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Following the difficult growing season of 2017 (frost, drought, heat), 2018 in Barolo is reported by everyone concerned to have been another challenging year for farming. You can read in detail about this in Antonio Galloni's fascinating "The Enigma of 2018 Barolo". Being far less acute and sensitive, I had an overall more positive impression of 2018 from a series of visits last April - with the further qualification that those visits were almost all with old favorites, so perhaps a self-fulfilling prophecy, especially remembering that Maestro Galloni tastes many more samples than I could ever wrap my head around. In any case he and I agree that there are some very good '18s, and Ferdinando Principiano's is at the top of my short list.
Ferdinando has been farming organically for years, and the vineyards are beautiful, wild places. His Barolos are elegant, transparent wines - the 2018 Barolo drinks like a classic wine of the past - but from good vintages!
Today's special offer: Buy 6 Principiano and take 10% off; better still, buy 12 and take 15% off!
In 2018 all of the fruit that usually makes up Principiano's single-vineyard Barolo Boscaretto went into the Barolo Serralunga. The Boscaretto fruit sees some significant percentage of whole-cluster fermentation (in steel, with indigenous yeasts, with aging in botti). In conversation a few years ago Ferdinando was pondering dropping the single-vineyard bottlings (Boscaretto, and Ravera di Monforte) in favor of a single blended wine; if the 2018 Barolo di Serralunga is any guide, this is still a pretty fantastic idea. My most recent two tastings have shown the wine to be very approachable; I think it has the stuff to mature for some years, but it is drinking beautifully now. It's very aromatic - classic young Nebbiolo, with some cherry, blood orange, balsam, delicately floral; the tannins are ripe and relatively gentle, and the whole come together as balanced and super elegant wine. As a highly experienced (and highly articulate) wine friend said, the 2018 is "stupid good". Jamie Wolff