Italy’s most famous wine lives up to the hype after a spectacular, long 2016 growing season, perfect for the thin skinned, sometimes finicky Nebbiolo. These powerful wines combine elegance with firm structure, offering delicate notes of rose, herbs and red berry framed by licorice and tobacco creating breathtaking tension.
The two 100-point wines from this vintage hail from the village of Serralunga d’Alba, one of the 11 villages that make up Barolo.
Brovia 2016 Brea Vigna Ca’ Mia (Barolo); $106, 100 points. Rose, pine forest, wild berry, new leather and star anise are just some of the aromas you’ll find on this drop-dead gorgeous wine. Firmly structured, elegant and thoroughly delicious, the radiant palate shows restraint and depth. It delivers juicy Marasca cherry, raspberry compote, licorice and tobacco against tightly knit, noble tannins while fresh acidity keeps it impeccably balanced. It’s focused and compelling, but hold for even more complexity. An absolutely stellar showing. Drink 2026–2056. Rosenthal Wine Merchant. Cellar Selection. —Kerin O’Keefe
Giovanni Rosso 2016 Ester Canale Rosso Poderi dell’Antica VignaRionda (Barolo); $450, 100 points. This textbook, dream Barolo opens with quintessential aromas of underbrush, rose petal, dried herb and forest berry while the youthfully austere, delicious palate delivers juicy Marasca cherry, raspberry compote, licorice and menthol before a tobacco finish. Noble tannins give it a firm, polished backbone while bright acidity keeps it balanced and imparts ageworthy energy. Drink 2026–2066. Vias Imports. Cellar Selection. —K.O.
Cavallotto 2016 Bricco Boschis (Barolo); $90, 99 points. Aromas of woodland berry, underbrush, hazelnut and camphor form the nose along with a whiff of rose petal on this captivating, delicious wine. The full-bodied structured palate is still young and primary but already shows raspberry compote, ripe Marasca cherry, star anise, tobacco and the barest hint of game. Tightly knit noble tannins and fresh acidity provide the firm frame and impart serious aging potential. Hold for even more complexity. Drink 2026–2056. Skurnik Wines, Inc. Cellar Selection. —K.O.
Comm. G. B. Burlotto 2016 Monvigliero (Barolo); $100, 99 points. Aromas of rose, red berry, dark spice, smoke and wild herb shape the nose on this structured red. Intense and loaded with finesse, the radiant, focused palate doles out ripe red cherry, cranberry, licorice, tobacco and menthol. Vibrant acidity and a mineral vein create youthful tension while firm polished tannins lend seamless support. Drink 2024–2046. Bacchanal Wine Imports. Cellar Selection. —K.O.
Elvio Cogno 2016 Ravera (Barolo); $112, 99 points. From the estate that proved the extraordinary quality of the Ravera subzone, this compelling wine opens with heady scents of rose, iris, perfumed berry, new leather and camphor. Focused and full bodied, the precise palate is delicious and firmly structured, featuring ripe red cherry, crushed raspberry, licorice and tobacco framed in tightly knit fine-grained tannins. Fresh acidity keeps it beautifully balanced and lends youthful tension. Drink 2024–2056. Wilson Daniels Ltd. Cellar Selection. —K.O.
Gaja 2016 Sperss (Barolo); $250, 99 points. Rose, iris, red berry and camphor mingle with a whiff of dark spice on this gorgeous, radiant red. Firmly structured but also boasting extraordinary finesse, the chiseled palate delivers ripe morello cherry, crushed raspberry, star anise and tobacco set against a backbone of taut fine-grained tannins. Vibrant acidity keeps it well balanced and energized. Drink 2024–2046. Terlato Wines International. Cellar Selection. —K.O.
Figli Luigi Oddero 2016 Rocche Rivera (Barolo); $120, 98 points. New leather, pressed rose, underbrush, dark spice and camphor are just some of the aromas you’ll find on this extraordinary red. Full bodied, with depth and finesse, the elegant, structured palate delivers ripe Marasca cherry, crushed raspberry, licorice and tobacco framed in firm fine-grained tannins. Fresh acidity provides impeccable balance and aging potential. Drink 2024–2036. Ionia Atlantic Imports, LLC. Cellar Selection. —K.O.
Sandrone 2016 Le Vigne (Barolo); $155, 98 points. Fragrant, full bodied and boasting great finesse, this delicious Barolo hits all the right buttons. It opens with enticing aromas of woodland berry, rose, camphor, botanical herb and exotic spice while the elegantly structured palate doles out juicy red cherry, crushed raspberry, licorice and cinnamon. Firm, fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity keep it impeccably balanced. It’s already tempting but hold for even more complexity. Drink 2024–2046. Vintus LLC. Cellar Selection. —K.O.