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Latest 2017 Barolo and Barbaresco releases from Pio Cesare

The latest 2017 Barolo and Barbaresco releases from Pio Cesare are very poignant, in that Pio Boffa, the company's much-liked and admired leader since the 1970s, passed away this April. Boffa described himself as being part-way between the traditionalists and the modernists in Piemonte, blending classic winemaking (for instance, ageing in large oak 'botti' or vats) with ageing in barriques.  Partly as a consequence of this, Pio Cesare's wines are an excellent introduction to the region.  

The 2017 vintage was characterised by high summer temperatures and initially low rainfall, but the wines now being released are full of surprises.  Several factors have made this a great vintage for Barolo and Barbaresco, a key one being that Nebbiolo vines have very long root systems, which were able to access water reserves in the subsoils. 

Later in the summer, the high temperatures were balanced by cooler nights.  Vines love these diurnal temperature variations, which slow down the physiological ripening process (sugars, acidity etc) and allow for complex phenolic (flavour and aroma) ripeness to develop.  There was also some very welcome rainfall at the end of the summer, saving the vintage from over-concentration.

The combination of a warm summer with cooler nights has produced powerful, concentrated but classic wines, with lots of freshness and elegance.  James Suckling scores the 2017s as high as 98 points (for the Barolo 'Ornato'), describing it as 'truly impressive' and 'incredible'.  All three wines offered will need at least two years in your cellar, after which they should continue to develop for several decades.  

Availability of the single-vineyard wines is very limited, please enquire immediately if you would like to order.

Offered in bond, available August 2021.

 

 

Pio Cesare, Piemonte

Producer Profile

Pio Cesare, Piemonte

One of the leading producers in Piemonte, Pio Cesare was established in 1881 and celebrates its 140th anniversary this year.  Sadly, the charming and brilliant Pio Boffa, who led the company since the 1970s, passed away in April 2021 at 66.  Pio was a great communicator for both his own family business and for Piemonte in general.  He described himself as being part-way between the modernist and traditionalist schools of winemaking in Barolo and Barbaresco (a divide that has defined winemaking styles in the region since the 1970s).

Pio Cesare (re pronunciation, think Latin 'Caesar') own 70 hectares of vines across key areas of Piemonte, with the heart of their vineyards in Barolo and Barbaresco.  Pio Boffa was always a proponent of the traditional practice of blending, but in 1985 he introduced the single-vineyard Barolo 'Ornato' from vines in Serrlunga d'Alba.  This was followed by the Barbaresco 'Il Bricco' vineyard and, in 2014, the Barolo 'Mosconi', from a vineyard in Monforte d'Alba, the most prestigious zone in Barolo.

The wines are aged in 18th-century cellars beneath the town of Alba, with the foundations of the town's Roman walls intruding into the cellars at various points.  Pio Boffa's winemaking style, blending modernism and traditionalism, makes these wines a brilliant introduction to those new to the region. 

The footage from the 2020 harvest below gives a great sense of the landscape and cellars at Pio Cesare.  There is also a touching last glimpse of Pio Boffa at the very end, with his daughter Frederica and nephew, Cesare, who have taken on the running of the estate.

 

RED 2017 Pio Cesare - Barbaresco Il Bricco 75cl £390 per case of 6 Pio Cesare
2017 / / 75cl
£390 per case of 6
IB
Tasting Notes"With fruit from the village of Treiso, the Pio Cesare 2017 Barbaresco Il Bricco shows a delicate and fine embroidery of small berry fruit, wild blueberry, blue flower, smoky ash and licorice. There is a tarry note in this vintage that is spurred on, I am sure, by the heat and drought of the summer season. Despite that extreme weather, the wine is gracefully contained and never too ripe or heavy. Drink 2023 - 2038. 93 points" Monica Larner, RobertParker.com------"Dried strawberries, ash, tar and dried flowers, such as roses, on the nose. Full-bodied and very tannic with powerful tannins and a savory finish. It’s spicy and intense at the end. A very structured red. Imposing tannins. Drink in 2024. 97 points" jamessuckling.com
RED 2017 Pio Cesare - Barolo 75cl £234 per case of 6 Pio Cesare
2017 / / 75cl
£234 per case of 6
IB
Tasting Notes"This year's releases are poignant as Pio Boffa recently passed away. This is the estate's classic Barolo, produced with Nebbiolo grapes located in the top plots across different communes since 1881. The wine is floral, focused on violet and rose, with a blood orange touch, yet a darker fruit and chocolatey flavour. Firm, extracted and rugged at present, with a good but austere finish, it will age gracefully. Drinking Window 2021 - 2040. 93 points" Aldo Fiordelli, Decanter Magazine------"This is the wine to buy in commemoration of the 140th anniversary (1881-2021) of the historic house of Pio Cesare. The most traditional and classic of the wines in this important portfolio, the 2017 Barolo is packaged in a retro label that speaks to all the grandeur of this important Italian wine appellation. The wine imparts delicate and fine tones of wild fruit, cassis, tar, smoke and crushed rose. The wine is buttoned up and straitlaced, especially now in its youth. Drink 2024 - 2040. 94+ points" Monica Larner, RobertParker.com------"Plenty of blackberry and black cherry on the nose with violet and lavender undertones. Full-bodied with powerful tannins that flow across the palate. Ever enveloping and imposing, yet polished and impressive. Drink after 2024. 95 points" jamessuckling.com

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