More new releases: Barbaresco, Roero, Dogliani, some extras

Some recently tasted wines from Barbaresco (a mixture of 2014s, and 2013s – not all producers are ready to release their 2014s yet), and Roero (some reds and whites), and Dolcetto wines from Dogliani, in the southern tip of Langhe area.

There are a good number of notes here, but I think it’s worth looking through as there are some excellent values, and some really special wines (that will sell out quickly/price will get jacked), too.

  • no recommendation (NR) not bad, just too soon to rate, and/or not interesting enough
  • recommended (R(+/-)  *(a really nice wine!, nothing average about it!)
  • highly recommended (HR(+/-)  *(an excellent wine!)
  • very highly recommended (VHR(+/-)  *(an EPIC wine!)
  • The + or – sign many be attached to the rating. The (+) says it’s an excellent value within its peer group; the (-) says it’s a poor value relative to its peers

2013 Oddero Barbaresco Gallina  (R)  Balanced, with good structure and persistence, this developing Barbaresco wine enters med>full body. Soft at first, the structure swoops in an the softness fades as the brisk acids and fine tannins come to attention. Classic aromas and flavors; understated, and not yet fully integrated. Give this two-or three more years, then drink for the decade+ following. Really nice effort with good potential to improve from here. Drink 2019-2031recommended

2014 Cascina Morassino Barbaresco  (R)  I believe Roberto used 10-14 year old 25hl casks for this wine. The wood (which is balanced, just young and firm), and the wine, is pretty, classic, red-fruited and quite pure. On second taste, this is already wanting to spread its wings by adding some depth and breadth; acids and tannins are wonderful in this particular Barbaresco wine, this has a good future to improve. HOLD.  2020-2035recommended

2014 Cascina Morassino Barbaresco Ovello  (R+)  Newer 25hl casks for this wine; a careful selection from this important Cru site. The nose and palate are both more complex than the normale (’14), which I suppose is expected. So too is the absence of some freshness. But, having had Roberto’s wines over the years, I’ve come to learn they need more time than most/many before they’re really in their zone. Red-fruited, layered, with avg+ complexity and persistence, this is quite good. An excellent value at the cantina. Drink 2021-2036. Easily recommended+

2014 San Biagio Barbaresco Montersino  (R+)  In bottle for ~ 4 months now, this is already fairly approachable. Classic garnet color, orange at the rim, clear and bright. Sweet core of red fruits including cherry, strawberry, red licorice, some orange peel, soil and herbs. Most of this carries over to the med>full body, with vg freshness, balance and persistence. Impressive little wine that should evolve quite nicely. A bargain, and one likely to go to an even higher level of complexity/quality. 14,5% abv. (resolved), drink 2020-2035recommended+

2011 Giorgio Pelissero Barbaresco Tulin  (R)  Good freshness to the nose, though a touch of EtOH pokes around. The body is med>full, with lots of richness and boldness to the red/dark red fruits. A good soil component, with red/purple flowers, some fennel and herb notes. The persistence and balance is above-average, this is ready to roll right now and for the next 10 years. Very tasty. 14,5% abv., drink 2016-2027recommended

2012 Giorgio Pelissero Barbaresco Tulin  (HR)  Huge appeal just now, this is closer to full-bodied than anything else. Rich, layered, really sapid, with vg persistence. Complexity and length intensifies with more air – this is just really, really tasty. Some cocoa powder, resin/tar notes. This won’t be confused with a traditional style, though it is nonetheless striking in its performance, delivering a great all-around experience. Bright, pure, clean, and with good energy, there is some fennel seed and menthol that adds good interest; tannins mostly resolved. Should drink well thru 2028. 14,5% abv., (resolved), drink 2016-2029. highly recommended

2013 Giorgio Pelissero Barbaresco Tulin  (R)  More classically styled than the 2012 tasted just prior, this offers good balance, fresh, ripe strawberries, soil and plenty of red/purple floral character. Most of these follow to the med>med+ body; nice elegance due to plenty of fresh, cool acidity. Avg+ persistence and structure, this should continue to evolve favorably for the next 5 years, drinking well 2019, until 2030recommended

