Barolo 2016 – the tasting notes

Snow in Verduno, Barolo on 15 November 2019

Walter spent an intensive tasting week in the snowy Langhe recently and took this picture of the alps in Verduno on 15 November.

For Walter's thoughts on the background to this stupendously distinctive vintage, see Barolo 2016 – the path to stylistic change, also published today. Alistair Cooper also provided a brief preview here.

The 110 wines described below are grouped by commune, with subgroups for individual crus within each commune. Tasting notes on 73 Barolo 2016s are followed by 37 new releases and older vintages. 

2016 Barolo

Intercommunal blends

Fratelli Alessandria 2016 Barolo

Intercommunal blend with grapes coming from Gramolere, Pisapola, Riva Ricche, Campasso, Rocche dell’Olmo and Reinane. Total skin maceration of 25 days. Aged for 32 months in large oak casks. Cask sample.
Lustrous mid ruby. Fine but really subdued. Very pure cherry fruit and racy acidity. Fine, tannic bite on the finish. Captivating. (WS)

Drink
2020
2032
17.5

Domenico Clerico 2016 Barolo

Grapes come from Ginestra, Mosconi, and a tiny quantity from Bussia. This blend is a selection of barrels that are judged more ‘round’, all other wines that are more tight go into the single-vineyard bottlings. Aged for 10 months in barrique (20% new), followed by 18 months in large oak casks.
Lustrous mid ruby. Freshness and lift on the nose and with plenty of depth. Just a touch of oak. Lush and fresh palate with a polished, grainy layer of tannins. A wine to drink gallons of. (WS)

Drink
2020
2030
17.5

Bartolo Mascarello 2016 Barolo

Bottled in August 2019.
Lustrous mid ruby. Great purity, lift and focus with cherry and raspberry fruit. Great freshness. Compact raspberry fruit with energetic, long tannins and a build-up of perfumed red fruit on the finish. (WS)

14.5%
Drink
2024
2028
18

Massolino 2016 Barolo

Grapes come from their Serralunga d’Alba holdings, as well as from Parussi in Castiglione Falletto. Total maceration time around 18 days.
Beautiful lustrous ruby. Lifted and concentrated and with a touch of oak, but subtly done and with a hint of cumin. Generous yet fresh and tightly wound with chewy tannins, balanced by integrated, fresh acidity. Can be approached now, but has plenty of potential. Should be VGV. (WS)

14.5%
Drink
2020
2028
17 ++

Oddero 2016 Barolo

From the Bricco Chiesa and Capalot vineyards, both in La Morra, and Fiasco in Castiglione Falletto. Total skin maceration of 27 days. Grapes from the different vineyards are fermented and aged separately, the first year in Stockinger casks of Austrian oak, after which the wines are blended together and aged another year in large oak barrel, followed by six years in concrete. ‘We prefer to blend the wines when they have aged a little’.
Mid ruby with orange tinges. A perfect amalgam of perfumed, sweet cherry and herb liqueur with saline hints and a touch of oak, but more like an afterthought than anything else. Succulent cherry, which ends on sour-cherry notes. Firm, finely grained bitter-sweet tannins. Concentrated and tightly knit and enormously long. (WS)

Drink
2020
2028
17

E Pira di Chiara Boschis, Via Nuova 2016 Barolo

Lustrous mid ruby. Sleek oak and red-fruit nose. Super-attractive, lively and yet full, sweet, red fruit underlined by elegant oak notes. The firm, grainy tannins remind me of Serralunga d’Alba (but this is an intercommunal blend of Liste, Terlo, Baudana, Gabutti, Ravera di Monforte and Mosconi). Succulent finish with just a touch of oak. (WS)

14.5%
Drink
2020
2030
17.5

Réva 2016 Barolo

Grapes come from Monrobiolo di Bussia (80%), the balance from Grinzane, Ravera and Lazzarito. Spontaneous fermentation, and a month on the skins with cappello sommerso, a heavy wooden grid that keeps the skins submerged in the wine.
Lustrous mid ruby. Full nose of red fruit with sweet spicy notes and a hint of raw meat and smoke. With aeration becomes more complex, but already quite approachable. Truly sappy fruit with a good dose of supple acidity, making for a mouth-watering finish. Rich tannic structure on a long finish. Muscular. (WS)

Drink
2020
2028
17 +

Luciano Sandrone, Le Vigne 2016 Barolo

Lustrous mid ruby. Minerally nose with notes of iron and beautiful depth of fruit and super-elegant oak. Lots of finesse. Serious, beautifully grafted, long tannins that never dominate the juicy fruit. Nervy acidity and plenty of fresh fruit on the finish. (WS)

Drink
2022
2036
18

Roddi

Bricco Ambrogio

Gian Luca Colombo, NICBA 2016 Barolo

Roddi. NICBA stands for ‘name in code Bricco Ambrogio’, the vineyard the grapes came from. Fermented in stainless steel and with total time on the skins of a month. Only one cask of 700 litres and one barrique made.
Mid to deep ruby. Deep, concentrated and a little rich on the nose – the richness reminding me a little of La Morra. Plenty of depth and concentration. On the palate the ripe fruit is pulled up quickly by energetic acidity. Bags of gravelly tannins and succulent acidity and bright red fruit. Very long and juicy. (WS)

Drink
2022
2032
17.5

Mario Olivero, Bricco Ambrogio 2016 Barolo

Roddi. Total skin maceration time of two weeks. Aged for 20 months in tonneaux of which a tiny percentage was new.
Mid ruby with orange tinge. A little closed but with mineral, liquorice notes and a core of pure savoury cherry and just a touch of oak. Lots of firm chewy tannins underneath, becoming even firmer on the finish, but without overwhelming the fruit. Long, concentrated and great chew and suppleness on the finish. (WS)

14.5%
Drink
2022
2032
17

Grinzane Cavour

Castello

Terre del Barolo, Arnaldo Rivera Castello 2016 Barolo

Grinzane Cavour. Lustrous ruby. Inviting nose of sweet, red fruit with savoury, malty hints and a hint of pet shop, but much more attractive than it sounds. Supple and plentiful red fruit that is almost a little racy on the attack. Persistent powdery, coating tannins add tactile drama. (WS)

Drink
2020
2028
17 +

Verduno

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