Traditional vs. Modern Barolo / Barbaresco

Thank you for the info. I’ve updated the list.


Just found this thread and wanted to say “thank you” Pat for putting this list together and keeping it current.


Great thread. Regarding the Luigi Pira Vignarionda (Vigna Rionda), per the WA review of the 2016 “It is partially aged in French barrique and partially in botte grande.”


Claudio Boggione Barolo Brunate 2015 : 16,5/20 - 8/4/2022
Boisé, fumé. Rude, terreux, concentré/tannique. Senteurs de goudron et rose. Viril (amer, astringent). Pas facile de trancher entre nebbiolo et sangiovese (Brunello). Attendre quelques années pour le boire.

Has anyone got any tweezers to help Laurent remove the splinters from that wine [wink.gif]


This important thread doesn’t seem to have been updated in a while.

As per the website, Gillardi uses large Slavonian oak botti. Their importer says 20hL botti. (For comparison Francesco Rinaldi uses 50hL, Burlotto uses 35-50hL. Vajra uses 25-50hL). Given Kevin’s note that the 2013 was early drinking, I think Gillardi (which is currently listed as Info not available) should likely be on the Lean Traditional list (maybe with a note that it could me Median) unless anyone objects.

Once you’re at 20hL (2,000 liters), wood shouldn’t be a factor in the wine, and the size of the relative size of the botti shouldn’t determine if the producer is a modernist or not. For small producers, the size of the botti may be determined by the size of their production. They may simply not have enough for a 35hl or 40hl tank.

Of course, there are other factors that could explain the openness of the '13 – shorter maceration time, for example – that might qualify as more modern.


Cascina Cucco, which is listed as Modernist and has now been called Tenuta Cucco for over a decade, should be Variable by individual wine, as pointed out by Anders above.
Specifically (unless anyone objects):

  • Barolo Cerrati - modern (20-25 days maceration, French barrels 1 year and Botti 1 year)
  • Barolo Cerrati Vigna Cucco Riserva - modern (30 day maceration, French barrels 3 years)
  • Barolo del Comune di Serralunga d’Alba - median (or lean traditional?) (destemmed, 10-day fermentation followed by 8-10 day submerged cap maceration, followed by rackings for a few days, then 25hL Slavonian oak botti 2 years) details here
  • Barolo Bricco Voghera - traditional (lean?) (destemmed, 3-day fermentation followed by 30 day maceration, then 25hL Slavonian oak botti 30 months) details here

So Lean Traditional for Gillardi without a note until anyone comes up with more info?

Cellar size is also a factor.

Will update op when i have a moment.

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Philosophical question: How can a Barolo (or Barbaresco) winemaker/winery be considered traditional if they fuck around experimenting with small, new oak, shorter maceration times, and other ‘modernist’ interventions for any of its wines?

That’s a different question. I believe the thread is about traditionalist/modernist Barbaresco and Barolo wines, not wineries. Most producers usually stick with either a modernist or traditionalist style, or somewhere in-between, so it’s easy to list them just by the winery; but if some producers make all sorts of styles, including both modernist and thoroughly classical in style, I’f be happy to see them listed under “variable by wine”.

That’s quite the question Mark. I’ll give a stab at an answer.

The list at hand is…

So, more than about the producer, it’s about the wine. Many businesses have product lines in the same category that are stylistically divergent. Hotel chains with all sorts of brand concepts come to mind.

To me, the relevant categorization forum readers need is based on what they’ll find in the glass, and if an otherwise modern producer makes one or some cuvées traditionally, then that should be noted. I could be wrong, but I don’t think you’d object to categorization if they split the product lines into two different brands, one traditional and one modern, even if behind the scenes the same people were doing all the work in both. (I’d probably do that if I were them.) So, it’s not about the who, it’s about the what.

Also, experimenting shouldn’t be completely ruled out of traditional Barolo/Barbaresco winemaking. While wood (especially relatively small new wood) is the hallmark of modernists, surely there is some leeway in tradition as to other matters. Maceration times have traditionally been 21 to 30 days, but some did up to 50 or 60 (not sure if this was an innovation or not), and modernists did 14 or fewer? Where do we draw the line? Why?

How about punch-downs or pump-overs? At Bartolo Mascarello they only to pump-overs. Burlotto (on the list as traditional though there was some debate) actually varies. They use “large” French oak (unclear how large) instead of Slavonian for maturing the Castelletto, the Cannubi and the normale, and Allier oak for the Acclivi. (Until apparently 2015 their Cannubi was even more modern with smaller barrels, as Anders pointed out back then.) All are destemmed. Pump-overs and “delicate” punch downs are used. And temperature is controlled during fermentation. But in the Monvigliero they press whole clusters by foot, have a 60 day maceration, no temperature control noted during fermentation, no mention of either pump overs or punch-downs but I presume at least pump-overs, and use Slavonian and Allier oak. That’s as traditional as it gets.

If I were to classify Burlotto, I’d say Lean Traditional or maybe even Median, but then I’d note that the Monvigliero is the most traditional of any Barolo wine. Others might say that, especially given the Cannubi tonneaux experiment seems to be over, that they are traditional in their soul because they produce the Monvigliero but that they need to sell wines and some accommodation is needed. The latter seem to have won here.

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As prefaced, mine was a philosophical question, which both Guillermo and you acknowledged then answered by discussing what the thread topic is about, which was not my question.

So, I’ll ask again: can Barolo/Barbaresco PRODUCERS be traditional when they fuck around with small barrels, new oak, short macerations, rotofermenters, and other modernist interventions with some of its wines? Yes or no?

To me, the answer is a resounding NO. I don’t trust modernists who would put a drop of Nebbiolo in small/new wood, let alone subject their grapes and juice to those other non-traditional methods of wine making and raising. What’s next? Wood chips to obtain a Nebbiolo chocolate milkshake texture?

At the risk of forcing people to scroll too much, the truth is I tried to give both answers in one. Here is the excerpt with the answer you perhaps wanted.

In short, I agree with you that certain practices automatically move a producer from the traditional camp even despite producing one or more traditional wines. What is unclear to me is exactly where to draw the line because some level of experimenting should be allowed.

Isn’t Vietti a case of a traditional producer who has experimented with modernist techniques (barrique) with some of their crus?

You also answered a question I didn’t ask.

Is Vietti properly considered to be a traditional producer when it makes (some) chocolate milkshake wines in small, new oak?

Allow experimentation all you want. Just don’t call the experiments Barolo or Barbaresco. Call them Langhe Oakjuice Milkshakes or something. Yes, I’m absolutely in favor of changing the DOC rules.

No unsuspecting consumer should be subject to uncertainty whether the Barolo/Barbaresco they are considering buying is contaminated with that filth.

Yes, I’m being hyperbolic. But we protect all sorts of cultural icons, why not protect the nectar of the gods from new/small oak and other winemaking/elevage shortcuts?

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Your question presumed an internal differentiation within Barolo and Barbaresco producers.

Now you’ve shifted to kicking them out of the appelation.

But that would be a first to my knowledge because appelation rules apply to wines and not to entire producers. As long as the individual wine complies, it doesn’t matter if other wines in the stable don’t.

So you’ve changed your philosophical question about producers to a very impractical rule not only about producers but about wines that would otherwise qualify under your criteria except for the person who made them.

How much leeway in your view does a Barolo producer get in each winemaking step specifically?

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