2015 Domenico Clerico Barolo
Throughout his time, Domenico Clerico acquired some serious real estate in Monforte d’Alba, including important crus Bussia, Ginestra, Pajana and Mosconi, and was well known for championing an uprising of more ‘modern’ winemaking in Barolo. In recent years, there has been a swing towards less new, toasted oak and more larger format oak, as well as longer and slower fermentation and maceration times, with the resultant wines showing their classic powerful structure and beautiful polish. Today his wife continues his legacy along with winemaker Oscar Arrivabene who worked for many years alongside Domenico.
A blend of Domenico Clerico’s best cru’s in Monforte with an average vine age of 45-50 years, the wine was aged for 16 months in barrique (30% new) and then spent an additional 16 months in larger barrels. It was then given a further 12 months in bottle before release. The warm dry vintage conditions meant that the wines were able to reach good levels of ripeness whilst still maintaining good balanced acidity.
Deep dark red core with a slight tinge of black to the outskirts and a bright brick red hue. A fragrant bouquet of ripe red and morello cherries gently overlaid by scents of roses and dried herbs is trailed by subtle earth, leather and spice notes. On the palate there’s terrific intensity and freshness to the rich red to dark cherry, morello cherry and strawberry fruit which is backed by vibrant acidity and firm rustic tannins. Earthy leather, dried herb and spice elements sit beneath. Dry, grippy finish with a long, structured and chewy aftertaste.
Cellar 6-8 years.
Following the death of Domenico Clerico in 2017, his widow Giuliana has come up with a solid succession plan. She named Oscar Arrivabene general director of the winery. This young winemaker from Bergamo in Northern Italy had worked alongside Domenico since 2013. Oscar previously worked as a winemaker with Livio Felluga in Friuli, Poggio San Polo in Montalcino and Dirupi in Valtellina. The next generation of the Clerico family—the children of Domenico's sister Laura, aged 15 and 18 respectively—are too young to be part of that succession plan for the time being.
Fruit for this wine comes from various vineyard parcels all located in Monforte d'Alba, and in fact, the plan is to identify this wine as being from this township starting with the 2017 vintage. Starting then, the front label will read Barolo di Monforte d'Alba, because the winemaking management at Domenico Clerico feels it is important to identify this wine with a geographic location. But for now, we have the 2015 Barolo. This is an extremely elegant and graceful expression with classic Monforte d'Alba characteristics: The wine shows a tight and powerful inner core and the qualities (integrated acidity and tannins) for long cellar aging. You have everything in this one package. Drink 2022-2040.
Monica Larner – Robert Parker’s the Wine Advocate