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 70 hectares in the hills of Barolo and Barbaresco and makes wines 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.
Pio Cesare own 52 hectares of vineyards in the hills of Barolo and Barbaresco, including some of the prime sites for growing Nebbiolo including 16 hectares of the ‘Ornato’ vineyard in Serralunga d’Alba, one of the best vineyards in the Barolo area. In 1985, Pio Cesare decided to select a small quantity of Nebbiolo from three different plots within the vineyard to create a Barolo that reflects the characteristics of Serralunga soil. The soil here is poor and compact, resulting in a wine of great structure and ageing potential. “Ornato” is only produced in outstanding years.
This is a single-vineyard Barolo from very ripe grapes of three different plots of the famous Pio Cesare family’s Ornato Estate in Serralunga d’Alba, one of the top vineyards in the whole Barolo area. It is fermented in stainless steel with skin contact for 15 days and aged in mid-toasted French oak botti for 36 months, with a small quantity aged in barriques for the first 12 months.
A cold and rainy winter allowed water reserve to replenish fully. Budbreak was delayed by lower than usual temperatures during spring but a temperate and sunny summer allowed for perfect ripening. The harvest in Ornato started on the 7th October. Thanks to the particular aspect and soil, Ornato is usually the earliest Nebbiolo vineyard to be harvested at the estate.
Complex on the nose, offering a blend of ripe red berries, nutty minerals, orange-peel and spice. Some savory, almost meaty notes, too. Full, compact and intense, yet there’s a graceful feel to the palate, thanks to the really fine web of tannin. Super polish and promise here. Classy. Needs some time. Try from 2025. (James Suckling)
Serve with red meat dishes, game or seasonal truffle, mature cheeses.
Serve at 16-18°C.
96 points – James Suckling
95 points – Wine Spectator, Bruce Sanderson
94 points – Wine Advocate, Monica Larner
Barolo DOCG, Piemonte