13 Splurge-Worthy Piedmont Reds


If you’re looking for big ticket gifts for the bottle-hoarding oenophile in your life, look no further than Piedmont. These 13 iconic Nebbiolo bottlings from the region—tasted and reviewed by Italian Editor Kerin O’Keefe—are highly rated and designated Cellar Selections, meaning they’re destined for beautiful, long-lived futures.

Roagna 2004 Crichët Pajè (Barbaresco), $550; 99 points
Leather, rose, blue flower, balsamic notes, mineral, black cherry, baking spice and thyme are just some of the sensations offered by this breathtakingly gorgeous wine that boasts power and finesse. At 10, it’s still shockingly youthful and vibrant, with great depth and balance, but it still has years to go. Drink 2020–2044.

Gaja 2010 Conteisa (Langhe), $240; 97 points
Made with Nebbiolo from Gaja’s holdings in the Cerequio vineyard in La Morra, with a touch of Barbera, this combines finesse, structure and depth. It’s highly perfumed with rose, balsamic notes, berry and spice that follow through to red cherry, raspberry, white pepper, licorice and mint flavors. It’s balanced with polished tannins and closes on a mineral note. Cellar Selection.  
Abv: 14%

Massolino 2008 Vigna Rionda Riserva (Barolo), $140; 97 points
From one of the most hallowed vineyard sites in Barolo, this structured, compelling wine opens with aromas of ripe black cherry, leather, anisette, cooking spices and balsamic notes. The vibrant palate weaves together dark cherry, black raspberry, licorice, mint and black pepper alongside brooding, bracing tannins. It’s already impressive but will continue to to evolve for decades. Drink 2018–2033.

Mascarello Giuseppe e Figlio 2009 Monprivato (Barolo), $99; 96 points
One of Barolo’s most iconic bottlings, this shows breeding and elegance despite the extreme heat of the vintage. A beautiful fragrance of red rose, violet and perfumed berry accompanies a whiff of cake spices. The silky palate delivers succulent wild cherry, licorice, white pepper and cinnamon impeccably balanced by supple tannins and fresh acidity. Drink 2017–2029.

Principiano Ferdinando 2008 Boscareto (Barolo), $85; 96 points
Made from vines that are more than 40 years old and cultivated using only natural methods, this wine embodies power and finesse. It opens with aromas of leather, menthol, ripe black cherry, blackberry, black pepper and eucalyptus. The structured palate delivers layers of mature berry, baking spice, mineral, truffle and balsamic notes. It’s young but impeccably balanced with velvety tannins. Drink 2018–2038.

Attilio Ghisolfi 2008 Fantini Riserva Nebbiolo (Barolo), $120; 95 points
Beguiling scents of rose, blue flower, perfumed red berry, leather and exotic spice open this firmly structured, glossy wine. A backbone of assertive but refined tannins support the juicy wild cherry, raspberry, cinnamon, white pepper, licorice and balsamic flavors alongside vibrant acidity. It’s already gorgeous but let it soften up and develop complexity. Drink 2018–2038.

Cavallotto 2008 Vignolo Riserva (Barolo), $100; 95 points
Layered fragrances recall rose, violet, perfumed berry, leather, tilled earth and baking spices. The delineated palate delivers juicy Morello cherry, white and black pepper, cinnamon and herb alongside firm but velvety tannins and vibrant acidity. Give it time to develop complexity. Drink 2018–2038.

Luigi Oddero & Figli 2008 Rocche Rivera (Barolo), $99; 95 points
The multi-dimensional fragrance gathers crushed blue flower, red rose, perfumed berry, pine, leather, grilled herb and cake spices. The intense palate delivers fleshy black cherry, wild raspberry, licorice, white pepper and cinnamon alongside assertive but refined tannins and fresh acidity. Drink 2018–2028.

Paolo Scavino 2008 Rocche dell’Annunziata Riserva (Barolo), $170; 95 points
Perfumed with layers of violet, rose, leather, ripe black fruit, thyme and mint sensations, this structured yet graceful wine shows youthful tension and energy. The delicious palate delivers crushed black cherry, black pepper, cinnamon, mocha, black tea and tobacco alongside smooth, velvety tannins. Give it time to develop fully. Drink 2018–2038.

Prunotto 2008 Bussia Vigna Colonnello Riserva (Barolo), $200; 95 points
Fermented with the stems, this fascinating, single-vineyard bottling offers an enticing fragrance of rose, dried cherry, leather and an intense balsamic note. The delicious palate weaves together sweet Morello cherry, wild strawberry, eucalyptus, white pepper, cinnamon and a blast of orange zest alongside firm, polished tannins and vibrant acidity. Drink 2018–2048.

Borgogno 2007 Riserva (Barolo), $115; 94 points
Traditionally crafted, this opens with classic Nebbiolo aromas of leather, tilled earth, dried rose petal, ripe berry and grilled herb. The ripe palate delivers mature black cherry, crushed raspberry, black pepper and baking spices alongside firm but refined tannins. Drink through 2022.

Sottimano 2010 Currà (Barbaresco), $79; 94 points
Fragrant and refined, this wine is all about finesse and balance. It’s perfumed with blue flower, rose petal, woodland berry, pine, spice and balsamic notes. The palate offers layers of black cherry, juicy raspberry, licorice and spice alongside firm but polished tannins. It’s still primary but already has great depth and will develop more complexity over the next decade. Drink 2018–2030.

Produttori del Barbaresco 2009 Montestefano Riserva (Barbaresco), $65; 93 points
Underbrush, tobacco, dark cherry, licorice and grilled herb are just some of the aromas offered by this structured wine. The palate delivers mature black cherry, black pepper, sage and licorice alongside tongue-coating tannins that need time to soften. It hails from a top vineyard site and is an impressive effort from this hot, dry vintage. Drink 2017–2024.

Published on December 16, 2014
Topics: ItalyPiedmont