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Luigi Pira Barolo Marenca 1999

Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
  • RP94
  • WS90
0% ABV
  • WS92
  • WS93
  • RP94
  • RP94
  • RP96
  • RP95
  • WS94
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0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Intense garnet red color. The nose is fresh, with complex perfumes that range from wild berries to vanilla, chocolate and aromatic herbs. On the palate it is very vigorous, rich in extracts, with lively and pleasant tannins that are rounded through a skilful use of wood. A powerful, tantalizing wine with a great ageing potential.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Marenca, far less known, is not one whit inferior to Vigna Rionda as a vineyard, and the 1999 Barolo Marenca is simply superlative. Explosively sweet and ripe with a noseful of plum and wild cherry fruit, raisins, chocolate, and licorice, it cascades over the palate with its lush dense fruit, tar, minerals, mocha, and melted asphalt flavors. Packed, potent, caressing, and sumptuous, Serralunga all the way, it defines modern-style Barolo in the greatest part of the zone.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Plenty of plum and Indian spice character with a hint of sandalwood. Medium-bodied, with well-integrated tannins and a chewy finish. Very refined.
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Luigi Pira

Luigi Pira

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Luigi Pira, Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
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"One of Piedmont’s new superstars… these are wines of extraordinary complexity and breathtaking richness. The spectacular offerings from Pira ’s vineyards in and around Serralunga d’Alba are among the more riveting examples." (Parker)

Established in the early 1950s, at first the estate only produced and sold grapes. Later on, wine was produced and sold in bulk to local negociants. Only a few years ago the estate started ageing and bottling its own wines. Giampaolo Pira recently took the reins at his family’s eight-hectare estate, overseeing the cellars while brother Romolo and father Luigi maintain the vineyards. Pira’s holdings are in the three most prestigious crus in the Serralunga commune: "Margheria," "Marenca," and "Rionda."

The center of the production of the world’s most exclusive and age-worthy red wines made from Nebbiolo, the Barolo region includes five core townships: La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, Serralunga d’Alba, Castiglione Falletto and the Barolo village itself, as well as a few outlying villages. The landscape of Barolo, characterized by prominent and castle-topped hilltops, is one full of history and romance of the Nebbiolo grape. Its wines, with the signature “tar and roses” aromas, have a deceptively light garnet color but full presence on the palate and plenty of tannins and acidity. In a well-made Barolo, one can expect to find complexity and good evolution with notes of, for example, strawberry, cherry, plum, leather, truffle, anise, fresh and dried herbs, tobacco and violets.

There are two predominant soil types here, which distinguish Barolo from the lesser surrounding areas. Compact and fertile Tortonian sandy marls define the vineyards farthest west and at higher elevations. Typically the Barolo wines coming from this side, from La Morra and Barolo, can be approachable relatively early on in their evolution and represent the “feminine” side of Barolo, often closer in style to Barbaresco with elegant perfume and fresh fruit.

On the eastern side of the region, Helvetian soils of compressed sandstone and chalks are less fertile, producing wines with intense body, power and structured tannins. This more “masculine” style comes from Monforte d’Alba and Serralunga d’Alba. The township of Castiglione Falletto covers a spine with both soils types.

The best Barolo wines need 10-15 years before they are ready to drink, and can further age for several decades.

Nebbiolo

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Responsible for some of the most elegant and age-worthy wines in the world, Nebbiolo, named for the ubiquitous autumnal fog (called nebbia in Italian), is the star variety of northern Italy’s Piedmont region. Grown throughout the area as well as in the neighboring Valle d’Aosta and Valtellina, it reaches its highest potential in the Piemontese villages of Barolo and Barbaresco. This finicky grape and needs a very particular soil type and climate in order to thrive. Outside of Italy, growers are still very much in the experimentation stage but some success has been achieved in parts of California. Tiny amounts are produced in Washington, Virginia, Mexico and Australia.

In the Glass

Nebbiolo at its best is an elegant variety with velveteen tannins, mouthwatering acidity and a captivating perfume. Common characteristcs of a well-made Nebbiolo can include roses, violets, licorice, sandalwood, spicebox, smoke, potpourri, black plum, red cherry and orange peel. Light brick in color, Nebbiolo is a more powerful wine than one might expect, and its firm tannins typically need time to mellow.

Perfect Pairings

Nebbiolo’s love affair with food starts in Piedmont, which is home to the Slow Food movement and some of Italy’s best cuisine. The region is famous for its white truffles, wild boar ragu and tajarin pasta, all perfect companions to Nebbiolo.

Sommelier Secret

If you can’t afford to drink Barolo and Barbaresco every night, try the more wallet-friendly, earlier-drinking Langhe Nebbiolo or Nebbiolo d'Alba. Also search out the fine offerings of the nearby Roero region. North of the Langhe and Roero, find earthy and rustic versions of the variety (known here as “Spanna”) in Ghemme and Gattinara.

SSRMARENCA_1999 Item# 127751