Learning to love Nebbiolo (1) Pio Cesare

italy nebbiolo piedmont

Learning to love Nebbiolo (1) Pio Cesare

barolo pio cesare

A while back I posted on ‘Nebbiolo, I’d love to like you more’, which drew some very intelligent responses. I’m sure I lost a few followers – people who realized that if I question the greatness of Nebbiolo, I clearly have no palate and am not a serious person. I understand.

But even if I am not serious, I am open minded. So I have started seeking out what people consider to be good examples of this complex variety. Here are two Barolos from Pio Cesare, who are imported into the UK by MMD. I guess you’d describe Pio Cesare as a modernist traditionalist. They’re using a combination of small French oak and the more traditional large oak casks, and they are a reasonably sized producer with 50 hectares of their own vineyards, as well as sourcing from growers.

Pio Cesare Barolo 2009 Piedmont, Italy
14.5% alcohol. Attractive nose of cherries, plums, spice, some floral notes, a hint of dried herbs, and some tea and roses. The palate is grippy and tannic with sweet, warm, ripe cherries and plums, good acidity and a hint of tar. Drying, tannic mouthfeel. There’s real interest here: warm and ripe but angular and fresh at the same time. 91/100

Pio Cesare Barolo Ornato 2009 Piedmont, Italy
14.5% alcohol. An ornate nose of cherries, spice, roses, turned earth and dried herbs. The palate is fresh, bright and cherryish with grippy tannins lurking under the delicate, sweet cherry fruit. Already has some complexity with minerals, earth and herbs. There’s a sweetness here that works nicely in fusion with the savoury notes. Distinctly Barolo and quite structured, with the potential for development. 94/100

Find these wines with wine-searcher.com

4 Comments on Learning to love Nebbiolo (1) Pio CesareTagged , , ,
wine journalist and flavour obsessive

4 thoughts on “Learning to love Nebbiolo (1) Pio Cesare

  1. Jamie,
    You’d be better off drinking a better (and older) vintage to develop a greater appreciation of Nebbiolo. Plus a better producer. I drink Nebbiolo Langhe in its both; quite delicious. I usually don’t touch Barolos until they’re at least 10 years old, preferably older.

  2. Hi Jamie. An interesting article. Have you tried much Nebbiolo from the mountainous Valtellina? It tends to be fresher, more delicate and perhaps more approachable in its youth than the wines of the Langhe, though it ages wonderfully also.

    I represent Ar.Pe.Pe in the UK and would love to send you a couple of bottles (one young, one old) for you to take a look at.


  3. Of all grapes,Nebbiolo for me requires so many years bottle age. Had a 74 Gaja Sori Tilden the other day,that was just brilliant but I just cannot stand young vintages of the wine. Went to a Barolo/Barberesco dinner at River Cafe last year when about 16 of us tasted at least 30 bottles from various vintages from 70 to 08. Everyone thought the older vintages were by far the best.
    So to me little point you drinking young vintages or if you do, why not mature vintages to compare?

  4. Keith hi
    We have not met, but it feels like I know you already. The 70s kit was made in botte grande, or maybe just cement. They were all admittedly unreconstructed, traditional wines. Once into the 80s and 90s it is likely that your fellow diners had equal amounts of modern ‘barrique’ raised wines, and more of the traditional, this time around slowly becoming more considered. Yes, those older vintages were better because of time, but more so because of authenticity. The younger modern wines were conceived in a reactionary rather than holistic fashion, were fruity and oaky young, therefore will be fruity and oaky old, and thus always useless. They came from nowhere and have nowhere to go. Personally, I find all but the most structured recent vintages of the great traditionalists to be almost open, appealing and irresistible from the botte and post bottling. OK, so not the 10s. If one entirely avoids the modernists and their rotary fermenters, yeasts, barriques etc., one can arrive at the essence of one of the world’s great wines, even in youth. IMHO…

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