An Offering of 2015 Barolo & Barbaresco at Direct Import prices.

September is a great month in my industry. The first two weeks are filled with trade tastings, and the third week is my annual Barolo Luncheon at Bruculino in Norwalk (one of the ultimate best Italian restaurants in Connecticut). This year the concentration will be on the fabulous 2015 vintage. Coming off the back-end of a difficult 2014 vintage, these ‘15s are the most expressive wines from Barolo I have tasted since 2006. I feel they surpass the 2010 vintage for a very simple reason. They are utterly approachable…now, and yet will give delight over the next 20+ years if you choose to lay them down and forget about them. As I grow older, approachability is a wine descriptor that I cherish!

My lunch next week will center around 40+ Barolos from six or seven of the top winemakers in Piedmont. And because, in years past, the luncheon has always been held just a few days before the deadline to order the wines, this time I asked the Distributor if he would come over and taste me on some of the highlights so I could start writing my Barolo Report early and give my customers an extra few days to determine if they wanted to stock up. So, this morning I tasted through 15 of the top Barolos that will be at the luncheon.

A word about the vintage. It was warm, but it wasn’t hot. The weather remained warm from May through September but in October, just before harvest it rained and gave the wines a burst of acidity and full ripeness that capped a great year. This late rain allowed the grapes to be harvested at optimal phenolic ripeness but without excessive sugars. By contrast, 2007, 2009 and 2011 were all much hotter vintages. Many winemakers called the vintage a ‘great classic’, ‘vital and energetic’, ‘comparable to 2001’. However it may be described in the coming months, it is a vintage that you can buy with confidence. A vintage that you can buy to drink tonight at dinner, or to celebrate your newborn’s 21st birthday.

My first impressions of the wines tasted today would describe the wines as super elegant, complex, expansive and haunting. I loved the fact that each wine was distinct in its own right, each wine was highly indicative of place - not surprisingly the Monvigliero from Fratelli Alessandria was one of my highest rated wines. Another standout was the Rocche Viberti Castiglione Falletto Brico Boschis. The Le Rocche vineyard is one of the great vineyard sites in Barolo. It’s beauty is in its exposition – it faces east-southeast and as such is considerably cooler than many of its peers. The vineyard is highly coveted by producers in Barolo but only a handful own vines since it is also one of the smallest ‘sites’ in Barolo. Bruno Giacosa is one, but I can’t afford his wines, but fortunately Claudio Viberti owns a parcel and his wines are equally sensational and slightly less expensive.

Here is a summation of what I tasted today. I will get a chance to taste more wines at the luncheon and I shall add them to this list if they merit. A word about ordering. Artisan Wines, based in Connecticut, imports these wine. I must place my store order with them by Monday, September 30. The wines will depart, ex-cellars, and arrive in CT in November. They must be shipped to me in the month of November and be collected from the store by the end of November. Orders must be accompanied by a 25% deposit. Cancellations will mean forfeiture of the deposits. No cancellations can be accepted after October 30. The ‘Direct Import’ price available now through September 30 represents a 15-25% discount off the price that will be posted on November 1. All prices are net. I am required to order in ‘solid case order only’ – that means I must order 12 bottles. I am offering all the wines in packs of 6 since whatever I do not sell on the pre-order I know I will sell at a 25% higher price on December 1.

Roccheviberti – Castiglione Falletto
Barolo Rocche di Castiglione. CP 93. Lovely ageing flavor/old style. Furry but gentle tannins. Luminous; heavily aromatic; dry cherry, ginger, some spice and leather.
DI:$68. Dec 1: $80
Barolo Bricco Boschis. CP 96. Drop dead gorgeous. Exciting, seductive, dry tannins. Gritty and nervy all in one. Exaggerated length. Roasted plums and syrupy 30 year old Balsamic. Sumptuous, graceful, notes of tar and licorice. Magnificent wine.
DI:$72. Dec 1: $84

