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Barolo 2017 - The Wrap

Barolo 2017 - The Wrap - Prince Wine Store

Barolo 2017 – The Wrap



The extraordinary 2017 Barolos themselves certainly perked me up, however. Extraordinary, because contrary to the expectations one normally has of what is summarised as a torrid year, the wines were fresh rather than having rich or jammy fruit. They also tended to have succulent acidity and a muscular, tannic structure.



What shines through in 2017 is the individual qualities of the crus, although according to me what is more important is how well the producer knows his or her cru...In general you can't go wrong with the famous Barolo crus in 2017. WALTER SPELLER, www.jancisrobinson.com



In tasting, the 2017s are mid-weight Barolos with the classic structure of Nebbiolo. They are often intensely aromatic. Acids and tannins are prominent in many wines. The fruit profiles are ripe, often distinctly red-toned, but not cooked or over-ripe. Perhaps most importantly, the 2017 Barolos are very true to site, which is always a concern with vintages marked by warm weather. The best 2017s are exceptionally polished, vivid and flat-out delicious. ANTONIO GALLONI



Welcome to the 2017 Barolo Warp Offer.



As many of you would already be well aware, over the last few months I've been sending out individual producer offers for the 2017 Barolo offerings. Now that the bulk of the wines have arrived I thought it was high time to pull together everything that's still available or indeed, that I never got around to offering at all. In that latter camp think Burlotto, Vietti, Giovanni Rosso and one or two others. In all cases, there is very little still available so I view this offer as a good chance to grab wines you missed or grab a few extra bottles, now with the benefit of third party reviews which weren't avialbale at the time of most of the releases.



I have not provided full descriptions of each producer as I wanted to keep the offer within the realm of managability. Having said that, I have written about all of the producers through the year and am very happy send extra information should you need it.



Now, what about the vintage? To say 2017 Barolo is something of a miracle vintage is an understatement. I remember sweating it out in the July of that year in the region, worrying that growers would struggle to produce fruit that wasn't sunburnt or lacking natural acidity. The fact that the wines that have emerged from the vintage are ripe but fresh and energetic, prove to me that the longer I'm in wine, the less I know! In this case, I'm happy to be proved wrong by the plethora of excellent-to-brilliant Baroli on offer. No, it isn't a repeat of the 2016 vintage but, I tell you what, the wines are far more approachable than the 2016s and the crus lack nothing of their vineyard fingerprint. Expressive, transparent and approachable, I'm not sure you can ask for much more of young Barolo.



Since starting the campaign earlier this year, I have been constantly amazed by the quality of the wines from this vintage. It proves once again to follow producer, producer, producer and it also shows how far the winemaking and viticultural fraternity have come in their ability to manage their vineyards in a more balanced way, building resilience in the face of adverse conditions. Before going on I should say, the heat of 2017 was quite short-lived and the latter part of the ripening cycle reverted to a milder setting, perhaps contributing to the freshness and balance in so many of the wines.



One final point: Barolo is becoming the most sought after of all the world's premium wine regions. The limited size of the DOCG makes them a finite resource and when you couple that up with consistent quality and a greater understanding and appreciation by the world's premium wine buyers and you've got upward pressure on pricing and supply; on some levels its a depressing thought. On the upside, there's still a huge amount of great, great wine that's fairly priced and which beautifully artriculates the uniqueness of Barolo's communal and cru diversity. That fair pricing is thankfully still within grasp so don't miss the opportnunity to get involved.



Cheers



Michael McNamara 








Gianfranco Alessandria

Gianfranco Alessandria is one of my favorite producers in the Monforte d’Alba township. He runs this boutique estate with his wife Bruna and his young daughter Vittoria. They farm 5.5 hectares of vines (that they own) plus an additional 1.5 hectares that are rented. I remember meeting Vittoria as a teen as she worked expertly in the winery and did most of the heavy lifting. She is a great example of the newest generation of vintners to tame the beautiful Nebbiolo grape. MONICA LARNER

Gianfranco Alessandria is one of the most consistent growers in Barolo. His wines are reliably outstanding, drink well young and also age beautifully. ANTONIO GALLONI

The thing I admire most about these wines is that Gianfranco has an uncanny knack of of turning out balanced and communally expressive wine. They’re never extracted, never unbalanced in terms of oak usage, always redolent of Monforte’s ferrous soils and always stupidly inexpensive for their quality. All this comes again from hard work in the vineyard where the family spend most of their time (including Gianfranco’s Mum at the age of 70+) and a sensitive approach in the cellar. While modern in approach, Alessandria’s wines put Monforte first. I love and admire them and recommend them highly. PWS

