Chiara Boschis, long term winemaker at E.Pira, and Fabio Fantino of Conterno Fantino just visited Sydney to show their new Barolos from the 2014 vintage.
The cooler and wetter 2014 vintage posed serious challenges after a string of very successful vintages. It was interesting to see how the Barolos would shape up.
Clearly the wines are not as full bodied as in previous years. They are quite perfumed and aromatic showing some similarities to Pinot Noir, in fact. The E. Pira Via Nuova is the lightest of the wines, tasting of red cherry and orange peel. The dry tannins are only in the background. The E. Pira Cannubi, from this famous vineyard, has a more intense colour. It is a darker and richer wine, but still on the feminine and elegant side.
The Conterno Fantino Vigna de Gris is similar to the Via Nuova, fairly easy drinking, but slightly darker fruit and licorice. The south facing Sori Ginestra, from clay and calciferous soils, is bigger and more powerful and tannic, approaching a more typical Barolo profile.
Both wineries share the southern Mosconi vineyard. It typically delivers a more masculine wine. This is true for the E. Pira wine, with a profile of dark cherry and plum and a dry finish. The Conterno Fantino is bigger, with earthy flavours. This wine is a bit rough and tannic.
Overall, the wines are lighter than in previous years. The E. Pira wines are more elegant and perfumed, whereas the Conterno Fantino wines are a little bigger (still less so than the average 2013 Barolos) and require a protein dish. All these wines opened up nicely and can be drunk quite young. As such, they will appeal to people who do not wish to cellar wine for long periods of time.