Some Thoughts on Barolo 2000 and a Preview of 2001....

By Antonio Galloni

Earlier this year I visited the region to get a sense of what the hype surrounding the 2000 vintage was all about. In 2000 the hot weather produced wines that are round, rich and approachable when young, all qualities considered to be atypical for Barolo. As with everything Piedmont, generalizations are very tricky because there are always so many exceptions to any statements that can be made about a vintage. It really pays to taste as many wines as possible so that you can decide for yourself whether you prefer warmer vintages like 1997 and 2000 or more classic vintages such as 1996, 1999, and 2001.

That said, at a few estates I had the opportunity to taste 2000 side by side with 2001 and at that point it was pretty obvious what the two vintages offer in general terms. 2000 is no doubt a great vintage, and many of the wines are already drinking well. The best examples are easy to understand, generous on the palate and immensely satisfying. My sense is that the wines have less of the over-ripeness of 1997 and better overall balance. The 2001s are very different. The first thing I noticed is that the 2001s tend to be darker in color than the 2000s, which is what you would expect from a vintage which had the ideal alternation of temperatures for Nebbiolo. The 2001s are noticeably more complex in the aromas and flavors, and have a certain fineness and definition on the palate that is hard to fully describe. Lastly, the best 2001s have a wonderful freshness that gives the wines a sense of youthfulness and lift on the finish. These, then, are some brief notes for now. I will report more fully on these estates and on Barolo 2001 in Issues 2 and 3. All notes are for wines tasted at the estates from the bottle, not blind. Please note that I did not taste every wine at every estate so any wine not included under a given producer was simply not tasted.