(English) Barolo: The 2019s and Other New and Recent Releases

(English) The 2019 Barolos are the denomination’s best since 2016, and are for the most part ageworthy and highly successful wines. Ian D’Agata tells us about them, careful to also describe wines of many less well-known but similarly excellent, up/and/coming estates.
by Ian D’Agata

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Barolo has been on a roll of late, withstanding the mumblings and rumblings about the disappointing 2017 and difficult 2018 wines mostly because 2019 has always been said to be a stellar vintage. And following on its heels are the highly promising wines of 2020, 2021 and 2022, so you understand why it’s happy times ahead for Barolo’s wineries. Made with 100% Nebbiolo and/or Nebbiolo Rosé, it’s in vintages like 2019 that many believe these two great grape varieties express the best that Barolo has to offer, with wines that offer: uncommon ageworthiness; polished if youthfully chewy tannins (that will require patience and aging the wines accordingly in appropriate cellars); plenty of red fruit, sweet spice and piercing floral aromas and flavours ranging from the crisp to the sultry; outstanding translation of site-specific characteristics in the glass (Nebbiolo is one of the world’s grapes that, through its wines, conveys terroir like very few others), all of which are more or less AWOL in the Barolos of hot years like 2003 and 2017. In ultimate analysis, there’s plenty to like in the 2019 Barolos that went on sale this year; I’d say that the best way to think about them is as an ideal mix of power and lift, but you have to be willing to accept a decisive tannic edge in the young vines, and edge that will require time to smoothen out fully. In many ways, they are wines that resemble the 2016s, though they are generally not as good as the Barolos of that year, despite what locals might be eager to tell you or that you might read somewhere else. The caveats to keep in mind relative to 2019’s less successful Barolos is a rather fruit-challenged (not all Nebbiolo grapes reached full physiologic maturity in 2019), hard-edged personality and tannins that are too assertive when not downright gritty, a sensation heightened by high acidity levels typical of the year.  In fact, more or less all the producers I spoke with before the 2019s were released showed concern that tannins in their wines might turn out to be excessive, given generally small grapes with thick skins, and that  hard, unyielding wines would ensue. Many producers then have gone to say that the wines “transformed in the cellar”, which is undoubtedly true in some  cases; but it is just as true that you need to beware, because in many case that just hasn’t happened, and likely won’t. There are undoubtedly many very good to great Barolos in the 2019 vintage, but 2019 is not the unabashed success all us Barolo fans were hoping for. Any tasting of large numbers of 2019 Barolos will confirm that many wines are, and will, remain charmless. So in order to do well with your 2019 Barolo wine buying, which is certainly very possible given the many very good to outstanding wines available, just buy from merchants you really know well and trust and listen to/read the few credible, knowledgeable wine writers out there.

Recent vintages in Barolo

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Ian D'Agata

赏源葡萄酒评论 Terroir Sense Wine Review主编
赏源风土研究院Terroir Sense Academy院长
国际风土协会副主席
知味 TasteSpirit 首席科学家

伊安·达加塔在葡萄酒领域耕耘超过30年,在葡萄酒品评、葡萄酒科研写作和葡萄酒教育等方面,都取得了杰出的成果,在葡萄酒行业和葡萄酒爱好者中,享有世界性声望。作为享誉国际的葡萄酒作家,他最近的两本著作《意大利原生葡萄品种》《意大利原生葡萄品种风土》被公认为意大利葡萄酒领域的权威著作;前者荣获2015年Louis Roederer国际葡萄酒作家大奖赛“年度最佳书籍奖”,他是唯一获此殊荣的意大利葡萄酒作家,并入选《洛杉矶时报》、《金融时报》、《纽约时报》评选的“年度葡萄酒书籍”榜单;后者被《纽约时报》和美国的Food & Wine杂志提名为年度最佳葡萄酒书籍。

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  • Member Peter Bernstein here. I cannot read the Barolo 2019 report it keeps asking me to login and so I do it and when I try to read I’m logged out by the site. I can read everything else but every time I open THAT article it throws me out!
    Fix please

    • Hi, we have done some procedures to fix the tech issue. And we have also update the cache of the website. It is possible for you also to try press “Ctrl + F5” when open the page to reset the cache of our website. See if the problem has been solved. If no then please let me know then I will ask the tech about it again.

Ian D'Agata