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What Makes a Great Barolo Vintage? Establishing a Framework

What makes a great Barolo vintage? Unlike some regions, Bordeaux being the most notable, Piedmont does not have an established framework that sets out the criteria required for a vintage to be considered very high in potential quality. What follows is my framework of objective criteria that are necessary in order for a Barolo (or Barbaresco) vintage to be considered truly great. It is inspired by the late Denis Dubourdieu and the model he developed for assessing young Bordeaux vintages and the research my colleague Alessandro Masnaghetti has done in collecting and analyzing weather, harvest dates and other data. To that, I add my 20+ years of visiting the region and all of the information I have gathered in speaking with winemakers, agronomists and other professionals over that time, plus drinking more than my fair share of the wines. As with Dubourdieu’s model, this framework addresses the growing season, and does not venture into an assessment of the wines.

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Chile: A Stylistic Journey From the Andes to the Coastal Ridge

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California Vineyard Series: Kamen Vineyard

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Rheingau and Mittelrhein 2018s: Mixed Riesling Results

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Marking Milestones with Moulin Touchais

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Rioja: The Past Is Always Present

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Remembering Pio Boffa


2005 Bordeaux: Here and Now

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Vino Nobile & Carmignano: Italy’s Forgotten Noble Reds

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Tuscany Odds & Ends

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Finding Cool Sunshine: South Africa

Vinous Table

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High Timber, London, UK

It was a pleasure to get back out again and revisit one of central London’s dining secrets. Anyone with an interest in South African wine should make a beeline for High Timber, which should reopen fully from May 17.

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Brat x Climpson’s Arch, UK

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Le Relais de Saulx, France


Ma Cuisine, Beaune, France

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Petersham Nurseries Café, UK

Vinous Favorites

2019 Colosi Nero d'Avola ($15.00) 89

2019 Colosi Nero d'Avola, 89 points

The 2019 Nero d'Avola from Colosi wafts up with a dark, alluring bouquet of crushed rocks, peppery herbs and black currants. Its silky textures are complemented by mineral-tinged, sweet wild berries with zesty acids. Shades of lavender define the finale. (EG)


Cellar Favorites

2008 compostella

2008 Mvemve Raats MR de Compostella

On my bucket list of wine-related things to do, apart from tasting the 1947 Romanée-Conti and climbing K2 with Lalou Bize-Leroy in order to overcome my debilitating vertigo, is to conduct an unabridged vertical of Mvemve Raats MR de Compostella.

2011 Cupano Brunello di Montalcino

2004 Poggio Il Castellare Brunello di Montalcino

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