  1. Gianfranco Alessandria Barolo San Giovanni DOCG 2017
    Gianfranco Alessandria Barolo San Giovanni DOCG 2017
    The 2017 Barolo San Giovanni is an attractive wine, but in this vintage it is not markedly different from the straight Barolo. Whether that is the year or a stylistic change is hard to discern given that 2017 is an unusual vintage because of severe heat and drought. Succulent dark cherry, spice, leather and rose petal are some of the notes that open with a bit of time in the glass. What is evident is that in 2017, the San Giovanni is a bit lighter than normal, while the French oak imprint is also less incisive, both of which may turn out to be positives. ANTONIO GALLONI
    2017
    Nebbiolo
    Italy
    457
    Special Price $105.00 Regular Price $125.00
  1. Gianfranco Alessandria Barolo San En Piasi Magnum 2017
    Gianfranco Alessandria Barolo San En Piasi Magnum 2017
    The 2017 Barolo EnPiasì is such a pleasure to taste. A whole range of floral and savory nuances open first, suggesting the presence of whole clusters, even though the wine is made entirely from grapes that have been destemmed by hand. Silky, nuanced and beautifully persistent in the glass, the 2017 is a Barolo of pure and total finesse. I would prefer to drink it over the next 10-15 years, a bit of youthful Nebbiolo tannin notwithstanding, as it would be a shame to miss out on the extraordinary purity of fruit that is present at this stage. ANTONIO GALLONI
    2017
    Nebbiolo
    Italy
    457
    Special Price $272.00 Regular Price $340.00
  1. Gianfranco Alessandria Barolo DOCG 2017
    Gianfranco Alessandria Barolo DOCG 2017
    Alessandria's 2017 Barolo is a gorgeous wine to drink now and over the next decade. Crushed flowers, spice and sweet red berry fruit grace a Barolo that impresses with its translucence and finesse. All the elements are so nicely balanced. Beams of tannin extend the mid-palate and finish nicely. The straight Barolo has been one of the under the radar gems of Piedmont for years, as it is again in 2017. This is very nicely done. ANTONIO GALLONI
    2017
    Nebbiolo
    Italy
    457
    Special Price $74.00 Regular Price $90.00

Mauro Veglio

The Veglio style emphasizes texture and soft fruit, which makes the wines excellent early and medium-term drinkers. ANTONIO GALLONI

These are some of the prettiest Barolos I have tasted from Mauro and Daniela Veglio. The 2014s are bright, perfumed and super-classy in every way. ANTONIO GALLONI

Mauro and Daniela Veglio are a formidable team; he on the winemaking side of things and Daniela in pretty much everything else. The Cantina shares a cul de sac with Elio Altare where both perch overlooking the Arborina vineyard. Over the years Mauro has out-grown the apprentice moniker (to Altare) and is in full control of his vineyards (which are always in impeccable order) and the style of Barolo he prefers to make – “modern”.

In his armoury are an enviable set of holding including La Morra-based crus Arborina, Gattera and Rocche dell’Annunziata as well as Daniela’s ‘dowry’ vineyard of Castelletto in Monforte d’Alba. All are made into individual cru bottlings and a normale draws fruit from younger vine material in Arborina and Castelleto predominantly.

In the cantina things are kept pretty simple with short fermentations in stainless steel before malolactic and elevage in barrique. The percentage of new oak for the crus hovers around 50% (slighlty higher for the Rocche) and the normale is mostly second passage.

The finished wines are an exercise in “good modern”, retaining transparent vineyard characteristics and energetic fruit profiles. The oak is undoubtedly a feature in greater or lesser degrees depending on vintage and vineyard but it plays a supporting role rather than overwhelming. This is an evolutionary thing as well with slight tweaks having been made over the years wihtout sacrificing Veglio’s strong belief in the efficacy of his style.

A great La Morra address making superbly consistent and expressive Barolo. MICHAEL MCNAMARA

  1. Mauro Veglio Barolo DOCG 2017
    Mauro Veglio Barolo DOCG 2017

    The 2017 Barolo is a delicious entry-level offering. All the elements just fall into place effortlessly. Sweet red cherry, cedar, dried flowers and spice give this lilting, open-knit Barolo lovely aromatic and flavor complexity. ANTONIO GALLONI

    Red-berry, dog-rose and grilled herb aromas mingle together in the glass along with a whiff of eucalyptus. On the smooth full-bodied palate, notes of licorice and vanilla accent a core of ripe black cherry. Polished, enveloping tannins provide smooth support. KERRIN O'KEEFE

