a stellar vintage in 2019 that could very well represent the beginning of a new cycle of strong, outstanding years for this historic appellation. The 2019s are potent, tightly wound wines that will thrill readers who appreciate the nuance, subtlety and structure of Nebbiolo. ANTONIO GALLONI, Vinous.com

The 2019s remind me of the legendary 1989s: An extraordinary vintage from another era that produced Barolos with complexity and unusually ripe fruit for the times but that were also racy and extremely tense. While the ‘89s needed years to fully develop, even at their debut, they promised greatness and longevity. KERIN O'KEEFE

2019 may be the last time an electrifying, fresh and tannic vintage has been gifted to us in Barolo – at least for the foreseeable future. WALTER SPELLER MW, jancisrobinson.com

A couple of our favorite producers -

Mauro Veglio - La Morra

The 2019 wines from Mauro, Daniela and Alessandro Veglio are wines I've tasted from barrel and tank for the last two years and for that entire time I've been waiting to offer them. I've written about the incremental changes that have arrived with nephew Alessandro over the last few vintage offers - longer macerations, vertical ferments, no roto-fermenters, less wood, bigger wood - and my excitement has been growing as I've tasted the 2017's and 2018s. In those wines you could see an evolving style of greater transparency and precision. 

As good as those wines were, I've always felt the 2019 vintage would be the coming out party for the estate. The vintage is a cracker; classic in nature and a showcase of site and variety. Combined with the aforementioned tweaks in vinification, it makes for a double whammy of factors whereby aromatic purity, clarity of site transmission and a generosity of fruit have been amplified to the max. These are undoubtedly the best sets of wines I've seen from the Veglios.

The other thing I love about this story - Mauro has long been one of the most talented winemakers in La Morra. Of all the process, the vineyard is his happy place ( so much so they actually live within the Arborina site alongside mentor Elio Altare) and his skills at producing fruit of the highest quality are known and respected across the communes of Barolo. His stylistic bent has historically been to make wines that sit in the "modern" camp. The wines have always been excellent and even beneath the modern umbrella the character of vineyard is apparent. 

When nephew, Alessandro, was invited to join the estate - 22 hectares of prime Barolo plots on offer so it didn't take him long to say yes - he brought with him a winemaking philosophy that was more nuanced. He has a keen eye/nose for detail in wine. He saw that what was being made here was already great but with a few subtle variations he could make them even better. This is his thing, the winemaking is impeccable, exacting and deeply thought through. Smart chap.

So, without ego Mauro has ceded some control to Alessandro, accepting the new thinking and going with it. I'm not sure he necessarily agrees all the time but I think he understands that it's part of the caper of generational change and that without that change, the estate will stagnate. The other thing is, it leaves him time to concentrate on the vineyards - now with the addition of Alessandro's "dowry" plots and a new vineyard in Serralunga - to deal with.

So what you get is Mauro on producing stellar fruit and Alessandro on winemaking, a kind of Barolo Dream Team! 

One more quick thing. ​​​​When Alessandro added his small stable of vineyards, a small portion of Gattera and a leased plot of Paiagallo underneath the castle in Barolo, it gave the opportunity for a couple of significant changes. Alessandro's piece of Gattera has a  much cooler situation in this sun-trap vineyard to Mauro's piece, so it has been chosen to form the heart of the cru bottling. This change has had big consequences; more energised and transparent aromas and flavours to a point where it's now vying to be one of the best in the range. Mauro's piece now mainly goes into the DOCG Barolo, making that wine even more profound (it already has fruit from Arborina and Castelletto). 

In the case of Paiagallo, this plot provides a snapshot into Alessandro's thinking on style direction. 25 days on skins (the others see an average of 20 days) and elevage only in large cask make for more primary, transparent wine. Wood tannin is replaced by 'wet' fruit tannins that sit within the wine more easily. This wine is already one of the higher scoring crus from amongst the range and the style of production has been employed for the new plot in Serralunga. That wine is wonderful by the way. But again, the plots were probably never going to be leased to the Veglios if it wasn't for Mauro's reputation as a grape grower. Proving again that the sum of the parts is more powerful than the both men individually.

Last year Antonio Galloni has named the estate as one to watch. As he says, this La Morra estate is poised to make a big move under the direction of Alessandro Veglio. This statement is true but it also makes me a little uncomfortable. Mauro has always made brilliant wines, the genius is that he and Daniela have been smart enough to want to preserve their legacy and humble enough to allow new thinking into the cellar. The style changes are subtle and incremental, they preserve the legacy of the past by embracing the future. 

