TN: Vinous 2019 Barolo Masterclass

VINOUS 2019 BAROLO MASTERCLASS - The Pool Restaurant, NYC (2/3/2024)

2019 is a great and classy vintage. More elegant perfume than I can remember from any other vintage at this stage. But good structure underneath. Elegance combined with medium power. Also, the terroir shows through quite well.

All the wines were opened around 9:30am and served cool (cellar temp). The tasting was moderated by Antonio Galloni and ran from 10:30am to about 12:30am.

Photos and more details can be found on my website.

Flight 1: La Morra & Barolo

All 3 have a beautiful perfume that seems characteristic of this vintage in this part of the region.

  • 2019 Trediberri Barolo Rocche dell'Annunziata - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    [The Trediberri winery only started production in 2010. Nicola Oberto is one of the three owners and the primary winemaker. His father was the winemaker at Renato Ratti and the grapes this wine is made from used to be sold to Ratti to make their Rocche dell'Annunziata.] Gorgeous perfume of red fruit and mint. Sweet red fruit on the attack. Firm tannins on the long finish. Beautiful. 95-? (95 points)
  • 2019 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo Cannubi - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Another lovely nose of red fruit and licorice. Dark red fruit throughout. Again firm tannins on the finish with lush red fruit. 94-? (94 points)
  • 2019 Oddero Barolo Brunate - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    “This is their smallest production wine with “only one small barrel”-AG
    Again, a lovely nose with more red and black fruit and spice. Darker, richer, silkier. Needs some time. 94-? (94 points)

Flight 2: Verduno

  • 2019 Fratelli Alessandria Barolo Monvigliero - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    “Wine is not only a handcrafted product, it’s a cultural one, it’s the music of a place. A bottle of wine, however it’s not like a cd that you can listen to repeatedly and the music is always the same, it’s something unique and unrepeatable, you can listen to only once. Its beauty depends on when you open it, with whom and your mood. It’s something mutable and alive. Opening a bottle of wine is like attending a concert, the beauty lies not only in the music but in the atmosphere it creates.” –Vittore Alessandria on FB, but this is more or less what he said here.
    Gorgeous perfume of black fruit and spice. Rich in the mouth. These wines always seem more lush and thick compared to G.B. Burlotto’s. Not better or worse, but different in style. 94-? (94 points)
  • 2019 Castello di Verduno Barolo Vigna Massara - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    [First time at La Festa for this winery. Her mom was from Verduno, her dad from Barbaresco. So they make both.]
    Elegant. More in the Burlotto style than Fratelli Alessandria style. Somewhat austere at this point, but should flesh out over time. 92-94 (93 points)

Flight 3: Rocche

Both wines really show the breeding of Rocche.

  • 2019 Azienda Bricco Rocche (Ceretto) Barolo Bricco Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    [Alessandro Ceretto said that they used new barrique until 2005. Since 2010, they have gone biodynamic, started using large botti, and replanted half this vineyard using massal selection. This smallest of all MGAs is a Ceretto monopole. It is between Rocche di Castiglione and Villero.] Here the nose moves more toward sweet fruit. Rich, elegant, classic. Needs time, but this has great richness all the way through. Maybe my favorite wine from Ceretto in this millennium. 96 (96 points)
  • 2019 Fratelli Brovia Barolo Rocche di Castiglione - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    [Alex Sanchez said that his father-in-law, Giacinto Brovia, bought this parcel in Rocche di Castiglione in 1968.] Another gorgeous, rich, red and black fruit nose. A little more backward and monolithic at this stage but should age beautifully. 94-? (94 points)

Flight 4: “Nothing in common.”

The title of this flight is a quote from Antonio.

  • 2019 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Le Vigne - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    [A blend of grapes from Baudana (Serralunga d'Alba), Villero (Castiglione Falletto), Vignane (Barolo), Merli (Novello), and Le Coste di Monforte. The last one is new in 2019.]
    Gorgeous nose of red and black fruit. Smooth and rich on a long finish. Tannins just peeking out here on the finish. Lovely. (95 points)
  • 2015 Roagna Barbaresco Crichët Pajé - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
    [“I’m the sorbeto.” -Luca Roagna]
    Herbal red fruit in the nose. Ethereal from start to finish. A wine of such finesse and quality. Explosive in the mouth. Amazing, a show stopper. I wanted to cry at the beauty of this wine. Sadly it is well over $1000 here in the US. (100 points)

Flight 5: Monforte d’Alba

  • 2019 Poderi Colla Barolo Dardi Le Rose Bussia - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Muted nose of black fruit and spice. Long and rich. Beautiful in the mouth. Rich, balanced with great harmony. A floral note throughout tells me this is going to develop more elegance as it ages. 95-?? (95 points)
  • 2019 Elio Grasso Barolo Gavarini Chiniera - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Black fruit, elegant. No sign of new oak. For my palate, this is the best wine I’ve ever tasted from Grasso. (94 points)
  • 2019 Conterno Fantino Barolo Mosconi Vigna Ped - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Red berries in a sweet chocolate nose. Well made and balanced, but still too much new oak for me. (92 points)

Flight 6: Serralunga d’Alba

Here the dark, rich fruit overwhelms the firm tannins. As ethereal as the previous wines were, I will always have a special love for the added power and intensity of Serralunga.

