Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo DOCG 2011

Estate: The Fenocchio family has been producing wine from their land in the heart of the Bussia in Monforte d’Alba since 1894. In 1964, Giacomo Fenocchio took over for the estate with the goal of crafting the finest wines in Barolo, so he purchased prime parcels in some of the best crus in the Langhe. Today, Giacomo’s son Claudio heads the estate and continues his father’s tradition of crafting character driven wines. Considered as one of the next stars in Barolo, Claudio’s is known for his minimalist, non-internationalist approach. He makes 11 different wines from 14 hectares of vineyards. His wines are renowned for their “level of terroir clarity that is only found in the top echelon of producers”.

Winemaking: Following agricultural practices passed on for 5 generations, the estate is both organic and sustainable. Grapes are from a 1 hectare, hilly vineyard at 350 meters in elevation with sand, clay and calcareous marl soil. Vines are 20 years old. Traditional method of long maceration with natural fermentation, 40 days in stainless steel tanks. Aged 6 months in stainless steel tanks, 30 months in large capacity Slavonian oak casks (25-35 hl) and successive refinement in the bottle.

Tasting Notes: Garnet with brick edges in colour with ever-revolving aromas of black cherry, candied violet, tar, roses, chocolate cherry tartufo and cherry pie. Layers of all the cherries [black red and a streak of sour] tarry earth, violet and orange peel framed by grippy tannins and fresh acidity. Licorice, crushed black peppercorn and earth line the lengthy finish. A bit of rustic charm to this Barolo, the complexity will only continue to increase with time. A lovely sip.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winemaker: meat, game and mature cheeses age which are so typical of the local kitchen, also goes very well with all the rich dishes of international cuisine.

Enjoy at 17-18°C [62-64°F]

100% Nebbiolo
Barolo DOCG
Italy
Estate Bottled by Azienda Agricola Giacomo Fenocchio s.s.
14.5% Alcohol
$30[average price]
Enjoy now thru 2026

Pio Cesare Barolo DOCG 2011

Estate: Founded in 1881 by Cesare Pio, Pio Cesare has been producing wine consecutively through 5 generations and for over 135 years. Located in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, the estate consists of 70 hectares [173 acres] of vineyards. The estate is headed by Pio Boffa, Cesare Pio’s great-grandson, his daughter, Federica Rosy, along with his nephew and cousin. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity of meeting Pio. Gregarious and expressive as his wines, with the belief that upon meeting you, you are considered family and always welcome at his home and winery.

The estate has vineyards in different locations; 32 hectares in Barolo, 27 hectares in Barbaresco and 10 hectares in other regions, including Alba. These vineyard sites were specifically selected as an expression of the family’s philosophy of crafting wines. Since its establishment, the family has a “strong belief in blending the different characteristics of each vineyard and region in order to produce wines that represent the styles of each appellation terroir as a whole, instead of individual sites. This was the classic method of producing Barolo, Barbaresco and the other classic wines at the end of the 19th century and it still remains our Family’s philosophy, today and in the future.” In addition to his dedication to preserving the individuality of each terroir, Pio is also a pioneer in bringing the Barbera grape to the forefront of Italian winemaking.

Their cellar is one of the few ancient cellars that are still in operation. Located in the historical center of the town of Alba, the cellar was built in the late 1700’s, and is delimited and surrounded by ancient Roman walls that date all the way back to 50 BC. The cellar actually occupies 4 different levels, one of which is lower than the Tanaro River. This unique phenomenon is intrinsic to the character of the wines the family has crafted over the many years: “The naturally constant temperatures and appropriate humidity of our cellars have been crucial for the style and quality of our wines over the years.”

Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from estate vineyards in Serralunga d’Alba (Ornato), Grinzane Cavour (Gustava), La Morra (Roncaglie) and Barolo-Novello (Ravera). A portion of grapes come “from other exclusive vineyards owned by growers, who have been providing grapes to the Pio Cesare family for Generations”. Vinified in stainless steel tanks, with skin contact for about 20 days. Aged in mid-toasted French oak for three years; 70 percent in 20 to 50 hectoliter casks, 30 percent in barriques.

Tasting Notes: Garnet with brick edges in colour, with aromas of rose, cherry and tarry earth. Muscular tannins frame cherry, strawberry, plum, blackberry, rose petal and a vein of tarry earth. Anise, dried cherry and soft spice linger on the lengthy finish. Complex and layered, elegant and silky, each sip melts away effortlessly.

