Pio Cesare Barolo Ornato 2016
This wine has great structure and concentration, with ripe fruit, soft tannins and tobacco. May be enjoyed upon release, but will reward time in the cellar.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The blue fruit and freshness are impressive here. At the same time, there’s richness and focus with ripe fruit. Yet, it remains cool and bright. Superb center palate with great fruit and depth, but compact and focused. Needs three or four years to come together.
With fruit from Serralunga d'Alba, the Pio Cesare 2016 Barolo Ornato offers a stunning presentation in this classic vintage. The bouquet shows small berry fruits and cassis, all framed by crushed stone, forest floor, blue flower and candied orange skin. There is a dusty mineral note to this wine as well, with terrific intensity on both the nose and the palate. The Ornato kicks in with finely integrated tannins and acidity that holds all those fruit flavors high and tall. What we have here is a standout Barolo that is staunchly vertical, linear and upfront.
This fine site in Serralunga is elevated at 380 metres, which may explain the wine's finesse. Very ripe sour cherries dominate the nose, which is perfumed and lifted, with a touch of vanilla beneath the soaring fruit. It's taut and sleek, with high acidity but no greenness. The tannins are well integrated, so the texture is polished. It's still tight and undoubtedly complex, with hints of tobacco and coffee. The balance is impeccable and this will go the distance. Although it may be accessible young, this will develop more nuances with further ageing. Long minty finish.
Aromas of rose petal, underbrush, crushed botanical herb and woodland berry mingle with a whiff of hazelnut. On the linear, precise palate, tight fine-grained tannins accompany sour cherry, blood orange, licorice and coffee bean.
This is refined and taut, delivering a finely woven matrix of cherry, black currant, tar, iron and oak spice flavors. It's firm and long, with equilibrium and a lingering aftertaste. Stays vibrant and focused from beginning to end.
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 hills, is full of history and romance centered on 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.
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 Piedmontese villages of Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero. Outside of Italy, growers are still very much in the experimentation stage but some success has been achieved in parts of California. Somm Secret—If you’re new to Nebbiolo, start with a charming, wallet-friendly, early-drinking Langhe Nebbiolo or Nebbiolo d'Alba.