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May 09, 2014

Pio Cesare Barolo 2010

Ornato (1)

We are delighted to be able to offer the Pio Cesare 2010 Barolos, a vintage which is shaping up to be their greatest ever! James Suckling has recently published his 2010 scores and awarded the Pio Cesare Barolo 94 points, its highest ever score and their single vineyard Barolo ‘Ornato’ 96 points. This stands to reason as the 2010 Barolo vintage is a modern day classic; Anotinio Galloni has unequivocally stated that “2010 is the greatest young Barolo vintage [he has] tasted in 18 years of visiting the region and a lifetime of buying, cellaring and drinking these wines”.

Pio Boffa of Pio Cesare states that, “2010 is a classic Piemontese vintage producing wines rich in tannin, not dissimilar to 2008, it is a vintage that will certainly impress Barolo lovers”, their Ornato 2008. While the 2009 vintage was excellent the 2010’s are richer and more structured, with incredible ageing potential, due to the long cool growing season. This allowed the grapes to ripen slowly and thereby enhancing their aromatic expression and deliver wines with exceptional purity of fruit and finesse.

Pio Cesare is recognised as a great producer and their 2010s offer some of the best value of any Barolo. We advise collectors to secure cases on release, particularly as Will Lyons of the Wall Street Journal candidly posits that the 2010 “could be the last affordable vintage of Barolo to hit the market.” We are delighted to be able to offer these wines at the pre-release price of £160 and £260 for their Barolo and Ornato respectively: we re-released the 93 scoring 2009 Barolo last year for £180 per six. Put into context their impressive 2004, which scored 93 points already costs £380.

Pio Cesare is named eponymously after the man who founded the Estate in 1881 and he has been producing classic Piedmontese wines for five generations, over which time they have secured some wonderful single vineyards and relationships with growers. Their main source of grapes used in their Barolo comes from the magnificent 40 acre vineyard in Serralunga d’Alba called Ornato. This is found in the eastern most area of Barolo and is the exclusive source of their vineyard designated Barolo ‘Ornato’ in 2009 scoring 93+ costing £300. The soil here is chalky and iron rich, while the vines average age is 35 years and taken together explains the wines’ relatively deep colour and long ageing potential.

The Cesare cellar is based in Alba and its walls date back to 50BC the time of the Roman Empire. Today the estate is run by Pio’s Great-Grandson Pio Boffa who has recently made significant investment, rebuilding and restructuring the cellars and wine facilities. A new fermentation cellar has been built with a new gravity racking area and a new barrel ageing room has been built 12 meters under the ancient Roman walls. Pio Cesare reflects a wonderful balance of traditional and modern winemaking.

In Barolo there are two waves of winemakers, the traditionalists and the modernists. The traditionalists use large Slovenian oak casks and produce wines with big tannins and beguiling aromas, requiring longer ageing, with noticeable spice aromas such as cinnamon. The modern winemakers use rotary fermenters and shorter maceration times; they also use much smaller new French oak barrique (225 litres). As a result the wines tend to have oak, vanilla and toast flavours, are more fruit forward and can be consumed younger. There are also a set of winemakers that straddle the two schools and Pio Cesare does this beautifully; fermenting in stainless steel tanks with skin contact for ten days. After drawing off, 80% of the wine rests for 20 months in medium toasted (70%) new French oak while 20% ages in hectolitres casks.

In their youth Pio Cesare’s Barolos display concentrated and focused fruit: blackcurrants, redcurrant, almonds, prunes, pepper, tar and ginger with lovely high notes of violets, rose and liquorice. With age it will develop leather, forest floor, porcini mushroom, coffee and truffle.

As price of leading Barolos continues to rise, the 2010 vintage will become legendary and as such collectors will be rewarded by buying at the beginning of the wine’s life cycle. Once released to market Pio Cesare’s case price climbs as the wine improves and supply diminishes; based on the last ten vintages one can expect a price rise of around 30-50% after four years in bottle. At £27 a bottle Pio Cesare’s 2010 Barolo offers incredible value and one will be hard pushed to find a single vineyard Barolo, such as the Ornato, scoring as high as 96 points for less than £43 a bottle.

Pio Cesare Barolo 2010 - £160, 6×75 IB or £206.76 incl duty and VAT
James Suckling, 94 points
A fascinating aromas of crushed berries, flowers and light hazelnut. Rose. Violets. Full bodied and super structured with wonderful length and powerful. So much depth to this. Incredible. Savoury.

Pio Cesare Barolo ‘Ornato’ 2010 - £260, 6×75 IB or £326.76 incl duty and VAT
James Suckling, 96 points
This is amazing character in the nose with tar and earth and floral character. Fruit too. Pure. Full body, with fantastic polished tannins and a finish that goes on for minutes. Great finish with ripe tannins and fruit. Serious wine.

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