Brovia, 2010 Barolo

10/3/14 -

(Rocche in early June.)

I’m discovering that there’s a lot of fuss about 2010 Barolo. Years of observation have shown me that I often disagree with the press about the character of a vintage (2000 Barolo, a ‘vintage of the century,' is an ever-entertaining example). I’ve seen some very positive press on 2010 Barolo, and I’ve heard about a lot more, and I can’t indulge my inner curmudgeon - I’m in agreement that it’s a fantastic vintage. On the other hand it certainly doesn’t mean that I like all of the wines; how the pundits can ‘score’, for instance, Roberto Voerzio and Brovia at the same level is an enduring and exasperating mystery to me. The Voerzios may be impressive if you like extravagantly ripe red wine with plenty of gobs, but to me they are so lacking in Barolo character and typicity that they shouldn’t even be labelled as such. On a more positive note, the Brovias are up to their old tricks, producing another breathtaking range of wines.

Brovia 2010s are nowhere near ready to drink. This is not a remarkable statement in regards to traditional Barolo, but after a series of more accessible vintages, it was surprising to me how much the 2010 Brovia wines were showing an intensity of structure and density on the palate. I think the wines are among the best of the vintage, but of all of the wines we tasted in May, they were among the most unyielding; in fact they reminded me of the beasts that the 1996 Giacosa wines were when tasted in 1999… and those wines are now, perhaps, just beginning to come out of their shell. No matter when I’ve tried the Brovia wines they provide a lesson in Barolo terroir that’s consistent from year-to-year regardless of the vintage character. This is true in 2010, and it’s also the only reason I can think of to open one of these wines in the next 10-15 years. Jamie Wolff

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