Notes on new releases from notable producers in Piedmont: Mauro Molino, Michele Chiarlo, Pertinace and Pio Cesare.
Mauro Molino (Annunziata, La Morra) – Established in 1979 by Mauro Molino, today this winery is managed by Mauro and his children Matteo and Martina. There are three excellent examples of Barbera produced here – both Barbera d’Alba and Barbera d’Asti, but the most famous wines are the various examples of Barolo, especially Galinotto, La Serra and Conca. Here are notes on five of the 2016 Barolo from Mauro Molino.
Barolo 2016 – Youthful garnet; aromas of morel cherry, sage and a hint of tobacco. Medium-full, this has impressive weight on the palate, well-integrated wood notes, rich tannins, good acidity and very good persistence. This is a bit tightly wrapped now, and needs another year or two to settle down. Peak in 10-12 years. Very Good
Barolo Bricco Luciani 2016 –Youthful garnet; aromas of sage, morel cherry and orange peel. Medium-full with excellent concentration. Rich mid-palate, oustanding persistence, impressive varietal purity, ample wood notes, firm young tannins. Excellent backbone and structure. Give time – try in another 2-3 years, with peak in 12-15 years. Excellent
Barolo “Galinotto” 2016 – Delicate garnet; aromas of paprika, baking spices and red cherry. Medium-full with excellent depth of fruit and ripeness; rich, young tannins,well intergraed wood notes, excellent persitence and very good acidity. Lengthy finish, impressive persistence and complexity. Give this another 2-3 years to round out with peak drinking in 12-15 years. Outstanding
Barolo La Serra 2016 – Beautiful delicate young garnet; aromas of red cherry, orange zest and thyme. Medium-full with excellent concentration and a beautifully defined mid-palate. Excellent persistence, nicely integrated wood notes and medium weight tannins. This will display greater complexities with time, but the overall balance now is quite impressive, and I love the subtle balsamic notes in the finish. Nice sense of place. Peak in 15-20 years. Outstanding
Barolo Conca 2016 – The Conca vineyard, adjacent to the winery is one of the smallest in the Barolo production zone; this is the most famous Molino Barolo each vintage. Rich young garnet; aromas of morel cherry, sage and rosemary. Medium-full with excellent depth of fruit and ripeness. Barrique aging signals this as a more modern style of Barolo, but the wood notes and well integrated. Elegant, lengthy finish with notable persistence; there is good acidity as well as an impressive sense of place. This is very harmonious, but needs another 2-3 years to round out. Peak in 15-20 years. Outstanding
Michele Chiarlo – Along with some engaging examples of Nizza, the firm of Michele Chiarlo also produces three versions of Barolo in most years. One is a blend of vineyards known as Tortoniano, named for a soil type in the Barolo zone, while the other two are single vineyard offerings from two of the most renowned sites in the Barolo zone: Cannubi and Cerequio.
Michele Chiarlo Barolo “Tortoniano” 2016 – Deep young garnet; appealing aromas of orange peel, morel cherry and a hint of nutmeg. Medium-full with very good concentration, this offers lovely harmony, impressive varietal purity, very good acidity, and youthful, elegant tannins. Approachable now, but even better in another year, this will offer beautiful drinking pleasure for 7-10 years. Nice value. Excellent
Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cannubi 2016 – Beautiful young garnet; aromas of sage, morel cherry, and hints of tar and mint. Medium-full with excellent concentration. Rich mid-palate, very good acidity, distinct wood notes. Notable persistence, impressive complexity, brown spices notes in the finish. Very nice sense of place. Give time to round out and settle down. Peak in 12-15 years, perhaps longer. Excellent
Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cerequio 2016 – Beautiful young garnet; aromas of tar, morel cherry, sage and orange peel. Rich, beautifully structured mid-palate with layers of fruit, very good acidity, excellent complexity, well integrated wood notes, excellent persistence. Beautiful sense of place, with notes of balsamic in the finish. Give time to round out, this should reveal its complexities gracefully over the next 12-15 years, with peak drinking in 20-25 years. Outstanding
Pertinace – Established in 1973 in Treiso, Pertinace is a cooperative winery founded by Mario Barbero with thirteen members from the area. Today there are 17 members, with the company controlling 220 acres of vines, and while local wines such as Moscato d’Asti, Barbera and Dolcetto are produced here, the most famous wines here are the various examples of Barbaresco.
Pertinace Barbaresco 2017 – Youthful garnet; aromas of dried morel cherry, cedar and oregano. Medium-full, this has rich, somewhat forward fruit, youthful tannins and a compact finish with distinct brown spice notes and good persistence. Give a year to round out- peak in 5-7 years. Very Good
Pertinace Barbaresco Marcarini 2017 – Deep young garnet; aromas of cedar, morel cherry, dried red flowers. Medium-full with very good concentration. Ripe with distinct brown spice and herbal notes, medium-full tannins, balanced acidity and very good persistence. Good complexity, a bit lacking in persistence, but very good sense of place and varietal character. Give another year or two to round out a bit; peak in 5-7 years. Very Good to Excellent
Pertinace Barbaresco Nervo 2017 – Deep young garnet; aromas of morel cherry, persimmon, cedar and oregano. Medium-full with very good to excellent concentration. Nicely structured mid-palate, youthful, well balanced tannins, balanced acidity, nicely integrated wood notes and impressive persistence and complexity. While this is not as overall refined as with recent vintages (such as 2013, 2014 and 2016), this is a success from the very warm 2017 vintage. Give another year to allow for greater complexities – peak in 5-8 years. Excellent
Pio Cesare (Alba) – The historic cellars of Pio Cesare are located in the center of the town of Alba, right up against ancient Roman ruins. Established in 1881, the company has remained in family ownership, with each new managing director having the first name of either Pio or Cesare; the current head of the firm is the energetic Pio Boffa. The most famous wines today are the various examples of Barbera, Barolo and Barbaresco; the Il Bricco di Treiso vineyard is the source for the fruit for their finest Barbaresco.
Pio Cesare Barbaresco 2016 – Delicate garnet; aromas of morel cherry, orange zest and hints of tar and sage. Medium-full with very good concentration. Beautiful varietal character, medium-weight tannins that are well refined, nicely intrgrated wood notes, very good acidity. Beauitfully made, with excellent harmony. Enjoy over the next 5-8 years, perhaps longer. One of the winery’s best versions of this wine in several years. Excellent
Pio Cesare Barbaresco Il Bricco 2016- Delicate garnet; aromas of tar, orange zest, morel cherry and sage. Full-bodied with excellent concentration. Excellent ripeness, very good acidity, ample wood notes, rich young tannins and notable persistence. The oak sensation is a bit strong now and this is quite rich on the palate and needs 2-3 years to settle down. This promises to be quite special in 10-12 years, and should peak a few years after that. Outstanding