After a few weeks of scratching my head, considering whether the price hikes on various Bordeaux were warranted, declining most offers and purchasing from a select few, it is great to finally return to recommending wines where the value is beyond doubt. Barolo certainly receives greater attention than ever before, and that attention may well be heightened when the 2016s release next year. For now, the vast majority of wines continue to offer significant value for money even when the emanate from some of the region’s finest vineyards. I am pleased to offer two Barolo of differing styles from the underestimated 2015 vintage – each from a grower with whom we have worked for many years and whose talent is assured, namely 2015 Barolo Ravera, GD Vajra (£300 per 6 bottle case in bond) and 2015 Barolo, Rocche dell’Annunziata, Renato Corino (£235 per 6 bottle case in bond).
The estate of GD Vajra continues to impress me – simply put, this is one class act. The entire family seems engaged in the pursuit of quality and the results really show. Their Ravera is a stunning example from a much-lauded Cru vineyard in the commune of Novello. As I’ve mentioned previously, Ravera lies to the far west of the region, a cool site at a good altitude, that benefits from the cooling influence of the Alps. This vineyard has a handy habit of performing well in warmer Piemontese vintages as the location allows it to retain focus and precision in even the warmest of years. I predict that you will hear more about Ravera in the coming years as it is likely that its standing among the unofficial hierarchy of leading Barolo vineyards is likely to be elevated. And why wouldn’t it be? The 2015 is a glorious wine and I concur with Antonio Galloni below on the point concerning that creamy textural quality on the mid-palate – always a great marker for quality in Nebbiolo.
Renato Corino’s Rocche dell’Annunziata is a gem of a wine. This Cru is situated in La Morra and Corino’s example always offers terrific concentration of fruit, unabashedly ripe, yet with a rare finesse to the tannins. It has that more accessible note that is typical of La Morra, a certain velvety quality to the tannins in contrast to the austere styles that can be found in wines from further south-east in Barolo. I have had so many great bottles over the years, confirming the consistent, fine quality of this highly rated Cru and equally dependable estate. Somehow Corino’s wines remain slightly under the radar, which is surprising given the plaudits he receives. Renato’s son, Stefano, is now getting more involved in the estate, not that anyone could ever imagine Renato taking a backseat! If you are yet to try the Corino wines I would certainly urge you to do so…
2015 Barolo, Ravera, GD Vajra
95 points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com
£300 per 6 bottle case in bond
The 2015 Barolo Ravera captures all the best the vintage has to offer. More importantly, it has that extra level of textural richness and sweetness that the Bricco delle Viole does not have, at least not today. Creamy and beautifully textured in the glass, the 2015 is a total winner. Bright red raspberry and pomegranate fruit notes are lifted, while expressive floral and blood orange overtones add brightness. The 2015 suggests that the Ravera might, in time, become the flagship wine here. Don't miss it! 2023-2041
2015 Barolo, Rocche dell’Annunziata, Renato Corino
94 points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com
£235 per 6 bottle case in bond
The 2015 Barolo Rocche dell'Annunziata is gorgeous. Aromatic, fresh and lifted, the 2015 captures all the pedigree of this great La Morra site. The interplay of dense fruit, perfumed aromatics and silky tannins that makes wines from Rocche so compelling is very much in evidence. All the elements simply fall into place in a Barolo that is impeccable from start to finish. 2022-2035
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