The SOMM Journal

June / July 2018

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{ } 61 before our interview, he purchased 50 acres that sit at an elevation of 630 meters (2,067 feet). "We have spent all our lives as producers try - ing to identify the best south-facing slopes in this region and trying to acquire the grapes in these loca - tions. Now, it's funny that at this stage in our career, we must tell our kids, 'South-facing slopes are great. They've always been the best spots, but consider something else too,'" Pio says. Barolo and Barbaresco are dry- farmed by law, but in 2013, Italy's Ministry of Agriculture acknowl - edged the severity of the region's heat waves and began allowing for emergency irrigation. Yet, as Pio says he was quick to point out, how do you water more than 170 acres of vines without an irrigation system and reservoir already in place? And in conditions of drought, where do you draw your water from when crops and people come first? Luckily, Nebbiolo's persistent roots are able to dig deep beneath the soil in search of moisture, so while Pio doesn't believe that quality has been compromised, he hasn't stopped preparing for future obstacles. "It's a period in my life that is difficult and exciting, because it's a challenge that's not easy to solve," Pio says thoughtfully. Boffa Pio, meanwhile, is optimistic: "I think with technology and innovation, we will find a way to handle these chal - lenges," she says. Pio Cesare 2014 Barbaresco DOCG ($75) The wine is composed of four estate vineyards: three in the village of Treiso, primarily Il Bricco, and one in the commune of Alba. Benvenuto Pio noted that his grandfather valued the Barbares - cos from this area, as they expressed a similar masculinity found in Barolo with greater structure, aging potential, and muscle. This wine has cologne-like aromas with juicy, red fruit on the mid-palate, as well as slight undertones of amaretto, burnt sugar, and dried orange. Pio Cesare 2014 Barolo DOCG ($75) Crafted from a selection of seven vineyards, including the Ornato Vineyard, located throughout four Barolo villages, this wine is the flagship of Pio Cesare. Sensual, muscular, and intensely-per - fumed with notes of orange peel, graph- ite, rose hips, and dried red cherries, it shows a fleshiness on the mid-palate as its beautiful acidity balances grippy tan- nins that are tightly structured but not overbearing. The 2014 Vintage in Barolo and Barbaresco While Pio Cesare's single-vineyard bottlings speak to a specific location, the Barolo and Barbaresco "classics" are meant to paint a picture of both the region and the vintage. These wines are produced in a similar fashion to the single-vineyard bottlings, with minimal intervention and roughly 24 months of aging in French and Slavonian oak—primarily in large casks and 35 percent in small barriques—as well as one year of aging in bottle prior to release. The family is directly involved in every stage of the winemaking and grape-growing process; they also oversee the final blending for every bottling and work closely with Paolo Fenocchio, Pio Cesare's Enologist and Head Winemaker who has been with the company since 1981. As Benvenuto Pio explains, "2014 was a good harvest and vintage in the Barolo and Barbaresco area." "We had a wet July, but we recuperated a lot in August and September. We are very proud of the vintage as it shows a good combination of both tannins from a great vintage combined with an approachable taste due to per - fect long ripening on the cluster during the growing season," he adds. Overall, yields for Barolo and Barbaresco were considerably smaller in 2014 with a 40 percent reduction in production. However, the vintage is also more accessible in its youth with lusher fruit and softer tannins.

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