2017 Vietti, Barolo DOCG, Lazzarito, Piedmonte, Italy.
One of the greats of Barolo, View’s Lazzarito never fails to disappoint and this 2017 is a stunning wine, tasted at this year’s Slow Wine tasting in San Francisco, it was one of the wines of the show with incredible depth, complexity and purity of flavor, it delivers a knock out performance, especially considering the vintage conditions. The 2017 is a powerhouse of classic Nebbiolo showing branded Italian cherries, plum, red currant and strawberry fruits on the full bodied and structured palate, accented by balsamic notes, iron, cedar, licorice and wild herbs. The tannins are firm, but allow seamless enjoyment even in such a young wine and melt away with food, while aromatics lean toward lavender and rose petals along with leather and sandalwood, all making for impactful and gorgeous wine. Vietti, originally founded back in 1873, is now owned by Americans, the Krause family, but the wines are still made by the legendary Luca Currado (Vietti) and these are some of the best wines in the region, with this Lazzarito being the flagship wine, and the 2017 version might be one of the wines of the vintage, it is a truly stunning Barolo. While most people would agree the 2010 and 2016 vintages are Barolos for the long term, 2013 and 2017 are fine vintages to enjoy in the more near term, though they still are top notch in terms of complexity and pleasure, and for savvy buyers they might be a bit less expensive and more available, with this Lazzarito lacking for nothing, with its muscular presence, aromatics and elegant length, it is hard not to swoon when tasting this edition. I think extra care was given here to make such an incredible wine as the year was searingly hot in the region and the yields were dramatically reduced to ensure the resulting quality found here. This year’s Slow Wine tasting in San Francisco was a showcase of the glories of Piedmonte and the Nebbiolo grape with many stars on display, with Vietti’s being some of the standouts on the day.

Having tasted through most of the Vietti collection of Barolo wines, I find their Lazzarito cru bottling singular and iconic, it usually tops my list in their exceptional lineup. This 2017 vintage is proof of the quality here at Lazzarito, and it is not far off the brilliant 2016, one of my favorite years since the mighty 2010s and 2006s, and the Lazzarito impresses with every sip and will please Nebbiolo lovers for many years to come. Located, as the winery notes, at a top of hill near Serralunga, the Lazzarito vineyard, which is now all organically farmed, is set in a historic site long known for its fresh air and favorable exposition, making for Nebbiolo of density, gripping structure, but with loads of natural acidity and beautiful perfumed fruit. Located in the Eastern part of the Barolo region, wines from this vineyard, the winery continues, are best known for their more “masculine” style, with intensity and powerful, which is true to the territory and Barolo, as it is also known as the King of Wines. This epic Barolo comes from mature vines, planted in 1983 on clay and limestone, this along with the climate here make for Nebbiolo of Grand Cru quality, think Mazi-Chambertin! Luca Currado does a natural yeast fermentation and cool maceration with the Lazzarito then seeing close to 30 months in cask, which vary slightly with each vintage’s nuances, with a combination of small French barriques and traditional large Slovenian casks employed. People were concerned when Vietti sold recently, but I can tell you that so far there is absolutely nothing to worry about with the quality of the wines, in fact they are even more precise than they have ever been and the future looks secure. This winery is one of Piedmonte’s best and continues to lead with pride and passion, this Lazzarito Barolo is a masterpiece and helps cements Vietti’s place in the regions elite producers. I hope to re-visit this Lazzarito in the future to see how it progresses, in the meantime I will drink Vietti’s “Perbacco” Langhe Nebbiolo, which is one of the best values and a great way to start exploring the Vietti wines.
($175 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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