In the 2019 vintage you have the best wines the estate has ever produced, they emphatically underline Galloni's point, but to me it's already out of date, Veglio have already moved to a new level. On top of that they're still superb value in a region that is starting to "embrace" their wine notoriety via some "impressive" price increases. DO NOT MISS! 







Vietti - Castiglione Falletto

Vietti’s 2019s are off the charts. I can’t say I am totally surprised, as I have been following the wines for several years. At the same time, it is one thing to taste wines from barrel and another entirely to see the finished, bottled wines in front of you. I tasted each wine from two bottles, one opened two hours before my arrival and another opened when I arrived. This year, I preferred the opened bottles for most wines. From the first wine to the last, the 2019s possess tremendous depth and purity, along with the deep inflections of site that are what Barolo is all about. Readers who can find these wines should not hesitate, as they are truly magnificent. ANTONIO GALLONI

I can’t think of too many estates in Piedmont that have raised the bar higher than Vietti has over the last decade or so. Virtually every wine that emerges from these cellars is outstanding, and many are profound. Winemaker Luca Currado, his brother-in-law Mario Cordero and their staff have taken the early ground breaking work of Alfredo and Lucia Currado and built upon those successes, reaching an unprecedented level of consistency and quality across their entire range. ANTONIO GALLONI

I've been offering Vietti for so many years I sometimes think everything I write about them is a touch hyperbolic but, then I reflect on the estate, the wines and the people involved, and it's hard not to start pulling out superlatives. That's even more the case with this years releases, the 2019s have received reviews, the like of which I have rarely seen. Obviously, the vintage in general has been highly anticipated and, having tasted many 2019s, it's hard to argue the toss. It's a great vintage. Deal into that fact, Luca Currado's sublime talent as a winemaker, working in peerless sites and, you got a perfect storm to produce greatness.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a nicer bloke than Luca Currado. Despite his family's obvious and almost peerless status within the Barolo firmament, he and wife Elena, remain incredibly generous and kind, as well as passionate about the wines they produce. From Arneis to the greatest Barolo in the stable, every wine appears in a list of the best in the region. Every wine receives the same amount of thought and effort in production. It's been a feature of Currado's tenure - passion, energy, talent. 

The Vietti story is pretty well-known to most of you but for those who might not have the full view of who they are and how they got there, here's an in-a-nutshell version. 

The real key to the Vietti success story revolves around two key points. In the very early days they transformed from farm to be a sole winemaking outfit long before most. At the same time they actively started buying key vineyard land in their own Castiglione Falletto but, unusually for the time, outside in the other communes of Barolo.

Having a stable of "grand cru" sites across the zones has been a pivotal part of their success. It's something that would be largely impossible in this day and age due to the value of the land. Holdings in Brunate, Rocche di Castiglione, Villero, Ravera, Cerequio, etc etc. It's literally a roll call of the best sites in the region. 

The second aspect has been the people and in particular, Alfredo Currado who shaped the estate's success before handing over the reins to his incredibly talented son, Luca, who has continued to push quality to great and greater heights. To have two of the region's all time greatest winemakers in one family and back-t-back is incredible and has undoubtedly been such an important part of making Vietti what it is today. 

OK, let's talk about the Baroli in the stable. The 'Castiglione' Barolo is a remarkable wine. Because Vietti have such fantastic holdings, they're able to choose fruit from across important holdings to produce this "entry-level" blend - their interpretation of a classic Barolo. For any other producer the fruit that goes into this wine would end up in a single cru bottling. It's one of the great bargains of world wine, not just Barolo. 

From here, things enter the stratosphere with single-vineyard wines from Rocche di Castiglione, Villero (only riserva), Brunate, Ravera, Lazzarito, Masseria Roncaglia in Barbaresco and more recently Cerquio and Monvigliero. 

They're all made more or less identically. In the past elevage would be mostly large cask and a little barrique but in the case of the 2018s, everything was done in cask and maceration on skins ranged into the three week zone for most crus. The beauty of this approach means the individual vineyard characteristics are front and centre in the glass. It's an education on what makes each commune and site tick to taste them all at once. Beyond that intellectual aspect though, the wines are brilliant and deserve to be in the company of the greatest in the region.

As usual, I have very little of most of these wines. Certainly enough of the Castiglione to do a good six-pack price but for the others, the limits speak of tiny amounts I have. One nice thing this year though is access to some larger formats. Not always available to me so if you foresee a celebration in ten years or so then grab one. 

Barolo 2019 Full stock list