Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 82

FOCUS: BAROLO & BARBARESCO
Our blind panels tasted 251 new-release Barolo and Barbaresco wines for this issue. Stephanie Johnson, our critic for Italy, rated 138
as exceptional (90+) and 17 as Best Buys. Find a complete list of wines tasted and all reviews at wineandspiritsmagazine.com.

BA RO LO
278930

100 | Vietti

$175

2016 Barolo Rocche di Castiglione ^ Alfredo
Currado made Vietti's first-ever single-cru
Barolo in 1961 from Rocche di Castiglione,
a long tongue of vines that extends from
the edge of Castiglione Falletto toward the
border of Monforte d'Alba on a southeastfacing slope. Currado's son and Vietti's current winemaker, Luca, calls Rocche "stronger
than the stupid," meaning it is hard to make
a bad wine from the cru. That was never a
possibility in 2016, a growing season that
Luca considers the best in his 33 harvests,
with everything happening just as it should:
rain at opportune moments, no significant
hail, and a beautiful September with hot
days and cold nights. The wine's red-cherry
flavors are vibrant and juicy, picking up notes
of orange peel and fresh tobacco with time in
the glass. Its tannins are formidable yet cool,
adding to its sense of freshness, and the precise red-berry flavors continue to gain energy
and vibrancy even five days after the bottle
was opened. A portrait in balance and equilibrium, this 2016 is a monumental achievement. § Dalla Terra, Napa, CA
278870

99 | Vietti

$175

2016 Barolo Lazzarito ^ Vietti's vines in the
Lazzarito cru of Serralunga average 37 years
of age, and they're rooted in the clay-limestone soils of the southwest-facing slope.
Their fruit builds muscular tannins that, in
this 2016, frame flavors of dark cherry and
raspberry tinged with notes of menthol and
blood orange. This wine is compelling for its
raw power and energy, and it exhibits the verticality and freshness of the 2016 vintage that
will allow it to improve over the next decade
and beyond as those chiseled tannins soften. §
Dalla Terra, Napa, CA
279030

98 | Fratelli Alessandria

$110

2016 Barolo Monvigliero ^ Vittore Alessandria's 2016 Barolos are outstanding across
the board, starting with his Monvigliero, a
wine so aromatically pleasing that you want
to keep it in your glass all night, stealing
whiffs of dewy rose petals, soft herbs and
white pepper. Those floral notes are reflected
82

WINE & SPIRITS

DECEMBER 2020

in the bright tones of cherry, raspberry and
pomegranate, which feel fully integrated
and expressive. Taut tannins knit the flavors
together in a fine, lacy structure as the wine
continues to gain intensity and verve. This
is Verduno at its best, and a must-have for
every Barolo lover. § North Berkeley Imports,
Berkeley, CA
278914

98 | Elvio Cogno

$115

2016 Barolo Ravera ^ Valter Fissore's Ravera
is a highlight of the vintage, combining elegance, freshness and power in a superbly balanced wine. It opens like a bouquet of rose
petals and bursts with flavors of fresh cherry,
mulberry and menthol. Fissore likes vintages
in which the vines find their own balance,
and that's what happened in 2016, a year
that required minimal green harvesting.
He works hard to manage tannins by picking at the optimal moment, and he clearly
nailed it in 2016 with a wine that is tautly
structured and built for aging, yet so juicy
and accessible that it's difficult to resist now.
Ravera is always the first of Fissore's three
single-cru wines to be released, and its success in this vintage will drive anticipation for
the 2016 Bricco Pernice and Riserva Vigna
Elena-both from single plots in the Ravera
cru, scheduled for release within the next two
years. For a more affordable introduction to
the Elvio Cogno style, don't miss the 2016
Barolo Cascina Nuova, also recommended
here. § Wilson Daniels, St. Helena, CA
278872

98 | Gaja

$290

2016 Barolo Sperss ^ Sperss is an alluring
wine in the long and even 2016 growing season. Its flavors of red cherry, pomegranate
and raspberry are cool and crisp, framed
by fine, granular tannins. Notes of cedar,
tobacco and mint give further dimension
to the juicy fruit tones, and the texture is
smooth and silky, maintaining a harmonious balance through a long, sultry finish. The
wine has staying power, still glorious three
days after first opening the bottle. § Terlato
Wines Int'l, Lake Bluff, IL
279035

98 | G.D. Vajra

$90

2016 Barolo Bricco delle Viole ^ Bricco delle
Viole ("hill of violets") sits high on the Barolo
commune's western edge, with dramatic

diurnal temperature shifts that prolong the
ripening of the fruit. It is always one of the
last vineyards to be picked by the Vaira family's team, and this was especially true in the
long growing season of 2016, when harvest
in this cru extended into late October. The
wine opens with vivid rose and violet scents
and bright orange-peel accents. Vibrant acidity propels flavors of taut cherry and red currant underlined by a cool streak of graphite.
The finish, still tight, is long and fresh, resonant with those red-berry tones that will keep
this wine lively for many years to come. § Vajra
USA, Manhasset, NY
278915

98 | Vietti

$175

2016 Barolo Ravera ^ Another exciting wine
from Luca Currado's 2016 releases, this one
is from Novello's Ravera cru, where Vietti
owns 7.4 acres of vines with southwest exposures. Exuberant aromas of rose petals lead
into taut red-cherry and plum flavors that are
deep and penetrating. The flavors arrive in
waves, propelled by cool acidity, laced with
menthol and orange zest, all of it feeling fully
integrated. § Dalla Terra, Napa, CA
278946

97 | Fratelli Alessandria

$85

2016 Barolo Gramolere ^ This wine's texture
is suave and silky for a Barolo from Monforte
d'Alba, framing the flavors of macerated
cherry, licorice and orange zest as they wash
across the palate in a mouthwatering wave.
Scents of dried rose petals and subtle spice
enhance the flavors, drawn out by vibrant
acidity on the way to a long finish. The vertical structure of the tannins suggests excellent aging potential. § North Berkeley Imports,
Berkeley, CA
278917

97 | Elvio Cogno

$135

2015 Barolo Ravera Bricco Pernice ^ The
2015 vintage was warmer than 2016, and
you can feel it in Bricco Pernice's penetrating
flavors of ripe cherry and raspberry as they
glide over powerful, ferrous tannins. Impressively vibrant for the vintage, with detailed
scents of rose petals, lavender and orange
zest, the wine remains fresh and balanced
days after it was opened, indicating a long
life ahead. § Wilson Daniels, St. Helena, CA
278926


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Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 4
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 5
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 6
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Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover3
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