100% Nebbiolo
Barolo DOCG
Italy
Estate Bottled by Pio Cesare
14.5% Alcohol
$70 [average price] I paid €130 in a restaurant in Rome.
Enjoy now thru 2027

Rated 92 points by the Wine Advocate
Rated 90 points by Antonio Galloni
Rated 90 points by Wine Enthusiast

 

Guido Porro Gianetto Barolo DOCG 2011

 

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Estate: Guido Porro is a 4th generation winemaker, from a family whose land has always been passed down from father to son. Located in the renowned Barolo producing commune of Serralunga d’Alba in Piedmont, Porros’ vineyards are in a south-southwest facing amphitheatre. Here in the ‘Lazzarito’ cru, grapes receive full sun and protection from the wind. Focusing on traditional methods in both the vineyard and cellar, Guido Porro has a reputation as “under the radar”. His wines receive many accolades for their natural expression of the grape, however his unassuming character doesn’t have him seeking the spotlight.

Winemaking: Vineyards are farmed using sustainable methods. Spontaneous fermentation and aged for 3 years in massive Slavonian oak casks. Gianetto is a southeast facing vineyard with clay and limestone soil, with vines only 8 years old. 2011 is the first vintage of this single vineyard wine. The young age of the vines contributes to its early drinking ability.

Tasting Notes: Transparent dark ruby in colour with the distinctive Barolo aromas of rose, cherry and tarry earth. Super fruity and lively with cherry, raspberry, crushed black peppercorn and tarry earth. Wooly tannins coat your mouth. The finish hasn’t quite realized its full potential, but it’s plush and velvety, abounding with earth and spice.

100% Nebbiolo
Barolo DOCG
Italy
14.5% Alcohol
Estate Bottled by Azienda Agricola Guido Porro
$40 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2030

Elio Sandri Barolo Riserva DOCG 2005

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Estate: Founded by Giovanni Sandri in 1965, Giovanni was born into a family of farmers from which he learned the art of grape growing and winemaking. In 1965 he purchased Cascina Disa and began crafting his Barolos. Today the estate is headed by Elio and Daniela Sandri, along with their children Luna and Riccardo. Located in the Langhe hills of Monforte d’Alba, the estate consist of 7 hectares of vineyards, with the oldest vines dating back to 1937, the newest 2001. With an emphasis on ecological balance and preservation, in 1999 they purchased a neighboring forest, in order “to balance the impact of human activity with the territory”. As with many other Barolo estates, they also produce Dolcetto and Barbera wines.

Winemaking: Organic, natural processes [along with some biodynamic principles] and minimum interventions are followed in the both the vineyard and cellar. Overall the vineyards consist of marine soils of calcareous clay; grapes for the Riserva are sourced from “the best land where the marl comes to the surface”. Spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts followed by “5 years in large old slovonian oak barrels and bottle”. Bottling done only during the waning moon.

For a more in depth look at Elio Sandri, his wines and vineyards, please click here for Gregory Dal Piaz’s fantastic article on his visit to Cascina Disa.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet with brick edges in colour, with aromas of tar and rose. Agile and engaging, with that divine pairing of tar and rose flavours encased in red berry fruit and velvety tannins. Classic, elegant, powerful, everything I want in Barolo.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Superb for hearty meat dishes, truffles, game and strong Piemontese cheese.

100% Nebbiolo
Barolo DOCG
Italy
Bottled by Azienda Agricola Elio Sandri
14% Alcohol
€50 restaurant wine list in Florence Italy [I could not find any other listed price.]
Enjoy now thru 2022

Fratelli Serio & Battista Borgogno Cannubi Barolo DOCG Riserva 2008

Estate: For 5 generations the Borgogno family has been producing wine in the heart of the Cannubi area of Piedmont in northern Italy. The family has a total of 3 hectares of vineyards on the famed Cannubi hill. Today sisters Anna and Paola Borgogno are in the process of handing the reins over to daughters Emanuela and Federica.

Cannubi is the oldest single vineyard, most historical cru within the commune of Barolo [there is a bottle of Cannubi 1752 in a museum]. A hill of vineyards, there are only 5 parcels total. Cannubi wines are renowned for their elegance and finesse, specifically their floral notes. Although incredibly age worthy [20 years +] they can also be enjoyed earlier on, typically beginning at around 6 years old.

Philosophy: Believing that wine is a reflection of the earth from which it comes, the family  “grows our grapes with love, protecting our ancient craft, the one of wine-making, based on deep roots, handed down from generation to generation”.

Winemaking: Vineyard soil is a mix of fine sand and limestone. Aged for 5 years in large Slavonian oak barrels.

Tasting Notes: Maroon with brick edges in colour. Significantly aromatic with aromas of sweet dark fruit, tar, leather, anise, spice and dark chocolate. Cherry jam, raisin and floral layers are laced with wisps of smoke and joined by harmonizing acidity in the full body. Backed by substantial yet silky tannins, an herbaceous undercurrent runs thru, fusing into menthol hints that compliment the elongated, plush fruity finish.

100% Nebbiolo
Cannubi Barolo DOCG
Italy
Estate Bottled by Fratelli Serio & Battista Borgogno
14.5% Alcohol
$36
Enjoy now thru 2030
bottle N. 8208

Rated 95 points by Wine Enthusiast
Rated 91 points by Wine Advocate