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March 03, 2017

Pio Cesare Barolo & Barolo Ornato 2013

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The 2013 Barolo vintage is seminal, they have a comparable structure to the 2010s, yet even more focus and concentration, others are comparing it to the 1999 vintage. Antonio Galloni has described it as “an epic vintage of classic proportions and superb pedigree.” James Suckling in his recently published report says it has Beautiful harmony, bright fruit, clarity – these are the defining traits of Barolo’s 2013 vintage, which may be its best vintage since 2008.’ It is truly a remarkable vintage, one to buy and savour!

Today we are delighted to release the Barolo that is considered by many as the best priced exceptional wine of the region, Pio Cesare. This Estate continues to offer fantastic value for money on release, displaying a strong vintage premium. Pio Cesare Barolo 2013 has been awarded a superb 95 points from Suckling, who states ‘The aromas to this are really impressive with crushed berries, dried flowers, walnuts and roses. Metamorphoses all the time.’ Today’s release price of £190 per case of six is stunning value for money: the aforementioned 2008, which is lower scoring, starts in the market at £300 per case. Pio Cesare’s single vineyard Ornato has been awarded 98 points by Suckling in 2013 and is priced today at £300 per case of six: the 97 point scoring 2008 costs £400 per case of six. Suckling describes the Ornato as ‘Extremely complex and showing the terroir of Serralunga with rose stems, wet earth, strawberries and mushrooms. Orange peel to boot.’ These prices vs. score are not to be missed.

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’. 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.

Pio Cesare Barolo Ornato 2013,  6×75 – £300 IB, 98 Points, James Suckling 

Extremely complex and showing the terroir of Serralunga with rose stems, wet earth, strawberries and mushrooms. Orange peel to boot. Full to medium body, ultra-fine tannins and bright acidity. Fascinating character that takes everything from the aromas. Light chewy on the finish. Expanding. Needs time to soften with bottle age. Better in 2021.

Pio Cesare Barolo 2013,  6×75 – £190 IB, 95 Points, James Suckling 

The aromas to this are really impressive with crushed berries, dried flowers, walnuts and roses. Metamorphoses all the time. Full to medium body, characterized by a fantastic mouthfeel of ripe and round tannins that are always polished and beautiful. Magnificent harmony and purity. Drink or hold.

To buy this wine, click here