Traditional vs. Modern Barolo / Barbaresco

Fontanafredda: You are correct.

Cantina del Pino: I see no evidence that barriques are in use.

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The website states clearly that small oak barrels are in use. Moved to modern.

Renato Vaca of Cantina del Pino on I’ll Drink to That says that the first year juice goes into small barrels. After a year it is then switched to the big boys.

BTW I love this thread and the chart on the first post. Great work.

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Thank you, I will move Cantina del Pino

I admit to being partly wrong here. The single-vineyard wines are partly aged in barriques. For the Marcenasco (which is an ancient name corresponding to what is today known as Annunziata), only botti are used. So in this case, it depends on which bottling we are talking about.

I have learnt never to trust the translated version of the home page, particularly when it comes to the technical details. It frequently happens that the English version is out of date or wrongly translated. Have a look here and you’ll see that all Barolo from Terre del Barolo are aged in botti only:

I am aware that the classification is based on what methods are used. What I said about that was the following:

“With the exception of the Vallegrande, fermentation/maceration lasts for one to two months. And none of the three Barbarescos that I have tried display any obvious oaky notes although the wood regime varies: botti only for the Vallegrande, a mix of botti and tonneaux for the Asili, and tonneaux of third or fourth passage for the Pora. The Marcorino sees a mix of barrels, like the Asili, and the Asili Riserva is aged in tonneaux of second and third passage.”

This is based on the Italian version of the home page, which you find here:

In other words, no barriques are used, only tonneaux in some cases, which are roughly twice the size of a barrique. These are not new but used (second to fourth passage, except, possibly for the Marcorino where there is no information about the matter). That smaller barrels are at all used may in this case be a matter of practical necessity more than anything else. For wines that are made in small quantities, you simply can’t use big barrels. And wines produced in sufficient quantity to fill one big barrel may not fill two so that the rest has to go into smaller ones. I am sure all the wineries, even the most traditional ones, use some smaller barrels to handle problems of this kind. As to fermentation/maceration, it is at least a month for all bottlings except the Vallegrande.

As I pointed out, both the fermentation/maceration time and the wood regime vary depending on which bottling we are talking about. The Barolo Serralunga ages in botti only, the Cerrati ages partly in small barrels (probably tonneaux) of the third passage and partly in botti, and the Cerrati Vigna Cucco ages in barriques. I therefore suggest that you put this winery into the category “Variable by individual wine”.

And again, I am well aware of what the classification is based on. Yes tonneaux is used for the Barbaresco which puts the winery on the modernist side and botti is used for the Barolo which puts it on the traditional side. So I suggest that you put this winery too into the category “Variable by individual wine”.

Yes, smaller barrels (400 liters) are used for the Riserva according to the home page. Again, this may be for no other reason than the quantity being too small to fill a large barrel. At any rate, this is on the whole not a modernist producer and should be placed closer to the traditional end.

Yes, maceration is rather short as I mentioned. The Italian version of the home page says “botti”, which almost always means large barrels. Allier is the region in France where the oak comes from. Even some of the most traditional producers now prefer to get the oak for their large barrels from places other than Slavonia. When I visited Burlotto a couple of years ago, Fabio told me that he now prefers to get his botti from France since the quality of the wood from there is better. According to him, the French carefully tend their oak plantings so that wood of the proper kind is always available. The Slavonians tend to be more sloppy about that, and as a result, the quality is lower.

Don’t know what you mean by small botti. According to the home page, the botti used vary in size from 15 to 30 hl, which is the normal range for botti size. Fermentation/maceration is short, as I mentioned. How to classify is your call in the end, but if I were you, I would (for reasons mentioned in my first reply to you) pay more attention to the wood regime than the fermentation/maceration time (where the time is just one of several parameters that affect the outcome and therefore has no straightforward relationship with how much of what is extracted). “Lean traditional” would in my view be more appropriate in this case than “median”.

No you didn’t miss it if you looked at the home page. It doesn’t go into detail on the wood regime. But it is well known based on other sources that they use barriques. Let me know if you need help digging up a reasonable source.

Same story here. It is not mentioned on the home page but well know based on other sources.

Can you please provide a link to the place where the Prinsi website says that. As I mentioned, the home page was being revised when I posted my first reply so I couldn’t check. When I tried again today, it was still under maintenance so that no information about the wine-making technique is available.

Anders, Thanks for taking the time to reply. You seem right on a few of these where I used the translated version of the webpage. It hadn’t occurred to me that it would be out of date. I will take another look at those you offer more details on and move them as appropriate.