2014 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco  (HR+)  I think my first eight words were all the same, “wow!”. Very content to sit and smell this for (ever?) several minutes, it’s clear this is just winegrowing/winemaking on another level So bright and energetic, this is classically built, yet there’s great weight and energy to the medium body. Deeply sapid, this wine just pulses with energy. Pomegranate, strawberries, limestone, soil, cherries, etc. Fantastic. You need at least a case. Plus magnums. Should continue to evolve for 15-20 years. 14,0% abv., highly recommended+

and again,

(HR+) Stunning. Tasted today during the Grandi Langhe event in Neive. In a room full of Barbaresco wines from dozens of producers, showing many vintages (to show a vertical context), this wine was in a category all its own. Electric was the word that kept repeating in my head, this is so fresh, so balanced. This may be my favorite new release classico in the past decade; likely even more than that. It’s thrilling. Medium-bodied with great cut, the layers of red fruit come with plenty of citrus and pomegranate/strawberry aromas and flavors. If you’re a fan of this house, I strongly suggest you consider multiple cases. May well end up being one of those wines that’s always going to be on point; a life of 20+ years should be no problem at all. A masterpiece of freshness, structure and elegance. 2018-2044highly recommended+

2013 Massimo Rivetti Barbaresco  (R)  Classic garnet color, just a little orange to the rim. Soil, red licorice, red hard candy, mineral, dried herbs. Avg freshness and drive; packs a lot of punch on the med>full body, a little heat. Simple, but good, and with good structure. 14,0% abv. (resolved), drink 2018-2028recommended

2013 Massimo Rivetti Barbaresco Froi  (R)  Solid wine that will be good for early and mid-term drinking. Notwithstanding the classic 25hl casks, this presents a slightly darker garnet color. The nose and palate reflect that darker color, with a med>full body, round, sweet tannins, and an open-knit style; avg structure, medium(-) finish. Easy to understand this one, it would make a solid choice for a restaurant list as it’s not in need of any more time, though it should continue to age well for another 7-8 years, no problem; better in 2-3 years. Drink 2017-2025recommended

2013 Massimo Rivetti Barbaresco Serraboella  (R)  Closer to full bodied than medium, this is generous through the middle, with avg complexity, length, and structure. Good now, and likely better in another year or two, this is a nice choice for short and mid-term enjoyment. Some barrique before it’s placed in botti grandi during assemblage, this is an open-knit, but not blowsy style. Drink 2018-2026recommended

2013 Poderi Colla Barbaresco Roncaglie  (NR)  Lighter garnet color, with soil, tar, camphor, white and red floral. Enters medium-bodied, the flavors are light, delicate; finish is lacking, not much detail or freshness. May show better with an hour or two of air in decanter if serving anytime soon. 14,0% abv., drink 2018-2026NR

2014 La Ganghija Barbaresco  (R+)  Really quite good; a real hidden gem. Garnet color. Medium+ body, with vg balance, structure. Med>long finish, developing textures/weight, good depth of fruit, and complexity already. A young winery, this producer began in 2004, after completing his enological studies at Alba school. The Barbaresco winegrapes are located in the areas called “Giacosa” and “Treico Bricco” in the municipality of Treiso, with south-east exposure at an altitude of ~ 400 meters asl. The vinification involves a combination of smaller French barrels (no barrique), and larger Slavonian casks of various ages; maceration is ~ 2 weeks – 1 month, (in stainless, malo in stainless, too), and in most vintages, Enzo will elect ~6 more months than the minimum required for the DOCG laws, or 24 months in wood prior to bottling. The price at the cantina is a genuine bargain, just 20€. 14,5% abv. (resolved), drink 2020-2034+recommended+

2013 La Ganghija Barbaresco  (R+)  A little less structure than the 2014, but really, that’s splitting hairs. Med>Full body, well-balanced, showing some nice breadth and depth already. Tasty, supple, bright, a wine that’s easily recommended+, 14,5% abv. (resolved), drink 2018-2029.

