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Piemonte Barolo

Italië - Piemonte

BAROLO

( by Vinous )

 

JaargangScoreDrinkbaarheid
   

2016

98

Hold

 Two thousand sixteen is an extraordinary vintage full of tremendous wines. Perhaps more importantly, average quality is exceptionally high. In short, it is hard to go wrong with Barolo in 2016. Is a classic, late-ripening year characterized by a leisurely October harvest and no real shock events to speak of. The year got off to a slow start. Only April saw temperatures above the ten-year average, while the first part of the year was also quite dry. July, August and September all saw above average temperatures, but without excessive heat. What I remember most about that summer was the unusually low humidity and incredible purity of the light, which combined to give spectacular views that are typically only seen in the winter. Well-timed rains in July and August helped keep things in balance. Most importantly of all, evening temperatures began to drop in September, creating the perfect conditions for a late harvest. (10/20, AG) 
   

2015

93

Hold

 The 2015 Barolos are somewhat variable, but the best examples offer terrific depth and verve, if less site-specific character than is found in the very best years. Cool weather in September and October brought respite to vines after five months of elevated temperatures. Even though 2015 was, in general, a warm growing season, the wines have the mid-weight structure of a cool year, without the size or opulence found in truly warm vintages such as 2003, 2007 and 2011. It is a vintage in which being selective will yield the best results. (2/19, AG) 
   

2014

89

Hold

 At the top, the best 2014 Barolos are thrilling. Acidities are high and the wines pulse with energy. Sadly, yields are down 30-50%. Given the weather conditions, quality is extremely variable. Many 2014s are diluted and lacking depth, while a number of wines weren’t bottled at all. The best 2014 Barolos are mesmerizing, uber-classic wines built for the cellar. My rating of the vintage reflects the overall, average level of the wines. If looking only at the best wines, the vintage rating would be considerably higher. 
   

2013

97

Hold

 A cool growing season and late harvest yielded perfumed, aromatic Barolos with notable freshness, striking site-specific signatures and power. It is a vintage of austere, classically structured wines built for cellaring. At the top, 2013 is a thrilling Barolo vintage. An unusually severe attack of peronospora and oidium in the Spring required aggressive action in the vineyards. Because of recent rains, the land was moist and tractors could not enter the vineyards. The only way to treat the vines was by hand. Those who did saved their crop, but those who did not suffered severe losses. (2/19, AG) 
   

2012

91+

Drink or Hold

 A vintage of slender, mid-weight wines with lovely radiance and open-knit fruit. The 2012s are starting to drink well, although the best wines will continue to develop nicely in bottle. The year started off with one of the coldest and most severe winters on record. Hail was an issue in many spots during the summer, while harvest took place in mid-October, as is the norm these days. There is quite a bit of variability in 2012; some wines are medium-bodied and lifted, while others are much deeper and richer. The main signature of 2012 is freshness and forward fruit. Structurally, the wines are quite forward and delicious young, with elements of both 2005 and 1998 on display. (10/20, AG) 
   

2011

94

Drink or Hold

 The 2011 Barolos are voluptuous, racy wines with generous fruit, expressive aromatics and plenty of early appeal. The 2011 growing season got off to a very early start with a warm spring that had flowers and plants in bloom a full month ahead of schedule. It was also a very dry year with virtually no precipitation. The summer turned cooler, but dry conditions persisted. The most critical time of the year came after August 15, when temperatures soared, causing dehydration on the vine and a rapid accumulation of sugars. Still, even with all the heat, there were no spikes to speak of, just consistently higher than normal temperatures for extended periods of time. At the end of the day, though, the growing season as measured by the number of days from bloom to harvest was within the normal time frame in most places. Overall, the style of the vintage can be described as a synthesis of 2007 and 2009. As one might reasonably expect, quality is not as consistent as it is in the very best vintages. Readers will find a little bit of everything in the 2011s. Some wines are alcoholic and heavy, while others are much more refined. (10/20, AG) 
   

