Wine Knowledge Piedmont: vintages & ratings

Piedmont: vintages & ratings


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Piedmont has fascinated wine connoisseurs and enthusiasts for many decades. The Wines from Barbera, Dolcetto and especially from Nebbiolo are among the most exciting the wine world has to offer. In the diverse individual vineyards around the villages of Barolo and Barbaresco the Nebbiolo grape is used to produce wines that can easily compete with the best wines in the world, and which are fascinating for their unique character.

On this page we have the Year-end assessments of the most renowned journalists and wine critics for you. So you have the possibility to easily get an overview of the vintage evaluations of Piedmont. The comments, as well as the vintage table refer to primarily on Barolo and Barbaresco wines.

Legend

JR = Jancis Robinson 1
RP = Robert Parker 2

2018

JR A happy turn of events after a fairly dismal 2017, with high volumes of good quality across all major varieties. The year started cool but ended hot, and the good weather continued throughout the harvest.

RP -

2017

JR Frost and drought affected yields across the region, and the summer heatwave resulted in a shorter ripening period than usual. This can inhibit aromatic development, although cool nights have preserved the characteristically high acidity of the region's red wines.

RP -

2016

JR Piemonte produced excellent wine qualities in 2016, with a ripeness that matched the very good 2015, but firmer tannins and higher acidity. Ideal harvest conditions allowed the Nebbiolo to fully ripen, and yields were also higher than average. The Arneis also fared well, producing precise, juicy white wines.

RP Barolo: 97/100; Barbaresco: 95/100

2015

JR An outstanding vintage thanks to healthy berries and exceptionally uniform grapes. A very cold winter with lots of snow and a protracted cool and rainy spring replenished the water table, which was much needed in a July that was the hottest ever recorded. The vintage is very promising, even though some grapes had relatively low acidity.

RP Barolo: 93/100; Barbaresco: 91/100

2014

JR The second year in a row where a wet, cool spring followed a very wet winter. Temperatures rose in mid-May, resulting in a steady and rapid fruit set that seemed to promise an early harvest and generous yield. But the weather changed and became cool and very wet from the beginning of July with some violent hailstorms, especially in the commune of Barolo, which dashed all hopes of a great vintage. Quality is expected to be erratic, but those who dared to delay the harvest were rewarded with a solid, if remarkably small, crop of Nebbiolo. It will likely be a light vintage with limited cellaring potential.

RP Barolo: 89/100; Barbaresco: 90/100

2013 

JR Incessant rain during the winter and spring delayed budbreak and opened the door to fungal diseases, although many vineyards were too wet for tractors. Temperatures shot up from mid-July and remained high through August, albeit with cooler nights. September was very sunny and dry, but the growing season was still two weeks late, necessitating a delayed harvest. The forecast is for a vintage of similar quality to the already legendary 2010s.

RP Barolo: 94/100; Barbaresco: 93/100

2012 

JR An unusually hot summer unexpectedly produced Nebbiolos with low alcohol and high acidity. A very cold February with abundant snow helped replenish the water table. Continued cool weather, well into April, extended budbreak by two weeks. The weather became more regular, with a warm July interrupted only by several hailstorms that destroyed the crop in some Novello vineyards. August proved exceptionally hot with temperatures rising well above 40ºC, which stalled the vines and halted the growth cycle. Rain at the end of August cooled the site and restarted (slow) ripening. A dry autumn allowed for a delayed harvest. The best wines showed acidity, balance and freshness. Overall, a light vintage, but with some excellent wines at top level.

RP Barolo: 89/100; Barbaresco: 88/100

2011 

JR A very hot year which nevertheless produced some very good, supple, ripe but not stewed wines, even if the higher alcohol (15% and sometimes more) made some of them unbalanced. A very warm April suggested a harvest four weeks earlier than usual. A decidedly cool June and July slowed the growing season considerably, but August was so hot that the Dolcetto raisined on the vine. Rain in early September accelerated ripening again. Cool nights kept the Nebbiolo from over-ripening, yet the harvest occurred a full two weeks earlier than usual.

RP Barolo: 89/100; Barbaresco: 88/100

2010 

JR A wet spring caused an irregular fruit set and this was followed by an early summer with lots of rain. While Dolcetto suffered most from the short, cool growing season, Nebbiolo proved resilient thanks to its small berries and thick skins. August proved hot, but cool nights helped maintain acidity. Some cooling rains in early September ensured slow but steady berry development. Irregular fruit set meant some growers had to make a strict selection during harvest, but the overall result is considered excellent: a classic vintage with plenty of acidity, firm but ripe tannins, and near-perfect balance in many wines.

RP Barolo: 98/100; Barbaresco: 95/100

2009 

JR A cold winter with lots of rain and snow delayed the start of the growing season. However, an unusually warm spring encouraged rapid bud break and regular fruit set. June was still warm, but a wet July increased fungal pressure in the vineyards and in some cases reduced yields. August was extremely hot and dry and the weather remained so until mid-September. The lack of rain caused water stress and the vines lay dormant. All of this led to wildly erratic weather patterns across the region, so some Barbera was picked before Dolcetto, which should have ripened earlier. Overall malic acidity was below average, while tannins were not always fully mature. The quality is erratic, with excellence alongside mediocrity, but hardly any of the wines show the stewed and dried fruit flavours of the equally incandescent 2003 vintage.