2014 Albino Rocca Barbaresco Montersino  (R)  Traditionally-styled wine that is a blend of two single vineyards, and vinified for 40-60 days in older, large casks. Very pretty pale garnet color, with a nose of soil, jolly rancher red cherry; avg complexity today, though clearly this has the potential for improvement. A light touch of EtOH, and some unresolved wood, let this rest 2-3 more years for a more integrated presentation. Drink 2020-2034, 14,5% abv. recommended

2014 Albino Rocca Barbaresco Ronchi  (R)  A little darker color than the 2014 Montersino (i.e. not traditional), this opens with a nose that’s offering more complexity, brightness, and includes some high-toned red fruit aspects. Good soil, mineral components, no lingering hard candy. Clean, balanced, well-structured. Great energy on the entry, tannins are somewhat fierce, vg acidity; with a few minutes in the glass, a creaminess sets in, the wine become less serious in nature – my notes say ‘easy to understand’. 14,5% abv. (resolved), drink 2020-2033recommended

2014 Albino Rocca Barbaresco Angelo  (R)  Just the second time this ‘tribute’ wine (in memory of their father) has been produced. Garnet+ color, bright and lively. The nose is flowery at first, followed by good soil, and rich red>dark red aromas, then some roses and orange peel; flavors largely follow the nose. The nose gets more interesting by the second taste, this wine’s got some obvious charm – add that to the fact it’s well-structured, and balanced, and we’ve got solid wine. Fine, sweet tannins; adds weight and depth on second taste. Some elegance is likely to develop in a few years, but right now the palate is not living up to the potential suggested by the nose. HOLD. 14,5% abv. (resolved), drink 2022-2037recommended

2014 Azienda Agricola Elvio Cogno Barbaresco Bordini  (HR)  Consistent, very good potential; in the bottle < 6 months. After 20 days macerating on the skins, this is raised in botti grandi, then some time in bottle prior to release. Very traditional, no racking, no pesticides/chemicals in the vineyards, and only produced since 2010, this wine opens with lots of fresh, vivid cherry, red licorice, herb and soil notes. Med>Full body, good persistence already,; should be long-lived. Elegant, well-balanced, a puff of cedar that blows off, a med+ finish. This is likely to develop quite positively, a lovely wine. 2020-2036highly recommended

2014 La Biòca Barbaresco  (NR)  This is the Ronchi bottling, only 1700 bottles produced. Big tannins today; this shows avg balance; a little rest and it this could get better. The nose is herbal cherry, salt and pepper, soil, roses and orange water. The serving temp is climbing, and therefore the freshness is not as assertive. The palate is closer to full vs medium bodied, the finish is lacking/short, though that could be a function of youth and/or serving temp too warm. HOLD. 14,0% abv., drink 2021-2029. [NR]

2014 Moccagatta Barbaresco Basarin  (NR)  Garnet>Ruby color. EtOH, loam, rich, ripe red/dark red fruits, soil, moss, rosewater. Med>full entry, some freshness, avg finish. Time may help to sort this out, but as it is today, it’s not too exciting. 14,5% abv., drink 2020-2030. NR

2014 Moccagatta Barbaresco Bric Balin  (R)  This wine is still developing, and I think that serving temperature (once it’s got 3-4 years of rest) is likely to be paramount to the amount of enjoyment/complexity this might yield. HOLD. 14,5% abv., drink 2021-2032.  recommended

2012 Moccagatta Barbaresco Bric Balin  (R)  Missing an edge of freshness, this follows the 2014 Basarin, showing more of a darker fruit character throughout. Loam, cocoa powder, kind of a savory black licorice meets jerky thing. On second taste, this shows a small hole in the middle, the finish struggles to get to medium. I’d be inclined to drink this in the early – mid-term, and again, serving temperature should be close to cellar temp. This should appeal to many. Drink 2018-2026recommended

2016 Azienda Agricola Negro Lorenzo Roero Arneis Perdaudin  (R+)  Medium straw color, bright. Begins with different kinds of apple – sweet, bruised, ripe, fresh sliced, then moves into a lemon soil effect. Nearly medium-bodied, with good weight/extract, good+ persistence. This is nice, as it has been for years. Even better in 12 monthsrecommended+

and, again, this time with some positive bottle variation

(HR)  Light straw color, very bright. Lemons, corn mash, persimmon, fennel seed, minerals – this is all over the place in the best of ways. Medium body, great acidity/energy, nice weight, good balance, light tartness. Excellent now and for the next several years. Drink 2017-2022. highly recommended

2016 Azienda Agricola Negro Lorenzo Roero Arneis  (NR)  Less acid, complexity and overall interest here than in the Perdaudin bottling. The nose is ok, it has some classic aromas, a nice minerality, but the body/fruit/finish…nah. Drink now thru 2018. Not bad, but can’t recommend

