Mauro Veglio Barolo 2016

So many of you have supported the wines of Mauro Veglio over the years and I am happy to report I don't think I have ever seen a better range from this producer. The vintage of course is brilliant and one of the greatest in living memory, but that doesn't guarantee every producer capitalises on those conditions. However, after tasting the Veglio 2016s over two years - the last time on three separate visits in March - I loved what I saw. The wines have bags of energy, superb nuance and transparency to site and balance to burn. It is a new high water mark here, of that I have no doubt.

I can't help but link some of the "changing face" of the wines to the arrival of nephew Alessandro Veglio a few years ago and the melding of his and Mauro and Daniela's estates has been super interesting to watch. Obviously, there is the addition of Alessandro's vineyard land (most notably a cooler piece of Gattera and a new vineyard to the range, Paiagallo), which is unusual in and of itself in the Langhe, where estates are more likely to be broken up. More than that though, the addition of a fresh perspective has energized all three protagonists and subtle changes in fermentation - vertical fermenters, some extended maceration (Paigallo) and a retraction of new wood (now standing at no more than 20% and in the case of Paigallo, only botte) - has produced wines that I think are more detailed, aromatically pure and flat our delicious. I say that with respect to the superb wines the estate has always produced, in any vintage.

Stylistically, they are still more in the modern camp but these days I'm not sure the distinction is needed nor apt in this case. What's more significant is how these wines speak of their individual plots. I have always "found the vineyards" in the Veglio range but maybe if anything, they shout a little louder. A couple of things to note on the range from my own scribblings. Arborina is the best bottling I have seen. Gattera, similarly so and the less sun-exposed portion that Alessandro brings to the blend has undoubtedly freshened it up. Castelletto - the Monforte dowry vineyard from Daniela's family - is as always super expressive of Monforte in that it's more structured, more ferrous notes and holds more muscled power than the La Morra bottlings. Finally, there is the new cru, Paiagallo. This is a Barolo commune cru and came with Alessandro. As mentioned, it sees no small or new wood, maceration of up to 28 days and fermentation did not exceed 28 degrees. To me the wine is different, a little more Amaro herbs angle but very pure of fruit and possessing an almost limpid quality. Balanced and feminine.

Based on the last few Barolo offers I have put out, these wines will not last long, especially the crus. In my view they are inexpensive for what they are and the 2016s mark a shift of the estate into another gear, another strata on the producer ladder. I highly recommend them.

MICHAEL MCNAMARA