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Pio Cesare Barolo Ornato 2004

Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
  • WS96
  • RP94
14% ABV
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  • JS98
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  • RP93
  • JS96
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  • RP94
  • JS96
  • RP93
  • WS92
  • RP93
  • WS92
  • JS97
  • RP95
  • WE94
  • WS93
  • WE94
  • JS93
  • WS93
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  • RP92
  • WS94
  • RP92
  • WS95
  • RP94
  • TP93
  • WE90
  • WS95
  • RP93
  • W&S90
  • WS95
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14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

"Ornato" is the name of the estate vineyard owned by the Pio family in Serralunga d'Alba. "Ornato" is more modern in style than Pio Cesare's traditional Barolo, but still true to its roots. The characteristics of the soil, the microclimate and favourable exposure, allows the grapes to become extremely rich. Fermentation at a slightly higher temperature, together with skin maceration for 12 days, produces a wine with great soft tannins. The first Barolo "Ornato" was produced in 1985. Since then, it has only been produced in outstanding years.

Barolo Ornato has a deep crimson red color and its nose exhibis intense fruit scents. On the palate, the tannins are fat and found, yet also mellow and elegant. Concentrated flavors of ripe fruit previal with subtle hints of tobacco, chocolate and pepper, culminating in a rich finish.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 96
Wine Spectator
Very pretty and focused, with lots of subtle aromas, from black cherry to freshly cut flowers. Full-bodied and powerful, with chewy tannins and a long, rich finish. All to come here. Best after 2011. 1,000 cases made.
RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2004 Barolo Ornato is the most distinguished Ornato yet. This Barolo remains very primary and backward, yet there is a haunting inner perfume that occasionally makes an appearance here and that augurs very well for the wine’s future. The tannins are fine but also beautifully balanced by the wine's massive fruit. A recent tasting of Ornatos including the wines from the 1990s shows that the current lower levels of toast in the barrels is allowing more vintage and vineyard character to emerge in this wine, something that is a huge stride in the right direction. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2034.
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Pio Cesare

Pio Cesare

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Pio Cesare, Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
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Pio Cesare has been producing wine for more than 100 years and through generations. The tradition began in 1881, when Pio Cesare started gathering grapes in his vineyards and purchasing those of some selected and reliable farmers in the hills of Barolo and Barbaresco districts.

At Pio Cesare, there has always been a conviction that great wine can come only from the finest grapes and the winery's output has always been limited through adherence to the highest standards. Pio Cesare limits its production by using only the most mature and healthy grapes. The ripening of the grapes is carefully monitored and the harvest is rigidly controlled with each grape selected by hand.

Today, the estate is managed by Pio Boffa, great-grandson of Pio Cesare. Under his stewardship, the wines of Pio Cesare have become famous throughout the world. Great strides have been made in quality, and single vineyard offerings have dazzled the wine press.

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.

JHAORNATO_2004 Item# 96100