2013 is an incredibly exciting year for Barolo; Antonino Galloni calls it a vintage of ‘sublime finesse & elegance’.
The summer was warm, which allowed the grapes to ripen slowly. This weather continued into September, with long warm days and cool nights – essential to develop the colour and keep the aromatics in Nebbiolo. The fine conditions carried on well into October allowing for the tannins to fully ripen and the grapes came into the cantinas in beautiful condition.
The 2013 Barolos generally possess striking aromatics, silky tannins that are the result of the long growing season. Where the wines are very good, they rival the great 2010 vintage, but quality is not uniform with some villages outshining others. The villages of Verduno, Castiglione Falletto and Serralunga d’Alba have risen to the top in 2013 and we are delighted to introduce some new growers with whom we are incredibly excited to be working.
We firmly think that these three growers are on the up and Barolo has a very similar set of circumstances to Burgundy 15 years ago. A single grape variety and small vineyard sites where the people that make the wine are the most important part. Plus a new generation of winemakers getting to grips with making terroir-driven, traditional Barolo that will age beautifully. Taking Alessandria’s Monvigliero as an example – Burlotto’s Monvigliero is seen as the pinnacle of wine making from this site and trades well over £150 a bottle in the market today. At £44 a bottle for Alessandria’s Monvigliero, it simply has to be seen as brilliant value for money. As their reputation increases – so too will the prices in the market. Twinned with the increased demand for Barolo makes us think that serious consideration needs to be made for these brilliant 2013 Baroli.
Sitting atop of the small hilltop town of Verduno, in the north of the Barolo growing region is the cantina of Fratelli Alessandria. Owning 14 hectares including the exceptional crus of Monvigliero in Verduno & Gramolere in Monforte d’Alba they produce 5000 cases each year. The jewel in the crown is undoubtedly the Monvigliero vineyard – a true ‘Grand Cru’ of the village. These are Barolos for Burgundy lovers: being in the north of the region they have a purity and elegance that the bigger wines from the south do not have in such abundance.
2013 Barolo San Lorenzo di Verduno, Fratelli Alessandria - £210.00 per case of six IB
92 Points (Winemag)
Red berry, leather and aromatic herb aromas slowly appear in the glass along with a subtle whiff of violet. The taut palate is still tightly wound, offering red cherry, cranberry and star anise alongside youthfully assertive fine-grained tannins that leave a firm finish.
2013 Barolo Gramolere, Fratelli Alessandria - £227 per case of six IB
16.5 (Walter Speller, Purple Pages)
Monforte d’Alba. Cask sample. Tasted blind. Concentrated mid ruby. A little stalky and savoury and perhaps a little reductive. Backward cherry fruit with ripe acidity and fine, grainy tannins. I am unsure if this has the stuffing for long ageing, but it is really pretty now.
Based in the village of Monforte d’Alba this Conterno branch is related to the brilliant Conterno-Fantino through father Diego. They have 7.5 hectares around the village including the ‘Grand Cru’ vineyard of Ginestra and to top it off, their part faces south – a most perfect aspect! As with numerous Barolo grape growers, they spent a long time selling their fruit off to other winemakers. 2003 was their first vintage as Diego Conterno. They make classic Barolo from Monforte and are a producer to get in with early before allocations on Ginestra becomes too hard to find!
2013 Barolo, Diego Conterno - £140 per case of six IB
16 Points (Walter Speller, Purple Pages)
Monforte d’Alba. Cask sample. Tasted blind. Maturing mid ruby with orange tinges. A little reductive and cool on the nose with hints of herbs and cherry. Medium-bodied wine with cool cherry fruit and quite stalky finish. A little austere and could do with a little more flesh on the bones.
2013 Barolo Ginestra, Diego Conterno - £178 per case of six IB
17.5 Points (Walter Speller, Purple Pages)
Monforte d’Alba. Tasted blind. Healthy mid ruby. A little stalky and reductive and with brooding depth. Very compact, yet with huge depth on the palate. Richly tannic and compelling finish. Great stuff but far from ready.
F.lli Serio e Battista Borgogno:
Lying in the heart of one of Barolo’s most famous vineyards Cannubi in the village of Barolo, this small, traditional, 5th generation family-owned cantina dates back to 1897. The focus is increasingly on their vineyard holding of Cannubi, with prime plots facing south, north/east and west. Wines from Cannubi tend to be for long ageing and these are no different, and where allocations of growers such as Sandrone are coming increasingly hard to find – we believe the smart money is on the up and coming growers.
2013 Barolo, Serio e Battista Borgogno - £129 per case of six IB
16.5+ Points (Walter Speller, Purple Pages)
Novello. Light ruby. Very substantial, concentrated nose. Firm and dry on the end. Lots of uncompromising, dry, tarry fruit. Masses of tannins!
2013 Barolo Cannubi, Serio e Battista Borgogno: - £156 per case of six IB
17.5 Points (Walter Speller, Purple Pages)
Barolo. Tasted blind. Mid to deep ruby with the beginning of orange tinges. Cool nose of sweet red fruit and minerally notes. Supple and transparent, youthful fruit and gorgeous coating tannins. Irresistible already.
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