Revered for having captivating power, thought-provoking definition, confident energy, and graceful delivery, Barolo is one of the world’s great wines. Many start around $60, and in vintages like 2016, which the Wine Spectator rates as the best in more than two decades, even entry-level Barolos can be memorable and profound. We estimated Franco Serra’s 2016 Barolo to be around $65, and we loved it at that price. When we found out we could offer it to you at $38, we seized the opportunity.
Keenly focused on tradition, the Sperone family brings four generations of experience to Franco Serra. Proudly intent on producing wines of distinction and value, the family owns and farms 75 acres of prime vineyards outside Monferrato.
Franco Serra Barolo is classically styled, detailing the vintage hallmarks with vibrancy, balance, and refinement. The wine spends a full three years in oak, and with time in the bottle, the wine perfectly balances intensity and grace.
Retails at: $42
Your Price: $38
“Aromas of plums, cherries and ash with hints of tea and toffee follow through to a full body with layered, chewy tannins and lots of chocolate and walnuts at the finish…”
VILLA LE PRATA
2013 BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO
Villa Le Prata Brunello has a distinct personality, shaped by the vintage, elevation, and Galestro clay soils. An alliance of power and elegance marks this wine embellished by their female team, led by internationally renowned winemaker Doctor Graziana Grassini. Time in the bottle has erected a magnificent bouquet, awakened harmonious energy, and enhanced the fruit’s divine purity. Ready to drink now, it’s, as Vinous writes, a “Lovely Brunello.”
Montalcino’s 2013 vintage produced “balanced Brunellos with vibrant structures,” as noted by the Wine Spectator. Villa Le Prata’s 2013 marries three single-hectare sites, ranging in elevation, exposure, climate, and soils, resulting in a well-rounded, balanced wine.
The winemaking team is meticulous in their fruit selection, and they ferment in stainless steel for 20 days, preserving the most natural essence of the fruit. This wine poised and ready to drink after gaining its elegance from 42 months in French oak, followed by 24 months in Slovenian oak, and two more years in the bottle.
VILLA LE PRATA
2013 BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO
Retails at: $65
Your Price: $49.99
“The raspberry and cherry aromas are very intense and pretty. Full body, silky and fine tannins. Juicy fruit. I love the finish. Delicious now but better in 2019.”
“Bright red. Perfumed aromas of red currant, sweet spices and blood orange, taking on an increasing floral personality with aeration. Supple and sweet, but displaying very good lift and noteworthy finesse to the fruit-driven flavors of spicy red currant and raspberry. Offers lovely purity and intense aromatics, not to mention a light touch, on the long, juicy finish. Lovely Brunello.”
The reports on the 2015 Vintage in Italy’s iconic Piedmont region make it perfectly clear that 2015 marks the greatest vintage for Barolo since 2010. James Suckling, longtime European Bureau Chief for the Wine Spectator wrote that the “full capability of the nebbiolo grape’s expressive nature is alive in Barolo 2015.”
When referencing a history of terrific wines from Azelia, Robert Parker alerted his readers that “wines from…Azelia, can hold their own with the very best in the region” and “prices are exceedingly fair considering the quality of what goes into the bottle.”
Azelia Barolo even graced the wine list at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry restaurant in Yountville California, and for years, it’s cemented itself as one of the best values for classic Barolo in our shop.
Azelia bears all of the hallmarks of the vintage; Muscular, toned, aromatically complex, and full of energy, and if you love classically styled, penetrating and focused Barolo, the value that you get with Azelia is truly hard to find.
Your Price: $45/btl
“Aromas of coal dust and tar with a distinctly savory, stony edge and nuances of dried herb-wrapped cherries. The acidity is assertive and delivers a strong burst of red plum-pit flavor, ahead of chalky, smooth tannins. Nice balance…”
“This is an enriched expression that shows the intensity and tightness of Nebbiolo with just a margin of the immediate softness and accessibility of this warm vintage… comes together well on the palate with nice precision and focus...”
Some of the best things in life are emotionally resonating, and that sensation can come from anything that moves us. A great speech, poem, song, play, picture, and in this case, Fratellia Alessandria Barolo… At a recent trade tasting at Farmstead in St Helena, this wine moved us more than ANY other wine at the event and if you could only see what it was up against, you’d have already ordered a case. The wine is stunningly detailed and powerfully expressive. It bounds from the glass with black cherries, wild plum, pipe tobacco, crushed mint and candied orange peel. With brilliant evolution and finesse, this remarkable illustration of Barolo has already earned solid reviews from two of the Country’s top critics. Of course, with the limited number of cases of this gem that make their way into the US, you’ll want to move quickly…
We certainly weren’t the first to discover this gorgeous Barolo… It was originally recognized by King Carlo Alberto in 1843 for having notable quality. The Fratelli Estate crowns the small hilltop village of Verduno, and the 2014 includes fruit from Riva Rocca, Rocca dell’Olmo, Neirane, Campasso and Bosco vineyards, and it’s truly one of the best 2014 Barolo’s under $100/btl that I’ve tasted. I strongly recommend securing a case.
Retails at: $54.00/btl
Your Price: $47.99/btl
“Now with a few months in bottle, Alessandria’s 2014 Barolo is a real powerhouse. Smoke, scorched earth, tobacco, menthol, licorice and wild cherry all convey an impression of gravitas, as this potent, muscular Barolo shows off its personality. The 2014 has quite a bit of density and richness at this level. I won’t be surprised if it turns out even better than this note suggests. There is so much going on here.”
