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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.


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