2016 Enrico Serafino, Barolo DOCG, Monclivio, Piedmonte, Italy.
This winery and label has recently burst back on to the scene, now run by the same group that owns Vietti and with winemaker Paolo Giacosa crafting the wines it is getting some well deserved attention, especially their 2016 Barolo offerings, with this Monclivio Barolo bottling being one that really stood out to me in a recent tasting. This Canale based winery, is located in a picturesque landscape, as the winery itself notes, it is set in the famous Langhe hills across the Tanaro River in the northeast part of Cuneo Province, with Monferrato to the east, this area of Roero and Langhe are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site for their beauty and their winemaking traditions. The Monclivio is sourced from all sustainable grapes from the communes of Castiglione Falletto, La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, and Serralunga d’Alba, all of which are prime location on the classic clay and limestone Helvetian soils that allow for depth, richness and powerful structure, as this wine clearly displays. The full bodied palate is dense with fruit concentration and youthfully tannic, but remarkably supple and luxurious showing red berry, damson plum, black cherry and mulberry fruits, along with subtle game, black licorice, cedary wood and hoisin notes. This garnet/ruby colored Barolo is a ripe and mouth filling Nebbiolo wine, pays a nice tribute to its place and the vintage, and is best served with hearty foods, perfect for the Fall and Winter cuisine options to come, and it should continue to age well for another 7 to 10 years. There is a lot to admire here in this well made wine and I am glad I got to taste through their latest set of wines, these Enrico Serafino efforts, which were new to me, are all quality examples and pretty solid values too with clean flavor profiles and expressive personalities.

The Enrico Serafino winery, in the Roero, is the oldest in the region and was founded in Canale d’Alba back in 1878, so has been continuously making wines here in its original location for 140 years now and interestingly is most famous for its Champagne style sparkling wines, though they have long made serious Barolo, like this beautiful and complex Monclivio version from the fantastic 2016 vintage. These metodo classico sparkling wines, which they have made since the late 1800s were crafted using the same process mastered in Champagne only a couple of decades earlier, and pioneered these methods and technologies that were just starting to be available outside of the Champagne region at the time. The winery’s long history of making Barolo in Canale, and good reputation such that the Enrico Serafino winery has been grandfathered in as an exception to the rule that doesn’t allow producers vinify Barolo outside the limits of the Barolo DOCG. In the past this estate did a wide array of wines from Gavi (Cortese grapes) to Alta Langhe grapes for the bubbly, as well as classic Nebbiolo, Pinot Nero, smaller amounts of Arneis and Chardonnay and today the winery owns 25 acres of Barolo vineyards in the renowned areas of Serralunga, Monforte d’Alba, and Castiglione Falletto, along with a traditional Barbera d’Alba. The winemaking employed on this Barolo was pretty standard with 100% de-stemmed grapes fermented with a selected culture (yeast) and macerated for about three weeks before being rack to a combination of small and large oak casks, including some French 225-liter barriques. Then this Monclivio selection was aged for 24 months in the wood, after which it was bottled and rested a further six months before being released with about 3,000 cases made. This wine, plus their Brut style Alta Langa “Oudeis” bubbly (80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay) impressed me and are well worth teaching out.
($49 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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