Barolo 2015 First Impressions

My first proper look at the 2015s from Barolo yesterday at an organised Anteprima tasting for the trade.

A collection of very good producers, a number of which were tank samples.

The list included Boasso, Boglietti, Brezza, Burlotto, Castello di Verduno, Cavallotto, Ciabot Berton, Luigi Einaudi, Monchiero, Paolo Conterno, Rivetto, Rocche Costamagna, Schiavenza, Tenuta Cucco and Voerzio Martini (the new name for the Gianni Voerzio podere).

This is certainly a top vintage, which shows more immediate concentration of fruit than the 2010s did at this stage. More profound than 2012s, and better and more consistency than 2013s which were also very good in most places. The colours are quite deep in some instances, regardless of winemaking. Aromas are quite well developed, and there is no want for concentration. Some of the top crus were not singing as well as the 2nd tier ones, which is fine and quite normal, as you would expect that the very top wines will be a little locked up at this early stage. As with most good vintages, there is very good definition between the crus and communes. The Crus from Serralunga are showing that beautiful coffee liqueur note, with Verduno having its typical elegance. A few wines to taste from La Morra, Boglietti and Rocche Costamagna, both performed very well. Rocche dell' Annunziata has its hallmark spiciness and exotic notes. The Crus of Monforte I always find the most difficult to assess when young - there was the new 2015 Bussia from Einaudi, but at this stage I still prefer their Costa Grimaldi from the menzione of Terlo, and Paolo Conterno's two wines from Ginestra both showing impressive control of power. Brezza's crus from Barolo showed well but with their usual understatement. A whisper rather than a shout.

The producers have been very enthusiastic about this vintage, and I am too, but I just wonder if it will ultimately prove better than 2010, for me. Only time will tell. And then there is another great vintage hot on its heels. The 2016 is also looking superb although I only had one sample back in January last year from tank.

I also got to taste some 2014 Brunello from some very good producers. This is not the disaster vintage that we have been led to believe. There are one or two lighter wines as you would expect, but the wines are complete. From what I tasted Altesino and Canalicchio di Sopra stood out.
 
I haven't tasted Barolo from 2015 but the general advance whisper seems to have been that it was a rather warm vintage so perhaps depends if one is after a riper style.
 
Warm but no drought. No problem with acidity either. The Baroli can handle hot vintages a lot better now. They have learned more and more with each hot one since 1997.
I have only tasted a few 15s at Ultravino’s last tasting. Many of the wines on show were older, but the 15s did have sufficient fresh acidity. I was surprised, because everyone kept telling me the same thing as Jeremy. However, as Jeremy was at that tasting (IIRC), I wonder whether it is a question of perceptions?
 
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