  • 2019 Massolino Barolo Margheria - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Rich black fruit. Dark and rich. Gorgeous. Elegance and power. 95-? (95 points)
  • 2019 Luigi Baudana Barolo Cerretta - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Vajra is doing such great things with these sites in Serralunga d’Alba. This has power and grace. There is a sweetness of fruit throughout. (96 points)
  • 2019 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cerretta - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    [Roberto said that this is the only single vineyard Barolo he will produce in 2019. All the Francia and Arione went into the 2019 Monfortino.]
    The difference between these two Cerretta wines was subtle. The purity of fruit in the Conterno was just a bit more precise and intense, but the similarities were far greater. Given that this wine is about four times the price of the Baudana Cerretta, I would go for the Baudana. (97 points)

2019 is a great vintage. These wines have gorgeous perfume and a balanced lightness from the nose through the attack and the long finish. I don't think they have the intensity to last as long as fully classic vintages like 2013 or 2016, but they will bring great joy over the next couple of decades. There is more elegance than power.

At lunch:

  • 2004 Fratelli Brovia Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    [From a magnum at the La Festa del Barolo Saturday lunch. This mag was leftover from the Gala dinner the night before. So it had been open at least 20 hours.] Still young, but rich and fragrant. A mix of dark red and black fruit on the nose with hints of spice. Full bodied and rich in the mouth. Long finish. Still needs time, but delicious now, especially with the hamburger. (95 points)

Posted from CellarTracker




Sounds like a great tasting Ken. I’ve liked what I’ve had from '19 quite a lot. There were some who felt it might be too austere but that doesn’t seem to be the case from your notes on this admittedly very top quality lineup.

One question about your note on the Elio Grasso Gavarini. You mention “No sign of new oak.” It was not my understanding that this wine ever saw any new oak. I searched here and didn’t find anything to suggest it did. The traditional/modern thread said that Gavarini and Casa Mate are traditional but Runcot “run[s] modern” without further clarification. Do you have more information on this? Thanks!

This has been discussed a lot. In the past, I have found what tastes to me like new oak in all their wines. People say no, but that has been my experience.

Gotcha. I missed those discussions. I’ve never noticed it, for my part. Not trying to cause the thread to drift just curious.

On the Elio Grasso, they scrape the insides of the botti between uses, which contributes to a slight oak impression on the wines, even though these are large barrels & they are not toasted. In my experience, this fades with time. I also think for some reason, I notice it more on the Casa Mate. I recently tasted the 2008, 2010, and 2013 Gavarini Chiniera and there is no sign of oak whatsoever on those wines (all of which are stunning, especially the '10 and '08).


Great notes! The mint note you mention on Trediberri’s Rocche dell’Annunziata is something I noticed, and something that really stood out to me, in all the vintages I’ve tasted of it so far (four). Great wine.

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Tremendous notes. I’ve only been to one of these events, must return one day. But thanks for sharing with us Ken.

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Thanks Ken. I agree, a great vintage. Different to '16, but as good (maybe even better). I have a lot in my cellar.


Thank you for the excellent notes Ken. Wonderful stuff. I’ve been loving the '19s so far, and I think your description of the vintage as “elegance combined with medium power” is apt, and is a big reason why I’ve been such a fan of the vintage. What the '19s may (slightly) lack in intensity, they more than make up in transparency, perfume, and finesse.

I think you really described the '19 Sandrone Le Vigne’s interesting red fruit character and the smoothness of the finish well, especially in contrast with the brooding, darker '19 Sandrone Aleste. The winemaking at Sandrone is pretty interesting – Barbara Sandrone was presiding over the tasting where I had the '19s, and noted they only do a 12-day maceration for both wines, which may be why the tannins are relatively forgiving (I found the tannins in '19s in general from other producers to be fairly astringent at this point compared to other recent vintages).

I have not had the '19 Alessandria Monvigliero yet, but the '19 Gramolere had an accessibility and polish that seems similar to the way you described the Monvigliero. Still traditional-feeling, but a little slick (not necessarily in a bad way).

And the Baudana wines are truly a treasure – the family is doing wonderful things at that property and not only does keeping the Baudana name honor the legacy of those winemakers, but it will also hopefully keep these wines under the radar for a little bit longer. I find their village Serralungas to be fantastic as well – full of that dark-fruited Serralunga character.

Haven’t cracked open my '19 Burlotto Monviglieros or '19 Trediberri Rocches yet – from the '19s I’ve had so far, I’ve been feeling it might be better to let them sleep. Though this post is a great reminder that I should probably pick up some more from a couple of other producers.

Thanks again for the notes!

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