Birthdays are like wine…the more you have, the less you remember.

October is my favorite month and not just because it’s my b-day. Since I started my wine career 7 years ago (in October), I often visit wine country in autumn, an exciting time during the harvest (vendemmia in Italian). In October for the 1st anniversary of my wine job, I visited Alba, a beautiful wine-centric town in Piedmont (Piemonte).

After appointments with producers in the Langhe region, I was hooked on the king and queen of Piemonte – Barolo and Barbaresco. Barbaresco (the queen) has a reputation for a slightly softer, more approachable style of Nebbiolo than Barolo (the king).

Book by Kerin O’Keefe

The growing season and harvest for 2016 was exceptional for many wine regions in Italy. Chiantis, Super Tuscans and Brunelli (not yet released) in 2016 are better than 2015, also a very good vintage. In Piemonte, 2016 Barolo is as good as 2010 and 2006 (vintage chart), considered the best vintages in this century.

That said, it’s time to buy 2016 Barolo and I couldn’t resist a new entry in the store from Domenic Clerico. Clerico was one of the ‘Barolo boys’ in 1980’s (Barolo Boys movie), a group of Piedmontese winemakers experimenting with modern techniques to make Barolo. Traditional style winemaking of Baroli produces very tannic wines not approachable for 12-15 years or more. Modern style Baroli is more approachable at a younger age, typically 8-10 years.

French oak and Botti images from wineops.com

Using new French oak barrels (smaller and newer than botti), and reducing fermentation time (with less exposure to skins) will produce more fruit flavors and less austere tannins, a modern style Barolo.

Clerico Barolo       2016

DOMENICO BAROLO 2016, this young Barolo still has plenty of tannins after decanting for 3 hours. Given time in cellar (like most Barolo) it will improve as tannins soften.

Antonio Galloni 92 rating says “The 2016 Barolo is bright, fresh and full of life. Medium in body and perfumed, the straight Barolo will give readers a good idea of the direction the estate is headed in. Light on its feet and nuanced, with good energy, the 2016 is quite attractive. But more than that, it points to a very bright future here.

Cheers, Bob the WineGuy
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