2015 Lapo Berti, Barolo DOCG, Del Comune di La Morra, Piedmonte, Italy.
The Barolo from the Lapo Berti winery in La Morra is one of the most exciting tiny production wines in this famous region and stellar buy, with this 2015 being a ripe and soft tannined version, making it a serious Nebbiolo that can be enjoyed in its young. This traditionally hand crafted Barolo, that is sourced from small Cru parcels in the La Morra zone, delivers classic Nebbiolo flavors and a sense of place that lets you exactly what this wine is with beautiful supple layers of vintage’s dense and expressive fruit along with subtle earthy elements, sweet herbs, a light cedar/sandalwood note and a porporri of wilted flowers. The 2015 is more overt than the other vintages I’ve tried, but it is not full of heat and or no less event either with pretty black cherry, damson plum, raspberry and a touch of strawberry fruits, chalky stones, saline infused black licorice, amaro/liqueur and a bit of violets. I was convinced to add this label to my yearly rotation of Piedmonte wines by the fact that Oregon winemaking legend John Paul of Cameron Winery actually imports this wine and tries his best to secure the whole production in good years, such devotion, certainly made me more intrigued and I have not been disappointed, especially with the 2013 and this 2015 wines, and I am really excited to see what the 2016 is like, being from a vintage of note, it might be a Barolo worth patiently waiting for and stocking up on, while this 2015 is one to enjoy in the near term. This wine does open up with air, gaining a bit more of a rustic and pure Barolo character, which makes having some good food with it a must to appreciate its full potential.

The Lapo Berti Barolo, as noted, sourced from the Commune of La Morra, and from, notably, the two historic Cru parcels of Bricco Rocca and Fossati, which gives this wine some significant pedigree and prestige in its terroir. This old school Barolo was produced using natural winemaking methods and the carefully sorted and de-stemmed Nebbiolo grapes were fermented with indigenous yeasts with absolutely no additions during the process, seeing very low amounts of sulphites. The Barolo was treated to a gentile and cool maceration period to get a full extraction of flavor, but without a harsh upper cut of tannin, and the wine aged close to two years in neutral barrels in the cellar to allow the wine to develop its satiny mouth feel. According to the winery, the vines are set on the classic sandy marl (limestone and clay) soils, in prime hillside sites with perfect southern exposures, with Fossati giving the wine its inner beauty, textural pleasure and ripe tannin, while the Bricco Rocca brings a feeling of elegance, and in this vintage in particular a heavenly weightlessness, plus its focused detailing and minerality. This deep garnet Lapo Berti impresses for how wonderfully drinkable it is already, though I suspect this wine will firm up when it loses some of its baby fat and should prove nicely rewarding for a decade, if you don’t drink it all up, like I most certainly will. John Paul, who also makes a series of Italian style wines in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, as well as his famous Cameron Pinot Noir(s), including a fantastic example of Nebbiolo, is a noted Barolo enthusiast and searched out this excellent wine and brought it over at a very reasonable price, I highly recommend this singular Barolo.
($49 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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