91 + Points
“The Fratelli Alessandria 2014 Barolo is a streamlined and elegant wine that imparts delicate tones of wild berry, spice, licorice, rosemary twig and candied orange peel. This is a classic expression and an absolute embodiment of Barolo tradition. The finish is long and silky with lingering tones of smoke and crushed mineral. This wine is very nicely done. It ages slowly in large Slavonian oak casks for three years...”
Customers who enjoy Fratelli Alessandria may also enjoy these two stunning Barolos…
2016 LANGHE NEBBIOLO
In the same way that Rosso di Montalcino is considered baby Brunello, Langhe Nebbiolo is a more ready to drink, affordable cousin to Barolo and Barbaresco. These Italian icons are both made with 100% Nebbiolo grapes and while Langhe can include declassified Barolo and Barbaresco but can also be from other regions within Piedmont, and doesn’t need to meet the same aging requirements. Stylistically Langhe wines are flashy with more forward, vibrant fruit, and they’re styled to be much more approachable in their youth. One of my favorites is by Azelia and at $25/btl it’s simply one of the best values in the shop.
When referencing a history of terrific wines from Azelia, Robert Parker alerts readers that “wines from… Azelia, can hold their own with the very best in the region” and “prices are exceedingly fair considering the quality of what goes into the bottle.” The 2016 enters your palate with marvelous intensity, and is chock full of vibrant red fruits, toasted spice, dried rose petals and finely grained tannins. 2016 was an idyllic vintage in Piedmont producing larger than average yields of perfectly ripened grapes.
2016 LANGHE NEBBIOLO
Retails at: $28/btl
Your Price: $25/btl
From Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate: “The 2016 Langhe Nebbiolo gives us a very encouraging glimpse into the future. Nebbiolo from this cool vintage is phenomenal, and we should have some beautiful surprises very soon when the 2016 Barbarescos and Barolos are released. For now, we can enjoy a wine like this. Aged in stainless steel, this expression opens to a beautiful ruby hue with dark garnet highlights. The effect is crisp, luminous and bright. The varietal purity is especially evident on the bouquet, thanks to cassis, wild rose, blueberry and fresh almond aromas. The vines are 20 years old on average.” 91 Points
Customers that enjoy Azelia’s Langhe Nebbiolo may also enjoy these two stunning wines…
There’s a renaissance happening in Piedmont, with some Italian producers moving towards a more elegant and approachable style of winemaking. The more traditional approach is to produce wines that are more tightly-wound, compact and need more time in the cellar before they’re ready to enjoy. One of the best examples of the newer style of winemaking is Giacomo Grimaldi’s 2014 Barolo. Their method of combining 12 months in oak barrels and 18 months in larger casks lends to the wines balance and approachability. The wine still hasn’t lost its sense of history and antiquity that comes from the Barolo vineyards, one of which the Grimaldi family has owned and farmed since 1930. In fact, it’s that feeling combined with the new approach to winemaking that truly makes this wine special. We loved it so much that we bought every bottle available in California before our glasses were even emptied, and we taste pretty fast.
Scrumptious, focused and harmonious all come to mind when tasting this remarkable wine. The 2014 is big and round, with penetrating fruits wrapped in black chocolates, dusted with savory spices. This could be the poster child for that “new school” style of winemaking that once you taste it, you’ll have a tough time going back. It is extremely limited and will most likely sell out today!
Your Price: $42.99/btl
From The Wine Spectator: “Cherry and plum flavors resonate throughout this red, joined by notes of eucalyptus, tar, tobacco and spice. The fruit persists, with a firm grip of tannins as this fades on the finish…” 92 Points
Customers who enjoy Giacomo Grimaldi Barolo may also enjoy these two Barolos…
2015 SITO MORESCO
LANGHE, NEBBIOLO BLEND
Sometimes taking risks pays off… Angelo Gaja took many risks when he chose to declassify his highly regarded Barolo and Barbaresco wines and simply label them Langhe, a lower tier classification. In doing so he gained the flexibility to produce the absolute best wines possible, without having to abide by any restrictions set by regional Italian Wine laws. Now, one of the most Iconic wine producers in the world, and considered by many to produce the best wines in Italy, Angelo is regarded as a pioneer in the way he produces wines. Always compelling with deeply penetrating flavors and enticing aromas that are both riveting and complex. Angelo’s wines wrap your mind, body and soul in sheer delight and at $54.99/btl you’ll want as much of that feeling as you can fit in your cellar.
Merging Nebbiolo, Barbera, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the Sito Moresco is powerful, yet refined, detailing notes of red current, plum, tart raspberry, cherry pipe tobacco and leather. While Gaja’s top wines can fetch well over $500 per bottle, the Sito Moresco is a stunning value at $54.99. The 2015 is extra special because in 2015 Angelo removed the Barbera from his single vineyard wines, giving it a home in Sito Moresco and catapulting the quality of the wine. The 2015 absolutely dropped the mic at our tasting… Trust me on this one…
2015 SITO MORESCO
LANGHE, NEBBIOLO BLEND
Retails at: $60.00/btl
Your Price: $54.99/btl
Tasting Notes: “The nose opens with rich aromas of violet. It develops into a bouquet of ripe red fruit (red plums and cherry) and ends with a distinctive spice note of saffron; The palate is round and compact – with a long and savory finish. Due to its particular juiciness, the 2015 vintage features a fuller than usual body along with the classic, pleasant drinkability”
Customers who enjoy Gaja Sito Moresco may also enjoy these two terrific Italian wines…