2013 Angelo Negro e Figli Roero San Giorgio Riserva  (R+)  Big Nebbiolo wine, but with good balance/plenty of acidity. Tannins show fairly well integrated already. Raw material here for continued positive development; great depth, persistence, ripe, nearly rich flavors. ~ 25 days of skin contact; traditionally styled. Structure suggests this can go 15, maybe 20 years. Impressive. Drink 2022-2039.  recommended+

2013 Monchiero Carbone Roero Printi Riserva  (NR)  Really good on the nose, less interesting on the palate. Based on the nose/aromas alone, this gives Barolo wines a run for their money. But it comes up way short on the palate; red, red-fruited, full-body(-), some/developing complexity, 13,5% abv., drink 2018-2027. NR

2014 Monchiero Carbone Roero Arneis  (NR)  Missing some energy on the palate. Saline, lemon, apple, mineral, etc., but there’s just not enough fresh acidity to keep the medium-bodied texture from feeling a bit heavy. 13,5% abv., drink nowNR

2016 Matteo Correggia Roero Arneis  (R+)  Quite nice. Classic color, with aromas that initially run the herbal spectrum, followed by seashell, lemons, orange, almonds, mineral, apple skin and mixed citrus. Really excels on the medium(-) palate, with great energy, tension, persistence and purity. 14,5% abv., drink now – 2022recommended+

2014 Matteo Correggia Roero  (R)  Solid Nebbiolo wine for the vintage. A little less body than in years past, but otherwise, quite good, with medium acids, mostly resolved tannins, nice plum and dark red berry fruit. Tree bark, soil, stones, flower perfumes – more earth than fruit just now, I like it. Adequate lift and complexity, this is one to enjoy in its youth. Good purity, structure, vintage notwithstanding. Drink now thru 2022. 14,0% abv. recommended

2015 Matteo Correggia Barbera d’Alba  (NR)  Decent freshness and build, but the acids wane a bit. Plump through the middle, with a short-ish finish. Avg flavors, depth; medium-bodied, red/blue fruits. A decent weeknight wine, good on its own or, likely, better with food. Drink now. NR

2016 Sordo Roero Arneis Garblet Sué  (NR)  Medium straw color, a bit dull. Medium-bodied, lower acidity, not so fresh, little complexity. Drink now. NR

2015 Gillardi Dogliani Maestra  (R)  Vinified entirely in stainless steel, this offers up a medium+ body, good tannins, plenty of acidity; has been in the bottle for ~ 8 mos now. There’s moderate complexity, with just enough soil, and acidity to keep my interest. That said, it’s really quite delicious. 14,5% abv., thru 2020recommended

2015 Gillardi Dogliani Cursalet  (R)  As with the Maestra bottling, this is vinified only in stainless steel – the difference then only in the form of the land, a different site. This shows a little darker color, a full ruby; much more tannic than the Maestra, this will need some time (the Maestra is already open for business and quite delicious). The lighter side of full-bodied, very correct, and more feminine than Maestra’s open-knit style. 14,5% abv., give this 3-4 years. (resolved). Drink 2020-2028.  recommended

2015 Chionetti Dogliani San Luigi  (R)  On the nose, this is already very approachable, it’s easy-natured, juicy, ripe, plenty of acids, and resolving tannins. correct flavors, moderate structure, med>full body. There’s good energy and freshness here, I like it; probably best 2018-2023. 14,0% abv., (resolved). recommended

2015 Chionetti Dogliani Briccolero  (R+)  Significantly more complex than the 2015 San Luigi tasted just prior, the nose is bright, with good energy, and complex aromas of cacao, almond, herb, soil, and black cherry. An elegant entry, with good sophistication married to the right amount of power, and structure. Very enjoyable. Drink 2018-2027. recommended+

2015 Aldo Clerico Dogliani  (R)  Good, developing. Ruby toward purple, with lightly candied red fruit aromas, some almond, chocolate, soil; a puff of EtOH. The palate is med>medium+, lots of depth, precise, structured. May develop more complexity, though the ripeness concerns me just a touch. 14,0% abv., drink now thru 2023. easily recommended

2015 Az. Agr. Valletti Dogliani  (R+)  Fourth generation landowners in Dogliani, the previous three had always sold the winegrape production. With the current generation, Roberto, the family’s enologist (graduated Alba enological school, plus a Masters…even an internship at Lambert Bridge) vinifies both of the family’s Dolcetto wines only in stainless steel. Current yields are closer to 7T/Ha vs the ~ 11T/Ha of just one generation ago. Additionally, the canopy is now much longer than in the past (short) vs. 1m’20”, and there’s a regular green harvest, something pretty much unheard of just one or even 1/2 a generation ago. As of this coming vintage, the family will also produce a Langhe Bianco from the Timorasso grape (interviewing this guy, I learn we’re both wine geeks). 

