2018 Barolo Vintage: Challenging Vintage, Good Buying Opportunities
2018 was a difficult vintage in Barolo but it definitely presents some good buying opportunities, including some wines that are already delicious to drink today. This quick overview will help you navigate the vintage.
The growing season presented a difficult combination of rain and hot weather, more so in both cases earlier in the season than later. Antonio Galloni points out that the weather in the previous vintage (2017) is also relevant here, as the frost, drought and heat of 2017 seemed to activate the vines’ survival instincts in 2018 to be highly productive when possible, so 2018 ended up being a high-yielding vintage.
Early to Mid-October. This is around the traditional time for the Barolo harvest, though perhaps on the later side for recent years.
Easy-going, ripe wines, sometimes too ripe. I do not find the wines “light”, as Galloni reports. My guess is that the wines presented light when he tasted them, before me, and that they have since filled out. The vintage shows good Nebbiolo fruit, but in too many cases the wines feel heavy and clumsy. There are plenty of good exceptions however.
Buy wines for cellaring with care. Not many of the wines will be long-keepers, though wines from top producers, especially producers known for producing good wines in warm vintages (like Rinaldi), will keep just fine. I have really enjoyed everything I’ve tasted from Verduno, Vajra and Brovia, and many wines from La Morra. I’m sure there are other buying opportunities out there. This is also a good vintage to buy entry-level Barolos for more casual Barolo-drinking.
What others are saying:
You can see below that opinions are very mixed, ranging from Galloni’s mostly negative assessment to reviews that are even glowing! I do think it’s possible, as I mentioned above, that Galloni may have tasted many of the wines in an awkward shy phase, as his view of the vintage is not widely shared (and a few producers that I have spoken with are also somewhat puzzled by it).
Recent Barolo vintage reports
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