Barolo 2016 - The Vintage of a Generation?

The Monvigliero vineyards (courtesy of Einaudi)
The Monvigliero vineyard (courtesy of Poderi Luigi Einaudi)

By Mark Ross, Sales Director

We're forever hearing phrases like "best vintage since X" or "greatest wine ever made here" but ultimately the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I can remember tasting 2010 Bordeaux en primeur and for me, more than any other vintage I've tasted on release, it was that one that had greatness from the very bottom rung all the way to the top. Of course, individual producers may come up with something special now and again, even in not-so-good years, but it is the homogony of quality and class across the board that really spells greatness for me. If you can feel that quality in the most basic, entry level wine, then you know you've got something special. So when I heard that 2016 Barolo might be such a vintage, I dashed out to Piedmont to see for myself. And I am so glad that I did.

My colleague Alastair and I specifically wanted to taste the full range at some lesser-known producers as I thought that would be the ultimate acid test for the vintage. So we went to some perennial Farr Vintners' favourites as well as to see some new faces but we steered clear of the big players – we all know how good those guys are year in, year out. Read Alastair's blog here. And I got that feeling – the same feeling I had when I tasted those 2010 Bordeaux. From the Barberas through to the Barolo cru bottlings, there is a remarkable level of concentrated pure fruit coupled with a freshness, acidity and energy that I haven’t tasted before in my experience of Piedmontese wines. Equally as important, the quality level across the board was very noticeable. We left after a whistle-stop tour very excited about what we’d tasted.

At the time of writing, there haven’t been any comprehensive vintage reports from the critics and very few scores have been released yet. However, we were so smitten with the wines that we have decided to start offering them now, before the press is released. What we do have so far is a few soundbites:

“2016…is promising to be one of the all-time great vintages for Barolo… according to every winemaker I've spoken with over the past year and a half, these wines are going to be very special.”
(Tom Hyland, Forbes magazine)

“2016 is the vintage we are all waiting for.”
(Luca Currado, Vietti)

Early tastings from barrel suggest 2016 will be an exceptional vintage for Barolo in which both quality and production are high. The wines are aromatic, beautifully resonant and highly expressive of site.”
(Antonio Galloni, Vinous)

This is a big offer and could've been even bigger, but we have focussed on the very best Barolos that we tasted on our trip (and one new Barbaresco producer that was so good, we just had to include it). All these wines will be shipped in early 2020 and, whilst the entry level wines could be tackled relatively soon, ideally the cru wines should be given at least 3 to 5 years before corks are pulled (drink the generous, voluptuous 2015s while you wait instead).

Everything is available to buy in 6 bottle cases so there's plenty of opportunity to get comprehensively involved across the board with this very special vintage. 

We think this is a truly great vintage for Barolo – one that will appeal to both Nebbiolo novices and aficionados alike. In fact, there is so much to like for anyone who loves great wine.

 


Rocche Costamagna

Right in the middle of the hilltop village of La Morra, one of the most beautiful places in the region, sits Rocche Costamagna. The wines here are traditionally made and, whilst ripe and sumptuous, they are the very essence of elegance and purity. Click on the wine names below for tasting notes.

Colour Region Vintage Wine Size Cs Bts GBP
Price
Per Score Help
Italy2016Barolo Rocche dell'Annunziata, Rocche CostamagnaBT20250.00cs17+ FVAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
Italy2016Barolo Rocche dell'Annunziata, Rocche CostamagnaMG60285.00cs17+ FVAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
Italy2016Barolo, Rocche CostamagnaBT150195.00cs17 ACAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
All prices exclude UK duty & VAT and all wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

Voerzio-Martini

This exciting ‘new’ estate came into being when Piero Martini (of vermouth family fame) bought Gianni Voerzio’s estate (Gianni is Roberto Voerzio’s brother) for his twins Mirko and Federica. The wines here are more ‘modern’ than those of, say, Rocche Costamagna, but are in no way over-extracted or too oaky. New world levels of ripeness yet balanced and harmonious. Click on the wine names below for tasting notes.