2010

98+

Hold

 One of the truly great modern-day vintages for Barolo. Overall, 2010 can be characterized as a vintage with cooler than normal temperatures and a mid-October harvest for Nebbiolo. Total degree days were lower than both 2009 and 2011. Growers reported fairly normal conditions during fruit set, although for some estates rain in early May delayed flowering. June saw quite a bit of rain, but towards the end of the month, after flowering was completed. July was very dry with daytime temperatures at the high end of normal. Evenings were cool throughout the summer months, creating the diurnal temperature swings that are so favorable for gradual, even ripening. October brought with it high amounts of rain. Well-drained sites handled the rain well, but some vineyards were penalized. In a cool, rainy vintage, proper balance in the vineyards and reasonable crop loads were especially critical. Most estates harvested their Nebbiolos around the middle of October, which today is regarded as a normal time frame. One of the most important vintages of the last three decades, 2010 has the potential to go down as one of the all-time great vintages in Barolo. 
   

2009

92

Drink or Hold

 A warm growing season yielded open, forward Barolos with good density. Site specific signatures are a bit attenuated, but in exchange the wines will drink well with minimal cellaring. Two thousand nine is an excellent vintage for drinking now. The best wines will continue to develop well in the cellar for years to come. (10/20, AG) 
   

2008

96

Drink or Hold

 Up until 2013 and 2014, 2008 was the latest harvest on record at a number of properties. Spring and early summer were quite damp, which required much more intervention in the vineyards than normal. The summer was moderate. A cold snap lasting about two weeks during the final phase of ripening gave the wines extraordinary aromatic lift and silkiness. This is an especially Burgundian vintage of deceptively mid-weight Barolos that seem to get better with each tasting. A bit neglected in the shadow of 2006 and 2007, 2008 remains a true insiders' vintage. 
   

2007

95

Drink or Hold

 A vintage of racy, opulent Barolos built on forward fruit and raciness in a sort of modern-day version of 1985 or 1990. The year got off to a very early start. That pace maintained throughout a warm, dry summer that saw no spikes, but a prolonged period of above average temperatures. A cool end to the growing season extended ripening and added attractive aromatics to balance the wine. When all was said and done, the length of the growing season from start to finish was within classic parameters, but everything was simply moved up in the calendar by anywhere from a few weeks to a month. 
   

2006

98

Hold

 Big, powerful Barolos that absolutely demand cellaring. Two thousand six is one of the most powerful, structured vintages of the last three decades. The winter and spring in 2006 were relatively uneventful. The summer was quite warm, which yielded super-ripe Dolcettos and Barberas. Nebbiolo is late to ripen, however, and the vines benefitted greatly from well-timed spells of rain that fell in August and September. Evening temperatures dropped during the final month of the growing season, allowing the full development of color, expressive aromatics, ripe fruit, healthy acidity and powerful structure. 
   

2005

95

Drink or Hold

 The 2005 Barolos are mid-weight wines with considerable tannic clout from the slightly underripe fruit. Many wines show dark tonalities of fruit and generally virile, masculine personalities. Temperatures during the 2005 growing season were cooler than normal and weather was unstable throughout the year. Hail was an issue in some spots. The key event of the vintage was a forecast of extended downpours in early October that forced producers to make a choice; either harvest before the rains and accept that the fruit might not be fully physiologically ripe, or wait and risk extensive losses. 
   

2004

98

Drink or Hold

 Two thousand four confirms its status as one of the all-time great vintages for Barolo. The wines have aged well, cementing 2004's status as a superb vintage. At the time, 2004 was a late ripening vintage, but since then, several other vintages, namely 2008, 2013 and 2014 have ripened around the same time or later. The long, moderate growing season and late harvest produced a set of beautifully perfumed, layered Barolos that are built on class and finesse. One of the key attributes of 2004 is that both quality and yields are high, two characteristics that don’t always go hand in hand. After the torrid 2003, during which the vines ceased vegetative development in order to conserve energy, the more temperate conditions of 2004 led plants to unleash all of their stored energy, which in turn produced a large crop. Diligent growers reported making several passes in the vineyard in an attempt to restrict yields, but there is only a certain amount man can impose on nature. A few wines have put on additional weight in bottle, but those are largely Barolos that already hinted at considerable volume when they were younger. 
   

