The 2016 vintage in Piedmont doesn't need an introduction, but the name Piero Busso might. Among the perfect vintage's success stories, Piero's Barbaresco from the Gallina cru has it all. The famous vineyard from Nieve is likely better known for Bruno Giacosa and Luca Roagna. Still, Piero's expression floored us for its immediacy yet age-worthy structure.
This Gallina is all about perfume and bright aromatics, like the best 2016s show in spades. On the palate, a thrilling concentration of red berries with mint have loads of gripping intensity, and the finish is classic Barbaresco with that more dusty minerality finely woven through, compared to Barolo's broader tannic personality.
A sense of grace and understated elegance jumps out of the glass. When we all tried our first sip in San Diego, we looked at each other and knew the obvious greatness captured in this 2016 rendition. While Piero Busso and his Gallina Barbaresco are always a match made in heaven, this exceptional vintage is drinking beautifully right now with so much upside in the cellar.
Rinaldi is a revered traditionalist following family techniques used since the early and mid-1900s. With long macerations on the skins aging in large botti, the results are powerfully deep Baroli met with precision and aromatics that make them incomparable. They offer wild spices, gamey notes, and of course, Nebbiolo's tell-tale tar and roses.The Giuseppe Rinaldi wines first appeared in 1921, though, it was during Beppe's lifetime that the world's attention turned toward Piedmont—Beppe's spirit is more immortalized than the legendary wines he produced. Sadly, he passed away in 2018, but he had several years to see his daughters, Marta and Carlotta, continue to raise the bar.
I visited the Rinaldi cantina just before harvest in 2012. It was nothing short of a privilege to meet the Rinaldi family and taste the wines, including the monumental 2010s still in botti. Finding back-vintage wines is not a common occurrence today, and I was thrilled to work with Rinaldi's US importer, Vinifera Imports, to acquire several older wines directly from the Rinaldi estate.