Colour Region Vintage Wine Size Cs Bts GBP
Price
Per Score Help
Italy2016Barolo La Serra, Voerzio MartiniBT246390.00cs17.5 FVAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
Italy2016Barolo, Voerzio MartiniBT240240.00cs16.5 FVAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
All prices exclude UK duty & VAT and all wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

Poderi Luigi Einaudi

The town of Dogliani is home to Einaudi, in the very south of the region. Under fourth generation Matteo Sardagna Einaudi, they have embraced the very best of modern technology and the result is wines that are perhaps the most ethereal and elegant – dare we say Burgundian – of all of the wines we tasted. Everything in the winemaking is about gentleness and that shows in the wines. Click on the wine names below for tasting notes.

Colour Region Vintage Wine Size Cs Bts GBP
Price
Per Score Help
Italy2016Barolo Bussia, Einaudi, LuigiBT106470.00cs17.5+ FVAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
Italy2016Barolo Cannubi, Einaudi, LuigiBT90470.00cs18 ACAdd to Basket
Italy2016Barolo Ludo, Einaudi, LuigiBT30260.00cs17 ACAdd to Basket
Italy2016Barolo Terlo Costa Grimaldi, Einaudi, LuigiBT130360.00cs18+ ACAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
All prices exclude UK duty & VAT and all wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

Paolo Conterno

Ginestra is arguably the finest of all Monforte d'Alba’s vineyards and Paolo Conterno's vines produce one of the cru’s freshest, more aromatic wines. His 2016 Ginestra was the embodiment of freshness, power and complexity. Tropical fruit, cassis – so much to like. It was one of the most serious and impressive wines of our trip. Click on the wine names below for tasting notes.

Colour Region Vintage Wine Size Cs Bts GBP
Price
Per Score Help
Italy2016Barolo Ginestra, Conterno, PaoloBT50450.00cs18 FVAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
All prices exclude UK duty & VAT and all wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

Famiglia Anselma

Famiglia Anselma was the surprise package of our trip. Relatively new to the market but having bought great vineyards in the 1970s, these wines are the epitome of traditional values coupled with vineyard/terroir know-how. They are very structured and need lots of time but the pure, dark fruit and integrated, spicy oak produce wines that are really very exciting. Click on the wine names below for tasting notes.

Colour Region Vintage Wine Size Cs Bts GBP
Price
Per Score Help
Italy2016Barolo Bussia, Famiglia AnselmaBT40360.00cs17.5+ FVAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
Italy2016Barolo Famiglia AnselmaBT16300.00cs16.5+ FVAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
Italy2016Langhe Nebbiolo, Famiglia AnselmaBT06150.00cs16 FVAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
All prices exclude UK duty & VAT and all wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

Cavallotto

Cavallotto is based in Castiglione Falletto and produces some of the most impressive and unique wines in the region. Barolo's answer to 'Tertre Roteboeuf ' in Bordeaux, these are rich, plush, hedonistic wines that take on a whole new dimension in great vintages like 2016. Click on the wine names below for tasting notes.

Colour Region Vintage Wine Size Cs Bts GBP
Price
Per Score Help
Italy2016Barolo Bricco Boschis, CavallottoBT180520.00cs18.5 FVAdd to Basket
Physically available April 2020 
All prices exclude UK duty & VAT and all wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

Cantina Rizzi (Barbaresco)

With prices of fine wine increasing year on year, the outstanding value for money in Barbaresco is remarkable and should not be overlooked. That is why we're including this property in our Barolo offer - the value for money just cannot be ignored. Cantina Rizzijust outside of the village of Treiso, boasts six crus – some of the best sites in the area. The style here is one of plush, plump fruit which makes the wines very easy to drink when young. We've included other vintages here, not just 2016. Click on the wine names below for tasting notes.