RP Barolo: 95/100; Barbaresco: 94/100

2008 

JR Overshadowed by the lush wines of the 2007 vintage, the barrenness of the 2008 was not immediately recognized as the stuff of which great vintages are made. Although the winemakers were not without challenges, a long and cool growing season resulted in healthy, thick-skinned Nebbiolo grapes full of extract and high sugar levels balanced by great acidity. Although the tannins are still unyielding in most cases, these powerful wines have all the ingredients for significant gains in complexity and depth over the coming years.

RP Barolo: 91/100; Barbaresco: 90/100

2007 

JR Hail and drought led to a low-yielding year, but with good fruit quality.

RP Barolo: 95/100; Barbaresco: 93/100

2006 

JR A cool summer was followed by Indian summer, interrupted by two downpours, but the grapes were healthy enough to survive them. Promising.

RP Barolo: 97/100; Barbaresco: 95/100

2005 

JR Reduced crop of decent but unremarkable wines for medium-term drinking.

RP Barolo: 93/100; Barbaresco: 91/100

2004 

JR Very promising with few weather extremes and well balanced wines.

RP Barolo: 95/100; Barbaresco: 93/100

2003 

JR As elsewhere, the heatwave caused the grapes to shrivel and resulted in some unbalanced musts, although the oldest vines in Barolo and Barbaresco defied the weather and produced some exceptional wines.

RP Barolo: 83/100; Barbaresco: 82/100

2002 

JR Piedmont's run of good to great vintages was finally interrupted with catastrophic hail in parts of Barolo, rot, unripeness and unusually cool weather. The thin-skinned Barbera suffered the most in this small vintage.

RP Barolo: 73/100; Barbaresco: 70/100

2001 

JR Excellent quality (and quantity) from an early vintage, matching the lush form of 1999 and 1997 rather than being particularly long-lived. No lack of ripeness or structure, but an occasional lack of acidity.

RP Barolo: 96/100; Barbaresco: 96/100

2000 

JR Very good, thanks in part to a prolonged heat wave from mid-August to mid-September. The Dolcettos were relatively easy, but both the Barbera and especially the Nebbiolo were excellent with excellent acidity as well as ripeness and great aromatic expression. For the future.

RP Barolo: 95/100; Barbaresco: 94/100

1999 

JR Again very good quality in Nebbiolo-based wines and Dolcetto, which was much more successful than the later maturing Barbera. Lush Barolo and Barbaresco reminiscent of 1997.

RP Barolo: 95/100; Barbaresco: 92/100

1998 

JR More structure and potential than 1997 and some very fine, elegant wines.

RP Barolo: 92/100; Barbaresco: 92/100

1997 

JR A hot growing season resulted in record ripening levels, but also disturbingly low acidity levels.

RP Barolo: 93/100; Barbaresco: 93/100

1996 

JR Excellent Barolo and Barbaresco for ageing.

RP Barolo: 97/100; Barbaresco: 97/100

1995 

JR Hail-reduced harvest of deep-colored wines from grapes that benefited from a sunny autumn. Probably one step below 1989 and 1990.

RP Barolo: 87/100; Barbaresco: 87/100

1994 

JR Sugar and acidity levels reasonable despite persistent September rains. Does not reach the performance of Tuscany.

RP Barolo: 77/100; Barbaresco: 77/100

1993 

JR Nebbiolo and Barbera didn't really ripen until it rained. Could be similar to 1988.

RP Barolo: 91/100; Barbaresco: 89/100

1992 

JR A large crop, generally with little weight and strength.

RP Barolo: 74/100; Barbaresco: 74/100

1991 

JR A small crop of light to medium bodied, early drinking wines.

RP Barolo: 76/100; Barbaresco: 76/100

1990 

JR With colossal power and big flavors, these are very exciting wines that have rewarded extended bottle aging.

RP Barolo: 96/100; Barbaresco: 96/100

1989 

JR A great, healthy crop. Top barolos are exciting and rewarding to wait for.

RP Barolo: 97/100; Barbaresco: 97/100

1988 

JR Initially overrated, these are attractive, soft, full finishes.

RP Barolo: 90/100; Barbaresco: 90/100

1987

JR -

RP Barolo: 86/100; Barbaresco: 86/100

1986

JR -

RP Barolo: 90/100; Barbaresco: 89/100

1985 

JR Few remain impressive, but overly high yields caused some to fade early.

RP Barolo: 95/100; Barbaresco: 95/100

1984

JR -

RP Barolo: 65/100; Barbaresco: 65/100

1983

JR -

RP Barolo: 75/100; Barbaresco: 75/100

1982 

JR Strangely similar to Bordeaux: magnificent in their youth, they have shown they have the weight and balance to last.

RP Barolo: 96/100; Barbaresco: 96/100

1981

JR -

RP Barolo: 80/100; Barbaresco: 80/100

1980

JR -

RP Barolo: 88/100; Barbaresco: 88/100

1979

JR -

RP Barolo: 90/100; Barbaresco: 89/100

1978 

JR Formidable, even aggressive wines that have evolved at a snail's pace.

RP Barolo: 97/100; Barbaresco: 97/100

1971 

JR Classic Barolos: rare, but worth seeking out the big names.

RP Barolo: 94/100; Barbaresco: 94/100

1970

JR -

RP Barolo: 93/100; Barbaresco: 93/100


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