Nebbiolo is arguably Italy’s greatest grape, with Barolo and Barbaresco considered the King and Queen of the vineyards. Looking back at the last decade, Piedmont is in its golden age. Producers are redefining their house styles and upping quality, with many introducing the younger generation as future custodians.
‘I have never seen a richer and more varied landscape in Piedmont. The entire region is much more dynamic.’ – Antonio Galloni, Vinous
During our annual tastings of all new arrivals from Piedmont, these wines blew us away. The 2016 vintage has been described as ‘Il Sogno’ – the dream vintage. It was a classic, late-ripening year resulting in thrilling wines of extraordinary balance and finesse. Browse our full list of 2016 Piedmont wines.
Marengo’s Barolo Bricco delle Viole 2016 is astonishing. We’ve been importing from this small, family-run winery for more than a decade and love their plush La Morra fruit and dense structure. Pio Cesare is one of Piedmont’s greatest names. They manage to combine the best of the old and new in classically styled, elegant expressions of Nebbiolo. Their Pio Cesare Barbaresco 2016 is a generous, yet graceful iteration of the vintage.
For fantastic value, look no further than Langhe Nebbiolo. It is Piedmont’s equivalent to Bourgogne rouge and often made from the same highly-regarded parcels as the estates’ Barolos and Barbarescos. The 2018 Langhe Nebbiolos from Giulia Negri, the young gun, and GD Vajra, one of the region’s oldest and nicest families, are incredible examples of the poise and pedigree these entry-level wines can offer.
Beyond the usual suspects, be sure to try out the other Piedmontese cultivars such as Dolcetto, Barbera and Freisa from these legendary producers. Equally incredible with food, these wines offer earlier drinking while you wait for the Barolos and Barbarescos to mature.
Apart from Nebbiolo, the other reason to love Piedmont is for its white truffle season. We’re delighted to offer fresh white truffles once again, flown in from Italy’s Acqualagna region. Truffle connoisseur Fabio Razzino, of The Eatalian, imports this culinary treasure which, until now, has been destined for restaurants only. The highest quality is ensured by special, overnight, cooled delivery. Note, truffle orders will be fulfilled by The Eatalian directly.
Please email Jolette@winecellar.co.za if you’re interested in single-vineyard Barbarescos from Produttori del Barbaresco – the best co-operative in the world.
Marengo, Barolo Bricco delle Viole 2016
Speaking from the heart, this is probably my favorite wine from M. Marengo. The 2016 Barolo Bricco delle Viole is a wine that always stands out in my tastings thanks to its very special bouquet. I am reminded of flowers, with hints of rose hip, lavender and, of course, violets, after which this cru site is named. Fruit comes from a one-hectare plot in the comune of Barolo at about 420 meters above sea level (a slightly higher and cooler site). You can almost taste the cool, calcareous soils here thanks to those delicate and fragile aromas. This 2016 vintage offers a bit more power and density, and that floral signature is slightly downplayed in favor of red fruit and wild berries. This vintage offers just a tad more concentration and darkness, with the textural tightness that beckons for many more years of cellar aging. With time, those beautiful fruit flavors will become more relaxed and polished. There’s that hint of crushed white pepper again, which we saw in the classic Barolo. It pops up in this wine like a little sparkle at the very end. 2025 – 2045. – Monica Larner, Wine Advocate, 96/100
Pio Cesare, Barbaresco 2016
Pio Cesare’s 2016 Barbaresco is, quite simply, everything Barbaresco should be. Medium in body and translucent, with a firm backbone of youthful Nebbiolo tannin, the 2016 is captivating from the very first taste. Rose petal, lavender, mint, blood orange and red berry fruit open effortlessly. This is textbook Barbaresco. I loved it. 2024 – 2041. – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, 95/100
GD Vajra, Langhe Nebbiolo 2018
The 2018 Langhe Nebbiolo emerges from a parcel in Sinio. Dark fruit, spice, earthy notes and a good bit of tannin give the Vajra’s Langhe Nebbiolo a decidedly brooding, powerful feel and quite a bit more seriousness than is typical at this level. Sweet red berry fruit, mint and spice add freshness alongside bright acidity as the 2018 opens up in the glass. This is such a pretty and expressive wine. 2020 – 2033. – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, 90/100
Giulia Negri, Langhe Nebbiolo ‘Pian delle Mole’ 2018
This vineyard is north-facing and sits at 500m altitude, on tortonian soils, calcareous marls, that covers the western part of Barolo. It yields perfumed and elegant wines, the Negri Langhe Nebbiolo is point and case – expressing this terroir perfectly.