Colour Region Vintage Wine Size Cs Bts GBP
Price
Per Score Help
Italy2017Barbaresco cru RizziBT10195.00cs16.5+ FVAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
Italy2017Barbaresco Nervo, RizziBT20250.00cs17 ACAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
Italy2017Barbaresco Pajore, RizziBT20250.00cs17 FVAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
Italy2017Barbera d'Alba, RizziBT06120.00cs16 FVAdd to Basket
Italy2016Barbaresco cru RizziBT130195.00cs93+ MLAdd to Basket
Italy2016Barbaresco Nervo, RizziBT20260.00cs17+ WSPAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
Italy2015Barbaresco Riserva Boito, RizziBT10325.00cs Add to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
Italy2015Barbaresco Riserva Boito, Rizzi

Hand drawn label

MG20480.00cs Add to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
Italy2014Barbaresco Riserva Boito, RizziBT20330.00cs Add to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
Italy2014Barbaresco Riserva Boito, Rizzi

Hand drawn label

MG13480.00cs Add to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
All prices exclude UK duty & VAT and all wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

2015s

It was fascinating to taste 2015 along side 2016. To our mind, 2016 is streets ahead qualitatively but that said, 2015 has some truly remarkable wines, and they are a lot more approachable than their 2016 counterparts. They are plusher, richer, have less acid and structure are so are not really built for the long-term. Instead, they are hedonistic, delicious and very enjoyable now. As a vintage, 2015 really shouldn't be overlooked. Click on the wine names below for tasting notes.

Colour Region Vintage Wine Size Cs Bts GBP
Price
Per Score Help
Italy2015Barolo Albe, VajraBT30350.00cs Add to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Bricco Boschis, CavallottoBT20480.00cs96 MLAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
Italy2015Barolo Bricco delle Viole, VajraBT50700.00cs95 KOAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Bricco delle Viole, VajraMG10768.00cs95 KOAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Brunate, CerettoBT30940.00cs96 JSAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Bussia, CerettoBT06940.00cs94 JSAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Bussia, Aldo ConternoBT40710.00cs92 JSAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Bussia, Einaudi, LuigiBT46440.00cs94 AGAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Cannubi, Einaudi, LuigiBT46440.00cs93 MLAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Cicala, Aldo ConternoBT201,286.00cs96 JSAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Colonello, Aldo ConternoBT501,284.00cs98 JSAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Conteisa, GajaBT161,980.00cs97 AGAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Falletto, Bruno GiacosaBT101,450.00cs98 JSAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Famiglia AnselmaBT20290.00cs Add to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
Italy2015Barolo Ginestra, Conterno, PaoloBT20480.00cs95 MLAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
Italy2015Barolo La Serra, Voerzio MartiniBT50390.00cs96 JSAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
Italy2015Barolo Lazzarito, ViettiBT261,350.00cs96+ MLAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Margheria, MassolinoBT26740.00cs94 MLAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Parussi, MassolinoBT26740.00cs95 MLAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Prapo, CerettoBT20940.00cs95 JSAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Ravera, VajraBT26642.00cs95 AGAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Rocche dell'Annunziata, Rocche CostamagnaBT36240.00cs96 JSAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Romirasco, Aldo ConternoBT062,120.00cs96 MLAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Sperss, GajaBT362,250.00cs98 AGAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo Terlo Costa Grimaldi, Einaudi, LuigiBT50340.00cs93+ AGAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo, CerettoBT66430.00cs94 MLAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo, Rocche CostamagnaBT50190.00cs16.5 JRAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
Italy2015Barolo, MassolinoBT30360.00cs93 JSAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo, MassolinoMG40424.00cs93 JSAdd to Basket
Italy2015Barolo, Voerzio MartiniBT50240.00cs16 JRAdd to Basket
Physically available late Jan/early Feb 2020 
All prices exclude UK duty & VAT and all wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.