Paolo Manzone, Serralunga d’Alba
Nothing terribly deep or controversial today, but I’d like to share my first comments on a few Barolos from the 2014 vintage that I tasted during my most recent trip (first week of February) to Piemonte.
I was in Serralunga, my favorite commune in the Barolo zone for several reasons (the friendliness of the producers here is almost unmatched in Italy). This was a quick visit, but I did taste four examples of 2014 Barolo, plus one Langhe Nebbiolo.
These wines will be released later this year, and for the first time in several years, there’s not much excitement about a new Barolo vintage. This because of the difficulties presented by the 2014 growing season in Barolo – and numerous other wine zones in Italy – due to excessive rain. The rainy weather slows things down, and contributes to a situation where the grapes don’t ripen sufficiently in many instances. Quantity is down, and what’s finally made is lighter than normal. Hardly a recipe for greatness.
Yet given all that, is that such a bad thing? 2014 was not a disaster, as the wines are nicely balanced with good varietal character. No, you won’t put these wines away for 20-plus years, but not every vintage is meant for long term cellaring.
Anyway, here are brief tasting notes on Barolos (plus one Langhe Nebbiolo) from two Serralunga producers (and neighbors – their cellars are directly across the road from each other): Paolo Manzone and Ettore Germano:
Paolo Manzone Barolo “Serralunga” 2014 – Beautiful young garnet; aromas of cumin, currant and delicate red spice notes. Medium-full, nicely balanced, rather substantial tannins. Best in 7-10 years.
Paolo Manzone Barolo “Meriame” 2014 – The Meriame Barolo from Manzone, is a cru, located at the estate; the vines were planted in 1948. Deep garnet; aromas of lavender, black cherry and cassis. Light earthiness, medium-weight tannins, excellent persistence. Very good acidity. Very impressive, this is not as complex or as full-bodied as recent vintage such as 2013, 2012 or 2010, but it is an excellent wine nonetheless. Best in 10-12 years.
Ettore Germano Langhe Nebbiolo 2014 – The grapes here are sourced from the famed Vigna Rionda vineyard in Serralunga d’Alba. Alluring sweet cherry aromas; nice freshness, round, medium-weight tannins, very good acidity and lovely balance. Best in 5-7 years.
Ettore Germano Barolo “Ceretta” 2014 – Bright young garnet; light herbal notes (thyme) along with strawberry and cedar aromas. Medium-full with very good concentration; medium-weight tannins, nicely balanced, with good persistence. Best in 7-10 years.
Ettore Germano Barolo “Prapo”2014 – Bright, young garnet; aromas of strawberry and red cherry. Medium-full, very good persistence and acidity; excellent persistence and medium-weight tannins. Quite stylish! Best in 10-12 years. Very impressive, with a nice sense of finesse.