This historic family-owned estate is named after its founder Cesare Pio, who established the business in 1881. The winery is based in Alba, in the heart of Piemonte and is now run by Federica Boffa and Cesare Benvenuto, the fifth generation of the family. Pio Cesare developed Barolo’s reputation overseas in the 1950s by being one of the first producers to export the wine to the UK. The founder’s great grandson Pio Boffa was deeply convinced of the importance of cultivating and growing owned land to produce high quality wines and played a key role in the acquisition of vineyards in the same locations where Cesare Pio used to buy his grapes from. Today Pio Cesare owns 80 hectares located in several premium hill-side positions, selected for the exposure, soil composition and microclimate in the Barolo and Barbaresco regions. The wines are made in a style that manages to balance the best of the old with the best of the new. The estate includes most of the municipalities in the Barolo and Barbaresco areas.
The Pio Cesare family owns a total 30 ha in the Barolo region covering 5 different communes: Serralunga d’Alba (Ornato, Serra, Briccolina, Lirano and Colombaro), Monforte d’Alba (Mosconi), Grinzane Cavour (Gustava and Garretti), La Morra (Roncaglie), Novello (Ravera). Barolo Pio is made with grapes coming from all the different sites to best express the character of the Barolo appellation.
The grapes are sourced from multiple vineyards and pressed all together before the fermentation in stainless steel tanks, according to tradition. Maceration on skins at high temperatures lasts for 30 days. The wine is aged in French and Slavonian casks (botti) of 20 to 50hl capacity for a minimum of 2 years. A small proportion of the wine is aged in barriques mostly used, one third new.
2018 started with a long winter with plenty of rainfall, restoring the soil’s water supply which had diminished due to the weather conditions in the previous year. The winter season extended until the beginning of March, with temperatures which were lower than in recent years. This led to a gradual, slow resumption of the vine’s vegetative phase, which was completed by the end of the same month. Bud break was regular, with none of the problems caused by late frosts. Spring continued with frequent rainfall and not high temperatures, suggesting that the vintage would develop along “classic” lines. The period between the end of May and the beginning of June was marked by numerous storms, bringing copious rains that required attentive vineyard management. Flowering and subsequent berry set took place in optimal climatic conditions, immediately suggesting that it would be a plentiful vintage. Green harvesting became necessary for nearly all varietals. Development was gradual during the summer, with temperatures rising considerably from mid-July on, and a long period of constant ideal weather which helped the grapes to ripen without the harvest needing to be brought forward.
Aromas of spicy red cherries on a loamy underlay, together with savory twists of forest floor and walnut shell. Some orange rind, too. Full-bodied with very fine, firm and silky tannins and lots of long, focused fruit and spice flavor. Good structure for 2018. Needs a year or two to fully knit together. Best from 2024. (James Suckling)
Ideal with steak tartar, truffle, porcini dishes, duck, guinea fowl, veal, braised beef, cheese.
Serve at 16-18°C.
94 points – James Suckling
Aromas of spicy red cherries on a loamy underlay, together with savory twists of forest floor and walnut shell. Some orange rind, too. Full-bodied with very fine, firm and silky tannins and lots of long, focused fruit and spice flavor. Good structure for 2018. Needs a year or two to fully knit together. Best from 2024.
94 points – Jamie Goode
93 points – Wine Advocate, Monica Larner
The 2018 Barolo opens to ripe aromas of dried plum and tobacco. This vintage lacks some of the complexity of a cooler growing season, but these results are far from monochromatic. Those tobacco aromas cede to cedar, earth, forest floor and hints of shaved truffle
93 points – Vinous, Antonio Galloni
The Barolo Pio is once again impressive in 2018. Deep, layered and so expressive, the. 2018 offers uncommon elegance right out of the gate. Dark mentholated aromas and flavors are intriguing. In 2018, the Barolo Pio offers quite a bit of depth too, something that is rare, especially among wines at this level. All the elements are impeccably balanced throughout. This is a very fine vintage for the Pio.
90 points – Wine Spectator, Bruce Sanderson
A spicy red, with cherry and floral aromas and flavors picking up accents of wild herbs and iron. Trim and balanced, ending with a light dusting of tannins and fine length. Best from 2024 through 2038.
Barolo DOCG, Piemonte