Pio Cesare Barolo Ornato 2018
The very first Single Vineyard Barolo produced by the Pio Family, for the first time in 1985. Great structure, power, concentration, with a very long life. Produced in small quantities.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Complex on the nose, offering a blend of ripe red berries, nutty minerals, orange-peel and spice. Some savory, almost meaty notes, too. Full, compact and intense, yet there’s a graceful feel to the palate, thanks to the really fine web of tannin. Super polish and promise here. Classy. Needs some time.
Spicy, displaying white pepper, cumin, fennel seed and mineral notes that frame a core of macerated plum and cherry. Dense, viscous and lively, this is balanced and expressive. Ends with excellent length and power. Best from 2025
The 2018 Barolo Ornato reveals some very distant hot-vintage aromas that are vaguely reminiscent of dried raspberry or stewed plum. Nebbiolo is extremely sensitive to the warmer temperatures and even a hint of extra ripeness is easily detected. However, the wine is fluid and ever-evolving. Those fruit-driven aromas soon transition over to brooding complexity with smoke, tar and licorice. The Ornato paints a wide picture of that characteristic Serralunga d'Alba intensity.
Ornato feels broad and powerful for the vintage, the black-cherry flavors gripped by firm, ferrous tannins and underlined by a streak of graphite. Notes of licorice and brown spice emerge with air, along with savory hints that lend complexity to the bold fruit tones.
Pio Cesare has been producing wine for more than 100 years and through generations. The tradition began in 1881, when Pio Cesare started gathering grapes in his vineyards and purchasing those of some selected and reliable farmers in the hills of Barolo and Barbaresco districts.
At Pio Cesare, there has always been a conviction that great wine can come only from the finest grapes and the winery's output has always been limited through adherence to the highest standards. Pio Cesare limits its production by using only the most mature and healthy grapes. The ripening of the grapes is carefully monitored and the harvest is rigidly controlled with each grape selected by hand.
Today, the estate is managed by Pio Boffa, great-grandson of Pio Cesare. Under his stewardship, the wines of Pio Cesare have become famous throughout the world. Great strides have been made in quality, and single vineyard offerings have dazzled the wine press.
The center of the production of the world’s most exclusive and age-worthy red wines made from Nebbiolo, the Barolo wine region includes five core townships: La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, Serralunga d’Alba, Castiglione Falletto and the Barolo village itself, as well as a few outlying villages. The landscape of Barolo, characterized by prominent and castle-topped hills, is full of history and romance centered on the Nebbiolo grape. Its wines, with the signature “tar and roses” aromas, have a deceptively light garnet color but full presence on the palate and plenty of tannins and acidity. In a well-made Barolo wine, one can expect to find complexity and good evolution with notes of, for example, strawberry, cherry, plum, leather, truffle, anise, fresh and dried herbs, tobacco and violets.
There are two predominant soil types here, which distinguish Barolo from the lesser surrounding areas. Compact and fertile Tortonian sandy marls define the vineyards farthest west and at higher elevations. Typically the Barolo wines coming from this side, from La Morra and Barolo, can be approachable relatively early on in their evolution and represent the “feminine” side of Barolo, often closer in style to Barbaresco with elegant perfume and fresh fruit.
On the eastern side of the Barolo wine region, Helvetian soils of compressed sandstone and chalks are less fertile, producing wines with intense body, power and structured tannins. This more “masculine” style comes from Monforte d’Alba and Serralunga d’Alba. The township of Castiglione Falletto covers a spine with both soil types.
The best Barolo wines need 10-15 years before they are ready to drink, and can further age for several decades.
Responsible for some of the most elegant and age-worthy wines in the world, Nebbiolo, named for the ubiquitous autumnal fog (called nebbia in Italian), is the star variety of northern Italy’s Piedmont region. Grown throughout the area, as well as in the neighboring Valle d’Aosta and Valtellina, it reaches its highest potential in the Piedmontese villages of Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero. Outside of Italy, growers are still very much in the experimentation stage but some success has been achieved in parts of California. Somm Secret—If you’re new to Nebbiolo, start with a charming, wallet-friendly, early-drinking Langhe Nebbiolo or Nebbiolo d'Alba.