By any standards 2012 was a challenging vintage in Barolo – the conditions kept growers on their toes and could have easily ended up with average wines at best. But somehow, despite it all, the resulting wines range from charming to superb. Lowered alcohol levels and great acidity despite a fiercely hot summer. Ripe, fine tannins despite a late budbreak and rain in September. As the title of this report indicates… an anomaly.
Winter was cold and harsh, but with enough snow and rain to replenish the water tables. Flowering was late and fruit set irregular, and the poor weather carried on right through until June. June and July hit the re-set button on the vintage with warm temperatures and dry weather improving things dramatically, but things went too far the other way and fierce temperatures in August shut the vines down. Rain at the end of August and beginning of September allowed ripening to re-start slowly and for late-ripening Nebbiolo there was still plenty of time to reach phenolic maturity before October harvest. As the vintage was irregular so are the wines – styles range from lighter and fresh to quite rich and fruit-forward, but quality is quite high across the board (though more careful selection is needed than in a vintage 2010, which was consistently outstanding).
"Styles range from lighter and fresh to quite rich and fruit-forward, but quality is quite high across the board.."
The critics say: “You are going to love 2012 Barolos” – James Suckling. “One of the most intriguing recent vintages of Barolo” – Antonio Galloni. We say “from the best producers, these are wines to buy with confidence and will provide pleasure over the medium term. They have lower alcohol, bright acidity, clarity of fruit, fine tannins and charming perfume; stylistically they sit somewhere between ripe, fleshy 2011 and powerfully structured 2010. Beautiful wines for those who buy wines to drink rather than invest”.