The Village of La Morra
We’re continuing our feature of Barolo communes this weekend with a focus on the more Western crus of the broader appellation!
Barolo fans are in paradise at the moment. All signs point to the outstanding excellence of the vintage trio of 2019, 2020, and 2021. The wines aren’t just good, they’re absolutely incredible and on par with some of the greatest vintages of the last 50 years. This is one example of how climate change is benefitting certain regions around the globe, and hey, although we’re not long-term fans of global warming, we are fans of world class nebbiolo in our glasses.
The 2019 vintage is beginning to hit store shelves and Vinopolis is here to supply your cellar with these ageworthy selections. Simultaneously, we thought it would be more than prudent to take a moment to celebrate all that is Barolo through a special feature on the major communes that make up the broader appellation. These wines are so nuanced and terroir specific that we hope you’ll come to know and love the varied expressions of the nebbiolo grape as much as we do. We shall finish with the delicate and inviting wines of the Western Crus!
The Western Crus of Barolo
As we move west across the broader appellation of Barolo, there are 3 communes that become critical to experience and understand., and all of them are impacted by the transition from Helvetian soils to Tortonian. In contrast to Helvetian soils, the Tortonian soil influence brings forward wines that are more perfumed, elegant, and approachable; the color leaning towards a ruby hue. The wines of this soil also arguably mature more quickly, but still have the same great staying power of the entire Barolo appellation.The Tortonian soil on this side of the overall appellation is characterized by the following properties:
- Blue tinted (darker in color)
- Compact calcerous marl soil mixed with sand
- Fresher, more fertile
- Rich in magnesium, manganese
Most strikingly impacted by these soils changes is Castiglione Falletto, a cru that is special in the sense that it balances much of the Helvetian soil we described earlier this week, with influences of the more Western Tortonian soil that extends across the Central Valley of Barolo. The result for wines of Castiglione Falletto is that they are powerful but nuanced, expressive, but also tight knit. These wines have the tannins of their Eastern kindred, and the delicacy of their Western relations.
Next are the wines of the villages of La Morra, the magnificently beautiful village featured at the top of this newsletter. Wines of this appellation comes from soils of the highest sand content, leading to nebbiolo that is so incredibly perfumed, delicate and supple you won’t be able to put your glass down. We recommend La Morra wines to anyone that is first getting their feet wet with nebbiolo as a grape, as there’s a clear transition here from pinot noir.
Last but of course not least are the wines that surround the namesake village of Barolo itself. In giving its name to the broader appellation of wines, you’re guaranteed to expect wines that are incomparably classic from this area. The Tortonian soil provides depth of fruit to the nebbiolo that is balanced by additional structure and tannin in comparison to La Morra in the north.
It’s impossible to not be charmed by nebbiolo coming out of the Western Crus of the appellation. Whether Italian wines are your favorite playground, or you are just getting started, there’s more than enough here for everyone to enjoy. Our recommendation? Get a bottle from each Cru (hot tip, Vietti produces wine from all 3) and jot down your own notes as you taste through each area and vineyard site. We have a wide selection of wines for you to choose from, with some hand-picked options featured below.
A few bottles we highly recommend:
Paolo Scavino Bric del Fiasc, Castligione Falletto 2019 750ml $99 special, 22 bottles available
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points “The 2019 Barolo Bric del Fiasc is the hallmark wine of the estate, and it shows. Taking on more concentration, it is pure and generous with kirsch, star anise, nutmeg, and menthol and moves impressively to the palate with ease and nobility. It offers fantastic depth while remaining true to the vintage and propels forward through an arch of acidity, while having grounded notes of Earl Grey tea, black cherry, and crushed stones as well as ripe tannins. Drink 2026-2046.”
Cavallotto Bricco Boschis, Castligione Falletto 2019 750ml $89 special, 24 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 points “This estate is certainly the most prolific interpreter of the hilltop Bricco Boschis MGA in Castiglione Falletto. The Cavallotto 2019 Barolo Bricco Boschis (a certified organic wine) would benefit from more time in the bottle. I encountered many Barolos in 2019 that reveal a slightly reductive approach that bodes well for long cellaring. This wine is characterized by velvety black fruit that is framed by dusty nuances of crushed limestone. It builds focus and precision with more time in the glass. Some 18,800 bottles were released.”
Macarini Brunate, La Morra 2015 750ml $59 special, 21 bottles available
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Wine Enthusiast 96 points “From one of the most celebrated vineyards in the denomination, this stunning red opens with enticing scents of rose, camphor, aromatic herbs and a whiff of sandalwood. The succulent, elegant palate delivers juicy Marasca cherry, crushed pomegranate, licorice and sweet tobacco framed by taut, polished tannins. It’s nicely balanced by fresh acidity.”
G.D. Vajra ‘Coste di Rose’, Barolo 2019 750ml $69 special, 16 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 points “Compared to Bricco delle Viole, Coste di Rose is distinguished by sandstone soils at lower elevations of 340 to 350 meters above sea level. There is a lot of variability in the soils, and as they change, Nebbiolo behaves differently, picking up new aromas and textural qualities along the way. The G.D. Vajra 2019 Barolo Coste di Rose shows a darker core of fruit with dusty earthy tones and campfire ash. The grape skins were quite thick in 2019, meaning that less work was done with submerged cap and other extractive methods. The beauty of this wine is the mouthfeel, which feels rich, tight and silky. Coste di Rose was first made in 2015.”
Vietti Cerequio, Barolo 2019 750ml $249 special, 9 bottles available
Vinous 98 points “The 2019 Barolo Cerequio is a worthy follow up to the stellar 2018. Aromatic and deeply pitched, the 2019 races across the palate with remarkable depth and intensity. Crushed rted berry fruit, rose petal, mint, and cinnamon all open in the glass, but it is the wine’s silkiness and suppleness that impresses most. A kick of acids and tannins puts an exclamation point on the finish. This is a gorgeous Cerequio that takes all the finesse this site offers, and then turns up the volume. What a wine.”
Wine Advocate 97+ points “Vietti was able to buy a 9,000-square meter piece of Cerequio from Michele Chiarlo, arguably the king of this celebrated cru. And because this is a new addition to the portfolio, the Vietti team is still learning the ropes. For example, there is a fresh minty tone that pops up from the bouquet of the 2019 Barolo Cerequio. “That minty note was a mystery to us,” Luca Currado tells me. “But then we understood that its part of Cerequio.” This wine shows a firm grip on the palate that does extend out to include some textural softness, but it ultimately remains quite structured. Among the grand cru sites of La Morra, Luca Currado tells me that “Cerequio is the brother and Brunate is the sister.” His wife Elena Penna adds, “We’ve never had two sites so close to one another show such a great difference between them.”
Below are all the Castiglione Falletto, La Morra, and Barolo wines that we have in stock. Don’t miss your chance to claim some of the best Baroli at some of the best prices you can find.
All Western Cru Wines Available Now