For Prinsi, see Philosophy on

David, I agree 100% - Pat (and his erstwhile consigliere, Bill Klapp) have done yeoman’s work in putting this classification together, and Pat deserves serious credit for continually revising/updating it.

If one desired a “pocket” guide to Piemonte’s producers, I can’t imagine a better resource. [cheers.gif] [welldone.gif]

OK. But that might be out of date. I managed to find the English (regrettably not the Italian) version of the technical specifications that one could previously see via Prinsi’s home page. See here:

As you can see, they talk about casks (which is a bit unspecific but if they were barriques, I think they would have said so). Furthermore, they mention that the wood is at least partly from Slavonia, and I have never heard of Slavonian barriques being used in the Langhe (although I can’t guarantee that they don’t exist).

Furthermore, as I mentioned, I can’t sense any new wood in the two Barbarescos from here that I am familiar with (Gaia Principe and Gallina). Not sure about the Fausone Riserva since I have tried that only once and pretty long ago. Just remember that I didn’t care so much for that one. I tasted the Gaia Principe 2008 only a week or so ago and could not find any clear signs of new oak although I paid particular attention to it.

We’ll see what we can find when their web site is back in business.

Fair enough, I’ll move them to unknown for now.

Any chance of someone taking a stab at this for Bordeaux? :slight_smile:

Oh god… in other words… let’s not go there!

Opened a bottle of Reverdito Barolo 2010 this evening, this should be firmly classified in the modernist camp, the fruit is masked by lots of sweet vanilla oak, very little Nebbiolo tannin structure to speak of.


great job here but maybe too much work went into this. Take the Galloni’s scores on Barbaresco 2013/2014 and pick the top 20 wines. Those are all modernists. Fatto. No sweat. The guy has no shame.

Hmm. Is that the Barolo “normale” you are talking about? According to Reverdito’s U.S. importer, it ages in “botti grande” only.

And according to Danish importer/distributor Erik Sørensen, it macerates for 60 days:

British importer Thorman Hunt says:

“A truly stellar estate! Michele just gets better and better. He has taken on Bruno Giacosa’s former (and now current again) winemaker as his oenologist, Dante Scaglione. He’s also completely stopped using barriques, and now ages his wines in 3000, 4000 and 5000 litre botte.”

As a non-subscriber, I can’t see the tasting notes or scores for individual wines. But based on the information I can see here, the article mentions 31 producers of which I’d consider the following 12 to belong, wholly or mainly, to the traditional camp: Albino Rocca, Bruno Giacosa, Rizzi, Cascina delle Rose, Elvio Cogno, Giuseppe Cortese, La Ca’ Növa, Paitin, Poderi Colla, Produttori del Barbaresco, Roagna, and Serafino Rivella. Are you saying that none of these had an entry among the top 20?

Reverdito used to be barriques entirely, presumably he’s moving to more traditional methods. The photo on Weygandt’s page shows only barriques, amusingly.

No Reverdito was never barriques only. The first vintage produced by Michele and his sister Sabina was 2000. I first visited the cantina in 2005, when the 2001 vintage was on offer. At that point, they offered only two Baroli. The Bricco Cogni, aged in barriques, and the Moncucco, aged in “botti grande”. We were shown around in the “cantina” and the barriques were in a small, separate room, which might be where the photo on Weygandt’s page was taken. The major cellar hall, where the Thorman Hunt picture was shot, houses most of the botti.

From that early point on, their Barolo range has expanded considerably to include “normale” (possibly also village-specific blends), Ascheri (which may be just a new name for Moncucco, the latter not being an MGA zone), Badarina, Boscatto, Castagni (previously named Codane), Riva Rocca, and San Giacomo. And for at least some of these (e.g., Badarina and Castagni/Codane) production started more than 10 years ago. Their home page is under reconstruction at the moment so I can’t check what the Reverditos themselves have to say. But my guess, based on at least partial knowledge, is that none of the wines added after the first two are or were aged in barriques and it could be, as the report from Thorman Hunt suggests, that they have now moved the Bricco Cogni to botti too.

Just double checked, it was the Reverdito “Riva Rocca” Barolo 2010, not the normale.

Thanks. Off hand, I have no data specifically on that bottling, stemming from one of the best vineyards in Verduno outside of Monvigliero (the most famous Verduno cru). What I do know is that it’s a pretty late arrival in the Reverdito portfolio, 2010 being if not the first so at least one of the first releases. And I don’t think they’d put it in barriques at that point, particularly since this is quite some time past the heyday of the modernist movement to which I never felt they were committed in the first place. That doesn’t mean that I question your perceptions of the wine. Vanilla scents can be produced naturally in red wine and isn’t necessarily due to new oak.