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Part 2 of a treasure trove of the great 2016 Barolos, from a beautiful home cellar. 2016 continues to wow - the wines will repay more time in your cellar, but they show their precision, balance, and cut in ways that remind us of always-gorgeous 1989s. Looking over this list is a reminder of how many outstanding Barolos can still be had at fair prices - a perfect opportunity to build or add to your collection.
Marassio is the name of a small section of vines at the very top of Serradenari. It sees 40 days of fermentation and maceration in ‘tini’ – large conical wooden vats; then 30 months of aging in 25hl Slavonian botte. We have been trained to expect that as wines get more expensive they get heavier and more obviously “important” and “blockbuster”, but in 2015 the Marassio was a bit lighter and more delicate than the Serradenari. I haven’t tasted the 2016, but the 2015 was an ethereal beauty from which I’d expect even more of the same in the ’16. Jamie Wolff
The Barolo Serradenari is from the upper part of the vineyard. It’s deeper and more structured than Tartufaia, with more pronounced tannin. Very forest-y, with tons of truffle, balsalm, black cherry, and cocoa, and super-complex both aromatically and on the palate. It’s incredibly long and deep on the finish with the aromatics reasserting themselves. The great balance of elements that the best 2016s offer is very clear. Not to hard sell, but of all the ‘16s I’ve tasted I’m most reminded of Maria-Teresa Mascarello’s Barolo. And, sorry, but it feels inevitable that I think Chambertin. Jamie Wolff
I’m stumped. I’m sure that you could cellar this wine for years, but it’s so good now that even I, zealot for mature Nebbiolo, find it hard to imagine how it could improve. Frankly it puts to shame the many clumsy attempts we still encounter to try make a Barolo that’s suited to early drinking. Tartufaia is 80% Serradenari, and 20% from Brunate (purchased fruit). Lifted, savory, chalky aromatics are balanced with cherry and delicate ripe tannin. I find it fantastically elegant and long, a wine of real finesse that inevitably brings a top Chambolle 1er Cru to mind. Jamie Wolff
The Barolo is a La Morra wine, with fruit from Berri and (until the 2017 vintage) about 20% from Capalot. The vineyards are fermented separately in concrete (whole cluster, for about 21 days), with malo and aging in large Slavonian oak (Garbellotto, for you botte geeks out there). I’ve tasted the 2016 twice, about a year apart, the first from botte just before bottling. Both times have shown the great balance and energy that are the best aspects of 2016. Most recently the wine was showing quite savory, with some pronounced mint and cocoa, followed by a rush of fruit. The bottled wine shows much riper and rounder tannin; it’s very long and energetic, and while I think you could cellar it for a long time, it’s so easy to drink that I’m going to have trouble resisting. I’ll have to buy some extra bottles… Jamie Wolff
I am crazy about the Trediberri 2016 Rocche dell’Annuziata. For a long time I didn’t realize that this vineyard could produce wine to love, because every example I tried turned out to be heavily oaked; then I encountered the real thing in Accomasso, and now in Trediberri. Their 2016 is truly exciting and (for me at least) greed inducing. From old vines (1955, 1961, 1999); fermentation (destemmed, in concrete) lasts about 4 weeks, and aging is in 25 and 50hl Slavonian oak (Garbelotto). I’m reminded of the best 1989s, which in my experience are simultaneously long-term, fairly powerful wines, but always showing great balance and transparency. So it goes for me with the 2016, already a complete wine, but certainly headed for greatness if you can resist it long enough. Less than 300 cases were produced… Jamie Wolff