Silvano Bolmida – Bussia di Montforte.
Barolo Bussia. CP 93. AG 94 Enormous depth, both aromatically and taste. Brooding tannins that bare on the sweet side of the spectrum – savory, like the best fatty part of a roast beef. Lip-smacking goodness. Dark cherry, loganberry, for some reason I wrote Oreo Cookie dough!
DI:$58. Dec 1: $68
Barolo Bussia Vigne dei Fantini. CP 95. AG 93. Darker and more powerful than the straight Bussia. New leather, licorice, sweet oak. One for the cellar if you can leave it alone.
DI: $62. Dec 1: $74

Fratello Alessaandria Verduno
Barolo. CP93. RP 94. AG 94. Beautifully elegant. Opens to a taste sensation. Reveals wild berry, cassis, licorice, velvet tannin. Stunning after a few minutes in the glass.
DI:$58. Dec 1: $68
Barolo San Lorenzo. CP 92. RP 94. AG 94. Very dark berry fruit, saturated flavors that gracefully evolve over time to baking spice, Maduro tobacco, roast figs. Powerhouse that could use a little time in the cellar, or decanting a few hours before breakfast (for dinner!)
DI:$79. Dec 1: $92
Barolo Monvigliero. CP 94. RP 96+. From one of the most talked about vineyards in Barolo. Classic interpretation of Barolo. Soft, undulating, waves of purple passion crashing over a bed of rose petals. Truly outstanding…and pricey.
DI:$102. Dec 1: $124

Cascina Luisin – Barbaresco
Barbaresco ‘Bric Paolin’ 2016. CP 94. Only 380 cases produced, for the world. I have always loved the wines from Luisin. They are the epitome of Barbaresco. Outstanding intensity, highly polished bouquet, crisp acidity. Bright, energetic, a symphony of reed berries, mint, licorice, pressed violets.
DI:$ 60. Dec 1. $71
Barbaresco ‘Asili’ 2016. CP 94. Fresh, less assertive, less tannic than the Paolin. Still intense but juicier. If this could be my table wine I would die happy (and be retired and wouldn’t have to write this!) Mouthfeel is succulent and sweet. Nose is perfumed. All energy.
DI:$69. Dec 1: $80
Barbaresco ‘Rabaja’ 2016. CP 94. Super elegant. Very clean. Fresh. Still masculine with brooding dark cherry confit intermingled with baking spice.
DI:$74. Dec 1: $88

Cantina del Pino – Barbaresco
Barbaresco 2015. CP 93. RP 92. Starts gentle, even soft. Notes of wild berry, baking spice, hint more nutmeg. Low intensity makes drinking this wine an absolute pleasure. Fills the mouth with lushness.
DI:$48. Dec 1: $58
Barbaresco ‘Albesani’ 2015. CP 92. RP 95. Shows the darkest color and richest appearance. Wine is tight but sweeter fruit and grerat balance. More savory – black truffle, wet leather, tobacco. Beautiful wine for a winters night.
DI:$66. Dec 1: $78
Barbaresco Gallina 2015. CP 92. RP 95+. (2000 bottles made). Even more power and intensity. Very black fruit base with loads of spice and crushed stone. Hits the palate with strength, bright acidity and freshness.
DI:$66. Dec 1: $78
Barbaresco ‘Ovello’ 2015. CP 93. RP 94. Smoother than the Gallina. Warmer. Opens like a Philharmonic Orchestra rendering of Chopin. The wine lingers in the mouth pulling you deeper and deeper. Fresh basket of wild picked berries, confiture, rich butter and toasted brioche. Heavenly.
DI:$70. Dec 1: $83

CP = Cai Palmer
RP = Robert Parker
AG = Antonio Galloni
DI = Direct Import Price

And that’s it. Remember, we have until September 28 to place customer orders. That’s 10 days. Figure out what your bonus may be this year and set aside some moolah for these wines. They are absolutely delicious.

Please e-mail me your orders. Remember, 6 bottle minimum per wine. If you are interested in large format sizes many of these wines can be bought in 1.5L and 3L sizes. If you really want some of these wines but can only commit to 3btls of any one wine let me know. If there are sufficient orders to accommodate my ordering requirements I will let you know. I can make no guarantees on orders less than 6 but I will try. Email me if interested.