After the misunderstood 2014 vintage that divided the wine journalists across the world, 2015 is entering the Barolo arena with a much more united front and a long list of exciting reviews from the critics. Pio Boffa of Pio Cesare has always been convinced about the outstanding of the 2014s, and he found an ally in Walter Speller who also praises “the general high quality of 2014”. Even though the two vintages couldn’t be more disimilar, one is going to be seriously challenged if tempted to find a fault in the 2015s.
2015 Harvest Report:
Winter in 2015 began with heavy snowfalls in January which supplied the land with excellent water reserves. February was mild, bringing an early start to the growing cycle, a pattern which continued until harvest. Budding began earlier than in 2014 with flowering taking place in the middle of May. There were heavy rainfalls between flowering and fruit set which was very beneficial later in the season due to drought and warm weather in late June and July. Thanks to this timely rainfall and the snowfalls in January, the vines did not suffer undue water stress. Consequently, harvest took place about ten days earlier than 2014. Green harvested was targeted and precise. High temperatures meant that the crop was exceptionally healthy, with minimal impact from fungal disease. However, canopy management was important to protect the grapes from the sun’s rays. Grapes achieved optimal maturity and ripeness, with good sugar concentration, balanced acidity and excellent structure, making 2015 an age-worthy vintage.
Pio Boffa commented on the vintage:
“It is quite difficult to compare the character of the 2015 with other vintages. 2015 was a warm vintage, really hot, but it does not currently show the typical characters of a hot vintage. It is neither jammy nor a fruit bomb. It does have evident tannins right up front, which are well integrated with good fruit concentration. This was perhaps the result of the heat on the southern exposed vineyards on the slopes of the better grand crus. The heat and the lack of humidity halted the growing process for a while and the wines show a very pleasant fruity character with this evident tannin touch – very pleasant and in classic Nebbiolo style. Quite unique as in a hot vintage, we would normally expect big jammy wines with shorter ageing potential. This is not the case for 2015 bu the exact opposite. The wines will age extremely well and for a long time, and they will keep this fruity and tannic character.
Probably 2013, 2006 and 1999 might be comparable.
There were distinctive difference in style in the various Barolo regions: Serralunga was tannic, focused and structured, as always. Monforte was succulent, bold and round, with supple round tannins and strong fruit. La Morra was very fruity but with pleasing roundness and elegance. Novello was very structured and dense. Grinzane was very feminine and elegant. In a vintage like 2015 blending the Nebbiolo from different grand crus shows the ultimate way to produce a “master classic“ Barolo. A Barolo as it should be.”
Pio Cesare Classic Barolo:
“Complex aromas of smoke, ash and dark fruits with a precision and intensity. Layered and gorgeous. Loads of dark fruit and perfume. Full-bodied with round and wonderfully polished tannins. Wonderful length and richness. Goes on for minutes. Try in 2023 but already good now“, 96 points James Suckling
“Medium-deep ruby with orange tinges. Lifted peppery, cherry nose with quite bit of brooding concentration and minerally notes. Hint of liquorice. Quite sweet and round attack and perfectly integrated acidity on the palate, but the tannins build up notably on the finish. Elegant and with a powerful finish. Has ageing potential. Drink 2019-2026“, 17 points, Walter Speller, janicsrobinson.com
Pio Cesare Barolo Ornato 2015:
“The aromas are so complex yet subtle with wet earth, mushrooms and dark fruits. Dried flowers as well. Full body, chewy tannins that are ultra fine and powerful yet there is a finesse and beauty to them as I said from barrel. Classic, great nebbiolo. Try in 2023.”, 98 points James Suckling
“Maturing ruby with watery bricky rim. Fine, sweetly perfumed nose with earthy, minerally notes. Spicy cherry fruit on the palate with polished tannins and ripe acidity. Tannins build up on the finish but are backed-up by elegant fruit. Fantastic chew and length of fruit. Drink 2020-2030“, 17+ points Walter Speller, janicsrobinson.com
Pio Cesare Barbaresco 2015:
“A dense and layered red with plums, dried orange and lemon peel and a long and flavorful finish. Beautiful. Such impressive layers and a fantastic finish. Very exciting. Love the length. Available in February 2019. Drink in 2020, but already beautiful.”, 95 points James Suckling
Pio Cesare Il Bricco 2015:
“This shows phenomenal structure to it with fantastic linear tannins that take this wine deep and long on the palate. It’s buttressed by a beautiful balance of ripe fruit characterized by strawberry and orange-peel undertones. Chewy and focused. Needs four or five years to soften and show its true greatness. Available in February 2019. Try in 2022.” 97 points James Suckling