    2017
    Nebbiolo
    Italy
    457
    Special Price $74.00 Regular Price $90.00
  1. Mauro Veglio Barolo Gattera 2017
    Mauro Veglio Barolo Gattera 2017
    To me this is the most surprising of all the wines from the Veglio range in 2017. Alessandro has replaced his uncle's plot from within this famed vineyard with his own plot and in so doing, the wine is more defined, cooler fruited and ultimately more expressive and beautiful. This 2017 is a revelation. Mint, liquorice, cherry and cut hay mix with orange rind, framing an expressive and energy driven palate with red fruits and long, fine and chalky tannins. Lovely wine and the best wine I have ever seen from Veglio off this site. MICHAEL MCNAMARA, PWS
    2017
    Nebbiolo
    Italy
    457
    Special Price $115.00 Regular Price $135.00
  1. Mauro Veglio Barolo Arborina 2017
    Mauro Veglio Barolo Arborina 2017
    The 2016 of this wine was possibly the greatest wine I had ever tasted form Veglio but this is a more than worthy follow-up. It's ultra pretty and delicate with a wafting persona is the embodiment of the vineyard which always, always returns such feminine and subtly beautiful wines. All red petals and herbs, red fruits and mint. They're never about raw power but the essence of nebbiolo is present in the wines. Here, there's also a little framing oak but the vineyard signature is paramount. This wine sneaks up on you; very La Morra and very Arborina in its fine tannins profile. If you want to understand the nature of the commune and the frazzione then drink this wine. MICHAEL MCNAMARA, PWS
    2017
    Nebbiolo
    Italy
    457
    Special Price $115.00 Regular Price $135.00
  1. Mauro Veglio Barolo Castelletto 2017
    Mauro Veglio Barolo Castelletto 2017
    The 2017 Barolo Castelletto is fabulous. It is also the wine in this range that feels the least marked by heat. Red/purplish fruit, blood orange, mint, spice and lavender all grace this beautifully translucent, expressive Barolo. There is some tannin that needs to soften - this is Monforte after all - but all the elements are impeccably balanced. ANTONIO GALLONI
    2017
    Nebbiolo
    Italy
    457
    Special Price $115.00 Regular Price $135.00
  1. Mauro Veglio Barolo Paiagallo 2017
    Mauro Veglio Barolo Paiagallo 2017

    Mauro Veglio's property in Paiagallo is at mid-altitude in what is called Vigna San Sebastiano, bordering Terlo, to which it is closer in style than the opposite side of the MGA. Garnet in colour, it has notes of watermelon, earthy strawberry and lemon leaf. Elegance and freshness prevail over the powerful palate. Nevertheless, it is full bodied, well extracted and with sweet tannins. Citrus notes and liquorice emerge on the finish. ALDO FIORDELLI, www.decanter.com

    The 2017 Barolo Paiagallo is the most open and racy of Veglio's 2017. Ripe red cherry, kirsch, dried flowers, orange peel and cinnamon all develop as the 2017 opens in the glass. This is an especially ripe, forward Barolo, but it also has a bit better balance in its tannins. ANTONIO GALLONI

    In this wine you glimpse the future of the estate. The lack of smaller oak here reveals a more open profile of red fruits, florals and fruit tannins (not oak tannins) which give life and an entirely different shape to the structural profile. The tannins are saturated and enlivening. I simply love this wine and it occurs to me it's the kind of wine which is the reason you drink Barolo. MICHAEL MCNAMARA, PWS

    2017
    Nebbiolo
    Italy
    457
    Special Price $160.00 Regular Price $190.00

Francesco Rinaldi

The transformation that has taken place at Francesco Rinaldi over the last few years is truly remarkable. It wasn’t that long ago that the wines were harsh, lean and excessively austere, even within the context of traditionally made Barolo. Not any more. Today’s wines are cut with beautiful precision and show exceptional harmony. Even better, they won’t take decades to come around. ANTONIO GALLONI

Like their famed relatives on the other side of Barolo village (Guiseppe Rinaldi) Francesco Rinaldi e Figli are an avowed traditionalist producer with vineyard holdings in some of the commune’s most highly prized plots; not surprising considering their history dates back to the 1870s! Today the estate is run by the 80+ year-old Luciano along with his nieces, Paola & Piera Rinaldi. The wines are made pretty much the same way they always have been with the exception of a new press and some stainless steel in the cellars. Beyond that, vinification follows the “traditionalist handbook” and includes extended maceration times and elevage in 20-50 hectolitre Slavonian oak.

The estate makes a full suite of Piemontese bottlings including the usual suspects of Dolcetto, Barbera and Nebbiolo but also Grignolino and even Gavi. Of course the focus for such a famous and historic estate is the Baroli that is produced here. Rinaldi make a blended Barolo with fruit taken from vineyard holdings in both the La Morra and Barolo communes but also two single cru wines, Brunate (most of their holding is on the La Morra side of the boundary) and Cunnubi (labelled with the old name Cannubio).

In stye the wines preserve both the aromatic and palate integrity of the nebbiolo variety and, where once they were excessively austere, they are now more open and pliant when viewed within the context of the traditional style. We recommend them to you. MICHAEL MCNAMARA

Order Form

REG. PRICESPECIALORDERTOTAL
Gianfranco Alessandria Barolo San Giovanni DOCG 2017$125.00$105.00
Gianfranco Alessandria Barolo San En Piasi Magnum 2017$340.00$272.00
Gianfranco Alessandria Barolo DOCG 2017$90.00$74.00
Mauro Veglio Barolo DOCG 2017$90.00$74.00
Mauro Veglio Barolo Gattera 2017$135.00$115.00
Mauro Veglio Barolo Arborina 2017$135.00$115.00
Mauro Veglio Barolo Castelletto 2017$135.00$115.00
Mauro Veglio Barolo Paiagallo 2017$190.00$160.00
Francesco Rinaldi Barolo DOCG 2017$130.00$130.00
Francesco Rinaldi Barolo Brunate 2017$155.00$155.00
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