What prompted me to ask Roberto so many questions is what I found in the glass immediately after the first pour, so much bright citrus – clearly this was on another level and I wanted to know some details. The nose is really bright, vivid, with deep soil tones, grass, herb; there’s complexity. The entry is med>medium-full, it’s supple, not round, the red fruits are substantive, the weight is in great harmony with the acids/tannins. Finishes long, with developing complexity. Good future here. 14,0% abv., drink 2017-2026.  recommended+

2015 Az. Agr. Valletti Dogliani Superiore  (R+)  As many similarities as differences between this and the regular Dogliani bottling, this Superiore presents the same ruby>purple color, and the same engaging citrus notes on the nose. On the palate, this enters with tremendous energy, med>full body with a burst of freshness on the mid-palate; finish is long, sapid, complex. This needs to be imported asap, it’s excellent. 14,5% abv., (resolved), drink 2017-2027recommended+

2014 La Fusina Dogliani Superiore Cavagné  (R)  A touch of reduction at first. Ruby>Purple, clear. Nose of milk chocolate, soil, cherry, almond milk. Enters medium-bodied, good acidity. Avg complexity, balance; a solid table wine. 14,0% abv. (resolved), drink 2017-2022.  recommended

2013 Pecchenino Dogliani Superiore Bricco Botti  (R+)  The 2015 is likely to be bottled next month, and there was no Bricco Botti in 2014, so this is still the current release. That said, it’s nice that this is already in a place of good harmony and balance. The color, the nose and the palate all tend to the lighter side of today’s Dolcetto wines from this region, but despite the lighter-bodied frame, this still packs good weight and concentration. Really bright today, with good, fresh energy. Another very satisfying bottle. Thru 2022recommended+

2014 Francesco Boschis Dogliani Superiore Vigna Dei Prey  (R+)  From a SW exposition on calcareous soils, this (single-vineyard) wine reflects the cool, wet nature of 2014 in the area – it’s soft, juicy, easy to drink, ready, and only lightly spicy. Good energy through the middle, modest final/complexity. A well-grown wine, all things considered. 13,5% abv., drink now thru 2020recommended+

2013 Francesco Boschis Dogliani Sori San Martino  (R)  Garnet toward ruby, clear. Classic aromas, with flavors that largely follow to the medium body. Good energy, but even better structure; suggest this be held another year or two as it’s continuing to develop. Well-grown, with interesting citrus aromas, and good weight/texture on the medium frame. Drink 2017-2022recommended

2012 Francesco Boschis Dogliani Vigna del Ciliegio  (R)  Classic ruby color, with the nose offering chalk, herbs, soil, minerals, red fruits; almond and cherry emerge after some brief swirling, quite pretty overall. Really good energy on the medium>medium+ body, nicely weighted, balanced. Juicy, and fresh today, this is very pleasant and ready to drink 2016-2020. The 12 months of older oak treatment is fully integratedrecommended

2016 is looking like it’s a great vintage pretty much from Langhe north, to Langhe South, and for varieties ranging from Arneis & Barbera, to Dolcetto & Nebbiolo.

2015 will have more sporadic quality, as temperatures were warmer, the fruit showing more ripe, and more easily understood.

2014 was difficult – cold and very wet in Roero and Barolo communes, but vg>excellent in Barbaresco (and Monferrato). That said, I’ve tasted many, many fine wines that defy the vintages difficulties.

2013 is excellent in Barolo, and nearly as good (generally speaking) in Barbaresco, though 2014 edges it out with more freshness and structure. That said, the 2013 Barolo wines (of which I was personally a buyer – of many) will need 5-8 years minimum of rest before they begin their preferred plateaus; the wines have the structure (generally speaking) to age for 2-3 decades in many/most cases.

I will be producing several hundred more notes for newly released wines of the regions of Barolo, Barbaresco, and several hundred for Tuscany, too, in the coming days.

(header photo: Barbaresco-based winemaker Giorgio Pelissero and his nephew, as we explore each of his (many) vineyards this past June.)

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