever tasted from Fenocchio. (Drink between 2026-2041)"
Barolo 'Castellero' 2016 - $59
93+ points Antonio Galloni: Vinous - "The 2016 Barolo Castellero captures so much of what makes this site special. Mint, lavender, blood orange, raspberry and chalk notes give he 2016 striking aromatic brightness to play off its translucent, mid-weight feel. A wine of tremendous fascinating complexity, the Castellero will delight readers who enjoy classically-built Barolos. The Castellero is perhaps not quite as deep as the most complete wines in this lineup, but that is really splitting hairs at this level. (Drink between 2024-2041)"
Barolo 'Villero' 2016 - $65
94 points Antonio Galloni: Vinous - "The 2016 Barolo Villero is a powerful, clenched wine. Then again, that's Villero. Readers will have to be patient, that much is clear. White pepper, chalk, dried flowers, dried red cherry and mint open up over time, but the 2016 is sinewy and nervous in feel, with just enough fruit to keep things in balance. Hints of sage, tobacco, leather and menthol add the closing touches of complexity. (Drink between 2024-2041)"
Massolino is something of a magician, producing succulent and juicy Barolos from some of Serralunga's finest and most serious crus, though to prove a point, Parussi is actually across the boundary in Castiglione. The soils are dark and rich, but the wine is pliable and remarkably 'friendly' despite its great power.
Barolo 'Parussi' 2016 - $90
95 points Antonio Galloni: Vinous - "The 2016 Barolo Parussi is the most overt and fruity of the 2016s. That is not a bad thing at all, as it gives the wine striking immediacy and mid-palate sweetness. Succulent red and purplish berry fruit, spice and mint come together in the glass. Silky, floral and medium in body, the Parussi captures all of the sensuality that is typical of the Barolos of Castiglione Falletto. Best of all, the Parussi will drink well earlier than the wines from Serralunga will. (Drink between 2024-2041)"
Marcarini - arriving around the New Year, all the other wines above are in stock
Marcarini, like Cordero above, is one of the producers whose old wines from the '60s and '70s are also on our list. Indeed Marcarini's distinctive gold label is an icon of Piedmont. Older vintages of the Brunate can be as as good as wine gets. The estate is still going strong with their impeccable pair of vineyards. Brunate is as famed and great as any vineyard in Piedmont (I was once given a lift into Alba by Marta Rinaldi. As we drove out of Barolo, with the great bowl up to La Morra stretching away above us, I asked if she had a favorite site? "Ah, Brunate." she replied, gazing wistfully up the hill.) La Serra is it's neighbor, above Brunate, at the top of the slope below La Morra. If anything it is finer but perhaps with less dimension than Brunate. But either way, they are a fine pair.
Barolo 'Brunate' 2016 - $59
92 points Antonio Galloni: Vinous - "Marcarini's 2016 Barolo Brunate captures much of the mystique of this La Morra site in its beguiling aromatics. Deep, layered and so expressive, the 2016 has a lot to offer. Time in the glass brings out an exotic quality to the red toned fruit, with spice, menthol and floral overtones that linger. I would not be in a rush to open bottles. (Drink between 2026-2036)"
Barolo 'La Serra' 2016 - $55
97 points James Suckling - "A Barolo with such intense, fine-grained tannins, yet it’s so deep and poised with polish and energy. Full-bodied, yet it remains agile and layered. Strawberries, bark, hazelnuts and hints of rose petals. Give this four or five years in the bottle, at least. But a classic wine. (9/2020)"