February 6th 2020
Piedmont is about to release one of its best vintages in decades. The 2016 vintage has been lauded by every producer in the region and by the global critics. It is utterly magical and surely set to go into the history books.
Having visited the region on a number of occasions to taste the 2016s, it is easy to see why. The wines are mesmerising and ethereally beautiful. This is THE vintage to fill your cellar with, to rejoice in. It’s rare to come away from a region with such excitement and anticipation, but 2016 left no room for doubt. The quality is evident from top to bottom, the sign of a truly great vintage. All I can say is, “fill your boots!”
Why buy Barolo | Barbaresco 2016
Growing conditions in Piedmont were perfect in 2016. They had the right weather at the right time. This made for a longer harvest period than in previous vintages, with some producers picking as late as October. The grapes were healthy and enjoyed balanced ripening. They had great phenolic ripeness, wonderful natural sugars, acidity and fine tannins. Growers could take their time.
The wines have great varietal purity, the most seductive aromatics and an amazing level of fruit concentration. They have also retained vibrancy and energy, elegance and poise. Impressive structure with super-fine, sweet, ripe tannins is impeccably balanced by perfect acidity ensuring wonderful freshness. They come across like fine bone china, delicate and beautiful, but with an amazing inner power and structure. Quantity was plentiful. The only village to suffer reduced production levels was La Morra, due to hail, but this has not impacted quality.
For any lover of Burgundy there is a natural transition to this area. If you have not yet discovered it, 2016 is the vintage to do so. There are many similarities between Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo and the wines are just as captivating.
This is set to be a historic vintage, with growers recalling the great 1964, one of Barolo’s legendary years. Each Cru and village show their unique terroirs and characteristics and have great cellaring potential. I highly recommend buying what you can across the board from every producer, every commune and at any price level that suits your cellar. You will not be disappointed.
What the Growers and Critics have said
While we are still waiting for the critics’ scores for Barolo, we have already been blessed with a glimpse of Barbaresco where every wine has either achieved the perfect 100 or has flirted with it. The growers are just as excited as the critics; here are a few snippets to whet your appetite.
Luca Currado, winemaker at Vietti “2016 is the vintage we have all been waiting for. The 2016 is a vintage that I suggest to Barolo lovers not to miss.”
Aldo Vacca Produttori del Barbaresco “2016 Barbaresco is the vintage of the century.”
Giovanni Gaja is delighted, telling us joyfully that in his view 2016 is the best vintage of the last two decades, and describing his famous cuvées as “epic”.
Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate “Everything came to perfect maturity in this 2016 vintage”
Jancis Robinson MW “Piedmont produced excellent quality wine in 2016”.
Vittore of Fratelli Alessandria “2016 is brilliant. The perfect mix of the last 3 years but with an extra sparkle and magic. 2013 for elegance, 2014 for structure and 2015 for approachability. 2016 has all this and perfect balance giving it its own unique magical character”.
Antonio Galloni, Vinous “Stylistically, the 2016s remind me of the 2004s, but with more fruit and the added finesse that comes with another dozen years of experience in farming and winemaking. The best 2016s I tasted are positively dazzling. I experienced that sense of excitement and energy I always feel when in the presence of important vintages and wines.”
And finally, the quote that summed up our thoughts from our trip last year was from Roberto at Elio Grasso. When asked what he thought of the 2016 vintage, he said with a smile, “It’s a vintage that will rip your pants off!”
Offers to watch out for:
Fratelli Alessandria 2015 & 2016 Barolos
Produttori del Barbaresco 2016 Barbaresco and 2015 Riservas
Elio Grasso Barolo 2016 Crus
Vietti’s Barolo 2016s
La Spinetta 2016 Barbarescos
Bruno Giacosa’s 2016s
Wines that have already released
2016 Gaja Barbarescos Click here to buy