Wine Talk

Snooth User: Richard Foxall

2013 Barolos are hitting the market, anyone buying?

Posted by Richard Foxall, Apr 14.

You can buy 2015 California Cabernet if you look around, I'm sure.  Heck, maybe even 2016.  But the Italians make you wait a little longer--five years for Brunello, and four, more or less, for Barolo.  So that means the 2013 Barolos are starting to hit the market, and it's a highly anticipated vintage.  2014 suffered from hail, so it's going to be a light year with limited quantities.  Better stock up now on 2013, a vintage widely lauded by Galloni, Jancis Robinson, and a host of others.  (WE only gives it the same score as 2009, making them a bit of an outlier.)  GdP had good things to say about it as well.

I'm contemplating some purchases depending on the pricing--probably a total of two or two and a half cases worth.  Here are some of my favorite crus and the wines I'll be looking at:

Bussia:  This a huge "cru" so there's lots of choices, but I'm a big fan of Giacomo Fenocchio's wines from this one.  If they are too pricey, I'll look at the Ghisolfi bottling--the "Visette" gets new wood, but the straight Bussia does not and represents a great value. I might buy some of it and the Fenocchio to average the price out a bit. 

Cascina Francia is a monopole, and, while I'll put Giacomo Conterno on my wish list, it's unlikely I can get anywhere close to that.  But Ferdinando Principiano owns a tongue of Boscareto that lies right below Francia.  If I can find that at something less than $65, I'll give it some thought.

Monprivato is one of the few wines I think is worth three figures; again, it's a monopole and I would be happy to support Mauro Mascarello's perfectionism at G. Mascarello, but I'm probably just priced out.  Luckily, just slightly downslope from it is Fiasco--and all the wines from Fiasco and Monprivato are part of the farm/hamlet of Garballeto Superiore, sharing exposure. So I'll probably go in on a couple bottles of Brovia's Garblet Sue (dialect for the hamlet) which comes from the Fiasco (or Bric del Fiasc) vineyard.  Brovia used to own a piece of Monprivato--they were the last to sell it to Mascarello, apparently. The Garblet Sue is a worthy alternative and about half the price (or less) the Mascarello Monprivato.

I love Burlotto's Monvigliero, but it's selling out before I can buy it lately, and it's kind of pricey, although nothing like the G. Conternos and Mascarellos. (Update form JD that it's now about $250!) I found another maker, Brangero, that had some distribution in the US.  Very new barolo maker--they started buying land and grapes maybe a decade ago.  That will be my fall back. They are a little close to modern for my preference, so I'll work hard to get the Burlotto if I can. 

I'd like to round things out with a Cannubi, maybe from Fratelli Serio e Battista Borgogno, since I had such great success with their 2006.  But Serio died last year, and their distribution was always pretty tight.  And a Ravera from Cogno would be nice, but those are getting pricey and are gaining a lot of great press, making them hard to acquire. 

I'll look to fill in with some commune-level things, from Cascina Luisin, Rivetto and others that I've recently been looking at.  The Normale from Burlotto is also exceptional. 

Then there's Barbaresco.  The wines were released last year, so I'll look for closeouts.  If I can't afford Oddero's Gallina bottling (usually a stunner), Ugo Lecquio has that cru covered.  I'll probably look for a Rio Sordo, but Cascina delle Rose has gotten hard to find and a bit pricey.  Not sure there are any cheaper alternatives to their Tre Stelle.  Looking back at GdP's notes and my own recollection, the answer might be to just find their regular Nebbiolo bottling and buy a ton of that.  Of course, the Riservas from the Produttori will get released as well, although I might just view that as a buying opportunity when they close out the regular Produttori. I'll look for the Barale Serraboella, too, which was a good deal in the 2011 vintage.

Anyone else looking to buy Piemontese wines soon?  Anyone else interested in going in on some purchases?


Reply by JonDerry, Apr 14.

Burlotto makes a Cannubi, as does Giacomo Fenocchio. Then there's Pira.

Then there's Rocche Del Annunziata and that good, reasonably priced producer I emailed you about last year. Just noticed the 2012 go on sale for about $36.

Combine some of the best of both vineyards and you basically have Bartolo Mascarello, with Rue and San Lorenzo blended in.

In case anyone's interested, I have the exact Bartolo Mascarello breakdown from Maria Theresa.

Bartolo Mascarello

1.2 Rocche Del Annunciada
1.0 Cannubi (Young Vines, 1989)
5M square meters Rue
3M San Lorenzo (old vine until 2015)

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