A great, traditional vintage
‘Traditional’ was the word Silvano Bolmida (winemaker for The Society’s Exhibition Barolo as well as his Le Coste di Monforte included in this selection) used to describe the 2019 vintage in this great Italian region. Supporting Silvano’s comment, Augusto Boffa (Pio Cesare) used the phrase 'classical harvest', while Giuseppe Vajra described the 2019 vintage as ‘sophisticated’.
In the best possible way, I feel the words ‘traditional’ and ‘classic’ are accurate descriptions of Barolo 2019. These are nebbiolos with noticeable acidity, tannins and classic flavours of red apple, roses, black tea, fresh tobacco and orange bitters. All will benefit from five years ageing (that is, a further two from release) and will be hitting their stride at ten years; with many continuing to develop beautifully for a further decade!
The year began cold and wet, but the June sun kickstarted ripening before a sunny August and September. The warm days but cool nights allowed the grapes to develop flavours on the vine, without compromising acidity. Harvest began in mid-October when conditions were good and the grapes had achieved a natural balance, although yields were down on 2018.
When I was tasting at the cellars included in this selection, I asked the winemakers to compare 2019 with previous years. Many referenced the highly celebrated 2016s and 2013s, and I would tend to agree that the 2019s fall somewhere in the middle between the two: a great vintage for high-quality benchmark Barolo, with great similarity to the 2013s and some of the charm of the 2016s. It all adds up to a selection of wines I recommend highly and hope you’ll enjoy them over many years to come.
Sarah Knowles MW
Buyer for Italy
Place your order by midday on Tuesday 7th February
The nebbiolo grape, like pinot noir, has an uncanny ability to reflect where it is grown, particularly in vintages without extreme weather. 2019 in Barolo is one such vintage, making the wines a great opportunity to really taste the impact of Barolo’s complex patchwork of terroirs.
To slightly simplify matters, you could consider Barolo (which is shaped a little like an anatomical heart) to have two distinct sides – left and right. These are defined by two major soil types. To the left, the soils are characterised by blue grey marl from the Tortonian stage. It tends to create wines that are a little more perfumed, with finer tannins and therefore often more approachable in their youth. Look out for wines from La Morra, Verduno or Barolo.
To the right-hand side, the soils are richer in clays and sands with a yellow-grey compact appearance from the Serravalian stage. These wines tend to be denser in flavour and firmer in structure, often needing a little more time to become balanced and to really show their true promise. Look out for wines from Serralunga, Monforte Alba or Castiglione Falletto.
A note about alcohol levels: we are including indicative alcohol levels for all the wines in this offer. Please note however that these are intended as a guideline and may differ once the wine is in bottle.