2003

90

Drink

 The wines from this torrid vintage have aged better than expected, but few have the pedigree or stuffing to develop further. Curiously, the hard, unripe tannins that were such an issue when the 2003s were young have helped many wines retain freshness over the first decade of their lives. A relentless, blistering hot summer offered no respite to the plants during one of Europe's most freakishly hot years on record. Piedmont saw 40 days of uninterrupted blistering temperatures during he summer with no rain or respite of any kind. Just as importantly, the diurnal shifts that are so critical for the full development of color, perfume and tannins were nowhere to be found. When faced with sweltering temperatures and no rain, plants shut down in an effort to conserve energy and simply survive, which meant the skins and seeds stopped ripening. Sugars continued to mount, however, which threw off any semblance of balance. 
   

2002

75

Drink

 A cool, rainy, late ripening year. Devastating early September hail essentially wiped out production in many spots in La Morra, Barolo, Castiglione Falletto and Monforte. Only a strip of vineyards in Serralunga made it through the hail. Very little Barolo was bottled and many producers opted to blend all of their fruit into a single bottling. The only producers I know of who bottled their single vineyard Barolos in 2002 are Massolino and Giacomo Conterno, who only made Monfortino. 
   

2001

94

Drink

 A year of classic-leaning, mid-weight wines with elements of both 1999 and 2000. After much promise, the 2001s are proving to be less consistent than originally expected. Overall, 2001 is a solid vintage, but it falls short of the truly great years. I don't expect the 2001s to be especially long-lived by Barolo standards. 
   

2000

93

Drink

 A warm growing season yielded open-knit, supple Barolos. The 2000s are in an ideal spot to enjoy today. Only a handful of wines have the freshness and pedigree to age. The 2000 vintage was defined by very hot, dry weather during the entire year, leading up to the harvest, which was also carried out under warmer than usual temperatures. A hot summer is not necessarily a bad thing for Nebbiolo, which can be a tricky grape to ripen. But, as the old saying goes, it is the last month of the growing season that makes the harvest. For Nebbiolo in particular, the last month is critical as the grape needs the influence of cool nights to develop its aromatic profile and color. In a perfect world, cool September nights extend the growing season into October which also allows for full phenolic ripeness of the seeds and stems. In 2000 that was not the case. The grapes ripened quickly, especially at the end of the season, when sugars climbed rapidly. The harvest took place under calm conditions, with no rain but under high temperatures. Growers talked about harvesting in shorts and t-shirts. 
   

1999

96

Drink or Hold

 One of the truly epic vintages of the last three decades. These are firm, classically built Barolos that will continue to drink well for another 20+ years. Stylistically, the 1999s are like the 1996s, but with more fruit and mid-palate sweetness/density. This vintage was largely ignored at the outset in favor of 2000, but as Barolo lovers know, 1999 is one of the greats. The best wines will continue to drink well for decades, although many wines are approachable now. 
   

1998

93

Drink

 From the outset the 1998 Barolos have been open-knit, supple and expressive. The growing season was marked by warm temperatures, but without shocks. Stylistically, 1998 is similar to 1997, but less opulent and extreme. 
   

1997

92

Drink

 A ripe, forward, flashy vintage of unusually opulent Barolos. Most 1997s are mature or close to it. The first warm vintage since 1990 caught all but a few growers off guard. 
   

1996

96

Drink or Hold

 This cold-weather vintage captures the essence of what is considered 'classic' in Piedmont. The wines are dark in color, but translucent, perfumed and massively tannic. The finest wines have not peaked. If anything, they still have many years to go. Without question, 1996 is a modern-day classic, especially for readers who seek energy, tension and grip in Barolo. 
   

1995

88

Drink

 This vintage was highly regarded at the outset because it followed four dismal vintages. Hail was an issue in some spots and many wines remain unyielding, compact and not especially inviting. Stick with the best producers. 
   
   
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