Traditional vs. Modern Barolo / Barbaresco

Like many producers, they experimented with new French barrels in the '90s and early '00s. When I visited them in 2006, they still had some barriques (I don’t think any were newer than 3 years IIRC?) but weren’t buying more and were in the process of going back to more traditional vinification methods.

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I think it is time to move Azelia from Modernist to Formerly Modernist now Traditional. I visited with Lorenzo Scavino last Thursday and tasted through their 2017 vintage (along with their 2010 Riserva from Bricco Voghera). All cru Barolo (not just Margheria and Bricco Voghera) are aged in botti and all of them are fermented for 55-60 days. The quality of the 2017 vintage is exceptional, particularly in view of the extremely dry season, owing to the age of their vines.

Jeff, thanks for this information. I have updated the list.

Thanks Pat. And I should not ascribe the success of the 2017 vintage solely to the age of the Azelia vines. Luigi Scavino and his son, Lorenzo, are dogged perfectionists, particularly in the vineyard. Luigi, himself, prunes Bricco Voghera each winter. It is about 3500 vines and literally takes him all winter to finish.

Thanks for the info. For what it’s worth, I think Paitin stopped working with De Grazia at some point in the mid-2000s.

Paitin or Azelia?

Paitin. I edited my post to make that clearer.

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Coincidence, but I just opened my last 2005 Paitin Barbaresco Serra a couple of days ago and it was very good. Bought three in 2009 at Binny’s and it must have been an importer or wholesaler change blowout because when I looked up the price and it was $17! I hope I only bought three because that was all they had, and if not, a major screw up on my part…

Rotofermenters are tools that can be programmed to handle the must during fermentation in a number of ways; they are drum-shaped, with paddles inside, rather like large cement mixers. Alfio Cavalotto’s intention is to use long macerations to create classic ‘70% dark chocolate’ texture in his wines; he uses the roto-fermenter because he feels that the paddles break up the cap effectively but gently. This is entirely different from the common use of roto-fermenters in the '90s, where the whole point was to create an entirely different texture in the wines (not to mention that a high % of new French barriques followed). My experience of Cavalotto wines is that he has succeeded.

As this thread has shown, a ton of producers went to roto-fermenter/barrique winemaking in the '90s, and a very large number of them have since recanted and gone back to their roots. Mel Knox the barrel-meister once speculated that every wine type might have an appropriate kind of barrel, and I think he’s right.

Interesting. I knew Margheria did not see Barrique along with the Riserva I think? How long has it been since the San Rocco and Bricco Fiasco have been aged in larger wood?

Either the 2016 or 2017 vintage, I think. When I last visited in 2019, they were down to 10% used barrique for San Rocco and Bricco Fiasco.

Mel Knox the barrel-meister once speculated that every wine type might have an appropriate kind of barrel, and I think he’s right.

This is interesting. Case in point was the cellar at Azelia. They have cru Barolo aging in botti made by Gamba (in Asti), Garbellotto (in Veneto) and Stockinger (in Austria). There appears to be a philosophy there of using a particular barrel with a particular cru.

Do I recall that Cavalotto uses them at a very slow speed?

Yes - this is what I was told when visiting back in the fall of 2019. I think it was only a couple rotations per day.

Exactly, I think only one or two turns a day. Not like a cement mixer, in other words.

Cadia is definitively modern, with barriques and very short maceration times

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

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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.”

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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.