Castiglione Falletto, looking north from Montanello

Private Collection - Piedmont

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Just in time for your holidays: pristine bottles, all guaranteed!

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Brovia 2010 Barolo

The Brovia single-vineyard wines are vivid demonstrations of their terroirs, and it’s always a treat to taste them together to see the differences between the vineyards. ‘Classico’ is a preferred term for Barolos / Barbarescos that are not single-vineyard wines, as no producer is very keen on calling their wine ‘base Barolo’ or ‘basic Barolo’. Brovia’s Barolo (classico) is a blend of 4 vineyards, with the biggest share coming from 25 year-old vines in Brea, which gives the wine a very mineral, chalky backbone. Classico bottlings are always less expensive than the single-vineyards, and there’s a strong tendency to diminish the importance of the classico wines in favor of our obsession with the single vineyards, but the best blended Barolos express the complexity that comes from combining fruit from different terroirs – think B. Mascarello, G. Rinaldi. We miss out on some great wine if we ignore a classico wine that’s as good as Brovia’s, which is altogether a serious wine, and something very fine. I can’t pretend that I think it will be ready to drink soon – in May the wine showed orange and herbal notes, quite savory with ripe, slightly grainy tannin; it’s really an infant, but it will repay some time to age, and other forms of tender care. Jamie Wolff  

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Camparo 2015 Barolo Boiolo

The Boiolo is the only Barolo produced by our friend Mauro Drocco at Azienda Agricola Camparo, and it shows beautiful complexity. From 20-50 year old hand harvested  Nebbiolo vines in La Morra, from slopes of south-eastern and southern exposure. The vineyard is planted on clay-calcareous, calcareous-siliceous and marl soils. Grapes are picked in October, before being pressed and  fermented  in stainless steel tanks. The wine ages  in large French oak casks for 24 months before it  is transferred to bottle, where it rests another year prior to release. On the nose, there are fresh black and red fruits, a touch of spicy licorice, and a savory aroma that conjures a bundle of dried green herbs. The palate has a bit of flesh, edges of tannic strength, and a clean line of acidity. Ripe black cherry hang above flavors of earth and dark stones. A very pleasurable wine, drinking well today. David Hatzopoulos

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Negri, Giulia 2015 Barolo Serradenari

A stunning wine - my note from tasting in the cellar starts with a highly scientific, “Wow!” There is none of the potential excess of 2015, instead lovely fruit, with savory, balsalm and stony notes. You get the sensation of a dark core that has yet to blossom – giving the fruit a stony base and suggesting great potential in the cellar, although the wine is balanced and delicious now. Jamie Wolff

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Oddero 2010 Barolo

Some 2010 Barolos have been showing more weight and depth than when first bottled — the Oddero Barolo is an example. It’s very good; perhaps not today the easiest drinking wine you’ll taste, as it really needs some time in bottle to unwind. It’s showing very savory and salty-mineral, with warm ripe tannins. I think it’s got a great future. JW (Isabelle Oddero in Rocche, May 2012)

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Oddero 2010 Barolo Rocche di Castiglione

It’s nice that we’re not forced to pick favorites, but if I did have to choose a preferred Barolo vineyard it would be Rocche, which often makes me think of great Burgundy along the lines of top Chambolle Musigny or top Vosne Romanee — tremendous finesse cloaking depth and power (for me tasting the best Chambolle or Vosne mostly consists of happy memories — these days Rocche is a lot more affordable!). Oddero Rocche carries the intense chalky minerality and lift that you’d expect, along with what can only be called sheer class — our British friends might say ‘breed’, or ‘pedigree’. That said, this is a structured wine that needs some time to unwind — 10 years, just to guess. Certainly all the components to age are there in beautiful balance. A very classic and truly excellent wine.  JW

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Principiano, Ferdinando 2008 Barolo Boscareto

Boscareto wraps around to the north and south of Cascina Francia; you may know the fabulously ugly hotel that now occupies the location of the original farm at the edge of the vines. Principiano has vines in the southern part, which seems like a magical and hidden spot, reached by a road (more of a track, really) that I’d never been on before, and which departs more or less from someone’s farmyard, leading to the vines, in a valley, with Ginestra to the south and Cascina Francia to the north. It seems like it’s the bottom of Cascina Francia – it’s certainly lower, but at over 300 meters not as low by elevation as you might think. The point of this attempt at geographical description is that the wine Principiano is making from Boscareto has (to borrow from our British friends) a hell of a lot of class, breed, call it what you will, but it’s some special wine: not your run-of-the-mill good Barolo. Tasted recently, the 2008 was expressing this vividly, although it’s got a long future. Jamie Wolff

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Principiano, Ferdinando 2013 Barolo Ravera

The Ravera 2013 is very aromatic with great balance between fruit and savory / floral / herbal. It has pronounced grip, but the tannins are elegant. Another excellent wine for the cellar. Jamie Wolff

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  • Organic

Principiano, Ferdinando 2013 Barolo Serralunga

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Ferdinando Principiano is part of the next generation in Barolo who are guaranteeing that our kids and grandkids are ensured a supply of brilliant wines (some of the others on my short list are the Brovia family, Mario Fontana, Giacomo Fenocchio, Elio Sandri, Fabio Alessandria at Burlotto, Gianni Canonica – not kids, but experienced wine makers in their prime). I’ve told the story before about how around 2008 Ferdinando completely changed course from making full-on modern style wine to full-on traditional wines, which is a courageous move under any circumstance, and one which is yielding beautiful wines. And beautiful vines: his vineyards are also gorgeous.The Barolo is a blend of fruit from Boscaretto, Baudana, and Leirano – all Serralunga vineyards. It’s very good indeed, harmonious and balanced, with lovely fruit, fine tannin, and surprisingly accessible (when tasted in May 2017). Jamie Wolff

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Roddolo 2009 Barolo Ravera

This is Ravera di Monforte, not the more familiar Ravera of Barolo / Novello (of Cogno and G. Rinaldi fame). Ravera di Monforte is off the beaten path – hidden in a fold of the land just west of Boscaretto and Cascina Francia; it’s not a spot you would go by accident unless you were very lost. This Ravera is quite small, and is surrounded by woods; the atmosphere is idyllic and kind of magical – a mood that’s strengthened by the organic and non-interventionist style of farming practiced there by Roddolo and by Ferdinando Principiano. Roddolo’s Ravera 2009 is surprisingly open and drinkable now – extremely suave and lifted, with depth and structure giving length to what initially might seem like an easy wine. I can only imagine this getting better and better. Jamie Wolff

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