After spending a final 2 days tasting in Barolo in September, I genuinely believe that there are some very exciting 2012 vintage reds in Piedmont despite some negativity in the wine press.
Vintage 2010 and 2011 were undoubtedly block-buster vintages for Barolo and Barbaresco, but in the case of 2012, the extra attention to detail found on the organic wines at Brezza in a more challenging vintage, has resulted in some very seductive wines.
These are perhaps wines for the medium term to buy with confidence, to drink now, or to cellar for 5 to 8 years while you wait for your 2010s and 2011s to mature.
For over a century the Brezza family have been making excellent wines in Piedmont. Now in the family’s fourth generation of winemakers they continue to use traditional style ageing in large Slavonian casks while not being afraid to embrace modernity such as fermenting in temperature controlled stainless steel vats. This results in wines showing a real combination of purity and site specific terroir character.
At Brezza, the 2012 vintage allowed the lushness of fruit to marry seamlessly with their characteristic poise and focus, and the results are impressive. Basically Barolo Cru quality at Village level prices.
Tasting Note: Brezza Barolo 2012 packs more depth, breadth and concentration punch than it has any right to. When I tasted this blind, on release, it performed better than most of the higher classification Cru wines. I thought this must be a grander Cannubi, Brunate or Bussia cru. So you can imagine my pleasant surprise finding one of my favourites was a more affordable village level Barolo wine. This wine is plush and concentrated with real earthy red forest berry fruits, showing porcine mushrooms nuances, subtle hints of truffle oil and sweet tarry, licoricey red cherry fruit. There is structure and suave tannins, but they’re so sweet and rounded, adding to this wines deceptive stature and grandeur.
The 2012 Barolo vintage did not receive the hyped reviews of 2010 or 2011, but this 2012 is testament to the fact that great vineyards, managed by great people, make for great wines! (Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)