Established in 1881, Pio Cesare, now run by fifth generation Pio Boffa, was one of the very first producers to believe in the potential and quality of the great wines of Piemonte and to export to the UK. A ceaseless devotion to the individuality of each of the region’s wines informs Pio’s choices in the vineyards and cellar. He applies a ‘minimal intervention’ philosophy to wine making, creating wines that year after year, are ranked among the world’s best wines.
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 for 36 months, 70 percent in new barriques and 30 percent in 25 hectoliter casks.
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 2014, with flowering taking place in the middle of May.
There was heavy rainfall 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 harvesting 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.
This wine has great structure and concentration, with ripe fruit, soft tannins and tobacco. May be appreciated immediately, but with a very long life. It is produced in small quantities and only in excellent vintages.
Serve with red meat dishes, game or seasonal truffle, mature cheeses.
Serve at 16-18°C.
Decanter: 95 POINTS
May 7, 2019
“The fruit for this wine is sourced from Pio Cesare’s plots in the Ornato vineyard in Serralunga d’Alba. It has a big, bold palate impression with lovely fresh acidity framing a core of delicate red fruits and heavier plummy notes. The tannins are fine and chalky, and despite this vineyard’s reputation for producing heavily structured wines, it’s relatively light on its feet, juicy and moreish. Although delicious, it seems a waste to drink it so early in its life – I would leave it for at least another couple of years for all the elements to fully integrate and then decant after opening. Vinified in stainless steel before spending 18 months in barriques and a further 12 months in botti.”
JamesSuckling.com: 98 POINTS
January 25, 2019, James Suckling
“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.”
Wine Enthusiast: 95 POINTS
December 1, 2019, Kerin O’Keefe
“Balsamic aromas of eucalyptus mingle with enticing scents of wild berry, rose, espresso and tobacco. On the full-bodied, elegant palate, smooth, fine-grained tannins lithely support Marasca cherry, cranberry, star anise and exotic spice while fresh acidity keeps it balanced. One of the best showings I’ve had of Ornato so far. Drink 2021–2030.”
Wine & Spirits: 92 POINTS
“Scents of rose and white smoke lead into vibrant kirsch-like flavors. Mouthwatering acidity fills in around the fruit flavors as notes of dark chocolate, toasted nuts and scorched earth emerge to give a dark, savory tone to the finish.”
Barolo DOCG, Piemonte