Monchiero 2016 Barolo 'Montanello'

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Monchiero is our favourite under-the-radar Barolo producer, a 2nd generation family estate based in Castiglione Falletto with vineyards in some of the commune's top vineyards including Rocche di Castiglione. This is their Montanello which is a less famous vineyard, but also a great site, south-west facing, just below Bricco Boschis. The 2016s here are fantastic; being a traditonal producer with long macerations and ageing in large Slavonian casks, their wines in vintages like this can take a little longer to show their best. At the moment the wine shows beautiful purity, elegance and restrained power with notes of hedgerows, bitter black fruits, saddle leather and subtle spices, with high note of roses. This is best kept in the cellar for a few years yet, just to let the flavours develop a little further, but this is an absolute beauty, no doubt.

Italy | Piedmont | Barolo | Monchiero | 100% Nebbiolo | ABV 14.5% | Drink 2023 - 2032+

The Wine Region



Piedmont is, without fear of contradiction, Italy's most exciting wine region. Home to Barolo and Barbaresco, two of Italy's finest and most long-lived wines, being the ultimate expression of the world's greatest grape variety: Nebbiolo. OK, I might be going a bit far with that one, but it's my favourite. This variety has, perhaps even more so than Pinot Noir, an in-built ability to transmit its terroir into the glass with laser-like precision and clarity. Perhaps this is why there are 170 named, single-vineyards in Barolo alone (what we now call the Menzioni Geografiche Aggiuntive, or MGAs for short). Barolo is, without doubt, worthy of its title, 'The King of Wines, The Wine of Kings'.

The hills of The Langhe, where Barolo and Barbaresco are found, is also home to other wonderful varieties: Dolcetto is a delight when the winemaker can get the balance of tannins correct, Dogliani being the favoured zone; Barbera is juicy and fruitful with many examples reaching lofty heights of quality; Freisa is light but deliciously complex. There are white varieties too: Arneis is making some kind of come back, since it nearly disappeared entirely: Favorita is the local version of Vermentino; and of course, who could forget Moscato?

Elsewhere, the wines which are receiving the most attention, are those of Alto Piemonte: Gattinara, Ghemme, Sizzano, Fara and many other microscopic DOCs where you can often find pure Nebbiolos, or ocassionally mixed up with Vespolina and Uva Rara. These are not the 'poor man's Barolo', these are distinct wines, worthy of merit. There is also the ubiquitous Gavi di Gavi, one of the few Italian whites with a household name.

The Producer



Monchiero is, in my opinion, perhaps Barolo's greatest under-the-radar producer. This winery dates back to 1971 and owns vineyards in some of Barolo's most prestigious crus, notably Rocche di Castiglione, a precipitous south-east facing site in Castiglione Falletto that borders Bussia at its southerly edge. Monchiero is ultra-traditional in its winemaking philosophy with very long macerations which is a gentle in its extraction but brings out the best in Nebbiolo.

The Sub-Region



Barolo is a the home to some of Italy's greatest wines and spiritual homeland of Nebbiolo. The vineyard is roughly 2,000 hectares of rolling hills in the province of Cuneo in Piedmont, in the hills known as The Langhe.

The DOCG (denominazione di origine controllata garantita) covers 11 communes: 5 major ones of Barolo, La Morra, Monforte d'Alba, Serralunga d'Alba and Castiglione Falletto; then 6 minor ones of Novello, Verduno, Grinzane Cavour, Diano d'Alba, Roddi and Cherasco, the latter two only having one vineyard each. These communes are then further fractioned down into 171 single vineyard sites, known locally as Menzioni Geografiche Aggiuntive (MGAs), a rather awkward expression for what we used to call the 'Crus'. Having an MGA associated with the name of the wine is a signal that the wine has elevated quality, and most top Barolos, barring a few exceptions, are produced and named this way.

We normally carry a wide range of wine from here, with a focus on a core of producers. Monchiero is one of our favourites, an ultra-traditional producer who uses long macerations and ages the wines only in large Slavonian oak casks. We have their single vineyard Barolos from Montanello, Roere di Santa Maria and occasionally Rocche di Casteglione. The historic producer Luigi Einaudi has fantastic vineyards in a few of Barolo's communes, we tend to favour their Terlo Vigna Costa Grimaldi from the commune of Barolo, but we are anticipating the release of their debut vintage of Monvigliero from Verduno.

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