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Alto Piemonte: Small Is Beautiful

featured, Italy: Piedmont

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2024

Alto Piemonte remains one of the most glorious, under the radar regions in the world. Wines of delicacy and transparency communicate the essence of site in the handful of villages that comprise this series of small appellations in Northern Italy. Many estates featured in this report are quite small, making some bottles hard to find. Nevertheless, consumers and professionals seeking fine, artisan wines of place that can diversify any cellar will find so much to admire in Alto Piemonte today.

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Festa del Barolo 2023 Recap

featured, Italy: Piedmont

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2024

Festa del Barolo is right around the corner. As we make the final preparations, so many memories of the 2023 edition come rushing back. In 2023, we presented an expanded program of tastings, seminars and dinners. This is a look at some of the many highlights.

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2020 Barolo: Selective Excellence

featured, Italy: Piedmont

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2024

Grace, elegance and understatement are some of the qualities readers will find in the 2020 Barolos. The best wines are undeniably striking. That said, the vintage is not an unqualified success, as the growing season presented its fair share of challenges. Overall, 2020 is a vintage of mid-weight Barolos. These are wines to admire for their balance and seductive appeal more than their power or structure.

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Barbaresco’s Soaring 2020s & 2021s

featured, Italy: Piedmont

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2023

I was deeply impressed with the wines I tasted on my most recent trip to Barbaresco. Both 2020 and 2021 are terrific vintages with plenty of highlights. Best of all, so many wines remain reasonably priced within the context of today’s market, something that is increasingly evident as wines from other regions become quite pricey.

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2023 Barolo en Primeur Charity Auction

featured, Italy: Piedmont

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2023

I was delighted to taste the single-barrel 2022 Barolos on offer at the 2023 Barolo en Primeur Charity Auction, which will be held simultaneously in New York City, London and Grinzane Cavour on Friday, October 27 at 12pm New York time, 5pm London time and 6pm Piedmont time. This is a rare opportunity to acquire 2022 Barolo ahead of release. In addition to the barrel wines, the auction also includes lots from various producers, organized by village. All the wines will be adorned with special labels designed by artist Otobong Nkanga. Donations from barrel lots will be directed to various charities, while proceeds from the village lots will go to the Oenological School of Alba.

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Cellar Favorite: 1970 E. Pira & Figli Barolo

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, Italy: Piedmont

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2023

The 1970 Pira Barolo is a wine I have never had before, at least that I can recall. Sweet, perfumed and ethereal, the 1970 takes us back to another generation, a time when Piedmont was far more agrarian and artisan than it is today. Crushed rose petals, mint, licorice, dried flowers, sweet dried cherry fruit, pipe tobacco and old chest drawer waft from the glass. Fine, silky, mature Nebbiolo tannins pull it all together beautifully. The 1970 is fully mature and past its prime, but well-stored bottles will drink well for another few years.

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Book Excerpt: Alessandro Masnaghetti’s Barolo MGA Vol. 1 – Third Edition

featured, Italy: Piedmont

Alessandro Masnaghetti, Oct 2023

In this excerpt from the third edition of his book Barolo MGA Vol. 1 - The Encyclopedia of the Great Vineyards of Barolo, Alessandro Masnaghetti shares some of his extraordinary research on the nuances and history of Barolo’s great vineyards. Beautifully illustrated, with dozens of detailed maps and graphs, the third edition is an essential resource for readers who love the great wines of Piedmont.

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Bruno Giacosa Dinner at Legacy Records

featured, Italy: Piedmont, Verticals & Retrospectives

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2023

This Bruno Giacosa retrospective and dinner, part of our ten-year anniversary celebration, was a great opportunity to go back and visit a wide range of benchmark wines from one of Piedmont’s most illustrious producers. To be honest, I had a hard time narrowing the selection down to a reasonable number of wines for a single evening. I chose to focus on vintages from Giacosa’s prime, wines that remain the reference points for the estate.

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Bartolo Mascarello 1955 to…from Magnum

featured, Italy: Piedmont, Verticals & Retrospectives

Antonio Galloni, Jul 2023

When it came time to decide on the Rare Wine Dinner for La Festa del Barolo in 2023, the year of our tenth anniversary, there was only one choice. Bartolo Mascarello was the first grower I met in Piedmont. Mascarello spent several hours with me that afternoon in a wide-ranging discussion that touched on politics, culture and, eventually, wine. It was an important moment, a moment in which I began to understand that the wines I loved so much were deeply shaped by the people who crafted them.

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Nebbiolo Shines in Alto Piemonte, Carema & Valtellina

featured, Italy: Piedmont

Antonio Galloni, Jun 2023

It’s an exciting time to explore the small appellations that make up Northern Italy’s Alto Piemonte, Carema and Valtellina districts. There was a period, not too long ago, when many wines in these regions were either lackluster or muddled by overly pushed winemaking that obscured terroir. Outstanding wines were very much the exception rather than the rule. That has changed dramatically in recent years through a combination of dynamic young estates that have brought tremendous energy to the mix and older, more established names also raising the bar. Quite simply, I have never tasted more riveting, breathtaking wines from these appellations than I have over the last six months or so.