MCF Rare Wine
Barolo 2017 - Vajra, Baudana, Trediberri and Elio Grasso
Here we are again, with a set of perfectly proper and amazingly delicious wines from a vintage that has the unfortunate luck of following a 'hype' vintage.
However, despite some difficulties along the way, 2017 in Barolo is a year that has produced many, many lovely wines, and all of the wines below are just that...lovely...
Like a vintage such as 2015, the wines are wonderfully approachable. Also like 2015 (or 2011 or 1990, etc.) these are all wines that, despite their friendly dispositions, will also age beautifully, and for quite a long time at that.
What makes these 2017s so unique, though, is that, despite the vintage being pegged as a 'hot' vintage (there certainly was a lot of hot days and nights), the end result is something totally different that what you're probably expecting - these are supple, generous wines, yes, but, ultimately, it's their sublime sense of brightness and elegance that defines them. It's a testament not only to their respective winemaker's skill, but also to the outright quality of their sites.
And, of course, a great (perhaps greatest, I might argue) grape like Nebbiolo has the ability to, if given the proper time, always express something profound.
Anyway, without further ado...the wines of Vajra, Luigi Baudana, Trediberri and Elio Grasso.
Of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
Vajra's 2017s are gorgeous, and, for me, they highlight perfectly that 'hard to broad brush' nature of 2017. On the whole, they're precise, elegant, and aromatically lifted, while being anchored by tightly wound tannins. They're all distinctly 'red' in terms of the fruit spectrum, something that, again, is not typically thought of from the 'warm' year. As always, the Ravera expresses the broader, denser side (within this elegant/red spectrum, of course) while the flagship Bricco delle Viole, as it always does, lands on the firm, focused and classic end of things.
Barolo Bricco delle Viole 2017
Barolo Ravera 2017
One cannot mention Vajra these days without, in turn, mentioning the wines of the Luigi Baudana estate. Despite the fact that the Baudana name is truly historic in Serralunga (there is both a hamlet and famous vineyard bearing the Baudana name), Luigi and Fiorina Baudana retired with no heirs to their tiny, garagiste operation. Having developed a sincere bond over the years, they had decided that the Vajra family should take control, but it was the Vajras who instead proposed that they become 'guardians' of the Baudana history, rather than simply taking over their vineyards. These wines are still made in the tiny old Baudana cantina, and their wonderful purity is such a joy to experience. The Barolo Baudana, with its bright, flowery aromatics, silky red fruits and deceptively firm backbone is a wonderful counter to the darker, richer, heftier, though equally approachable Barolo Cerretta. These 2017s are just delightful.
Barolo Baudana 2017
Barolo Cerretta 2017
Trediberri continues to gain notoriety both from the promise that this tiny, young winery has been showing with their wonderfully expressive and well-made wines and for the reputation their young co-proprietor Nicola Oberto has for his outsized personality. A customer of mine, I'll just call him K (who's one of those customers that knows more about Barolo than anyone I've met, in or out of the business), made a great point the other week when we were discussing Trediberri - that being how exciting it was to see a new winery that's committed to a traditional style of winemaking, that has holdings in the famous Rocche dell'Annunziata cru. I couldn't agree more. Trediberri's '17s are vibrant, expressive, textured and, with such overall quality, hard to ignore!
Barolo Rocche dell'Annunziata 2017
Put simply, Elio Grasso probably did about about as well as anyone when it came to managing the difficulties of the 2017 vintage, and the wines themselves are all the proof you'll need. I'd venture to say that even the most seasoned Barolo-phile, if tasting the wines blindly, would not peg them as coming from a 'challenging' year, much less a 'hot' one. The Barolo Gavarini Chiniera, with its bright, lively and pristine aromatic elegance almost drinks more like a 2016, while the darker, richer, savory tinged Ginestra Casa Matè balances its denser elements with a irony-y/mineral backbone of subtly strapping tannins. I can’t wait to see how both of these turn out!
Barolo Gavarini Chiniera 2017
Barolo Ginestra Casa Matè 2017
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MCF Rare Wine, Ltd