Last Saturday I went to the presentation of the Doctor Wine Guide 2022 and, after a series of tastings (some very interesting, others a bit 'borderline'), I attended the 'Piedmont's great red wines". I could have chosen... but Nebbiolo grapes I cannot resist! And when I read the words Barbaresco and Barolo, I don't understand anything anymore! 😄 I must admit, however, that the wine that surprised me most of all was the first Grignolino... and who expected that? I certainly didn't: I must make amends with this vine and absolutely give it a chance!

Before I share with you my tastings, I'll tell you in advance that I did a very first blind tasting and put the little hearts you'll see below, from 0 to 3. I really enjoyed doing it: there were also labels and renowned wineries in the middle and it was essential to feel free from conditioning!

Doctor wine 2022 - 'The great red wines of Piedmont' tasting

Doctor wine 2022 - Tenuta Santa Caterina, Grignolino d'Asti 'Monferace' 2017 ❤️

Are we sure it's Grignolino? Joking aside, I admit that I didn't even think grignolino like this could exist! Transparent ruby red, consistent. On the nose, fruity notes fade into sweet spices. In the mouth it is fresh, warm, soft, structured and very drinkable. Although it is a 2017 for me it can still amaze over the years.

Doctor Wine 2022 Piedmontese red wines grignolino

Doctor Wine 2022 - Marchesi Alfieri, Barbera D'Asti DOCG Superiore "Alfiera" 2019

I remember a wonderful press tour of this beautiful estate! The Barbera d'Asti is impenetrably ruby red and consistent. The nose is delicately spicy. In the mouth it is astringent, warm, fresh and overall very pleasant.

Doctor Wine 2022 Piedmontese red wines barbera

Doctor Wine 2022 - La Gironde, Nizza AOCG Reserve 'Ago' 2017

Barbera is definitely a grape variety in my heart, but I admit that I have not drunk much of the Nizza Monferrato area and I really should look into it! Daniele Cernilli explained how Barbera loves warm, dry vintages and did not suffer in a difficult year like 2017.

It is bright ruby red with violet hues, quite consistent. On the nose, the spice/fruit ratio is especially interesting, as the wood, while being noticeable, gave a note of vanilla that was generous in goodness but very well integrated. In the mouth, I was struck by a fairly pronounced cinchona note and its roundness.

Doctor Wine 2022 Piedmontese red wines Nizza

Doctor wine 2022 - Marchesi di Gresy, Barbaresco DOCG Riserva 'Camp Gros Martinenga' 2016 ❤️❤️❤️+

Here it is, the wine that stole my heart in this tasting. A wine I did not know and so I thank Daniele Cernilli for this fabulous discovery! It is a beautiful red colour tending to garnet, consistent. The nose is broad, fine and elegant with notes of menthol, tobacco and sweet spices, dried flowers, fresh rose flowers and hay. In the mouth it is enveloping, consistent, balanced, structured and with a long balsamic finish. Pure poetry.

Doctor Wine 2022 Piedmontese red wines barbaresco riserva

Doctor Wine 2022 - Fiorenzo Nada, Barbaresco DOCG 'Rombone' 2018 ❤️❤️

Another wine I had never tasted and I really liked it. It is ruby red with garnet highlights, consistent. The nose is complex, elegant and fine with notes of cloves, liquorice, leather, almond, blueberry. I did not give it three hearts only because in the mouth it is really very tannic and lacks a little balance, but it is nonetheless consistent, structured and very long.

Doctor Wine 2022 Piedmontese red wines Barbaresco

Doctor Wine 2022 and the 2018 vintage, my personal commentary

Before I finish telling you all my impressions of the red wines from Piedmont that I tasted, I would like to make a clarification on the 2018 vintage, which unfortunately did not thrill me... at anyone's house! I am a great admirer of Piedmontese Nebbiolo in all its variations and nobody in 2018 made me 'fly away'. Not only that: bottles that in other vintages I really enjoyed in this vintage I found them barely enjoyable when judged as such. In fact, I believe that the 2018 Barolo DOCG is an 'almost ready' Barolo and therefore also suitable to be consumed immediately: a positive note both for restaurants that cannot afford to keep the wines immobilized in the cellar for long and for winelovers accustomed to buying and drinking immediately. This is to say that the Barolo DOCG 2018 for me must be correctly interpreted, leaving aside certain expectations and dwelling on its qualities that I hope will transpire from my tastings of the individual bottles.

Doctor Wine 2022 - Ceretto, Barolo DOCG Magnum 2016 ❤️

If the 2018 Barolos did not excite me, the 2016s, on the other hand, I found them to have a whole different depth! A broad, clean nose, with ethereal notes of cherry both fresh and under spirits and in general lots of fruit (peach, strawberry...) very well defined. In the mouth it was fresh, elegant, balanced and very long. Definitely a Piedmont red wine that has many years ahead of it.

Doctor Wine 2022 Piedmontese red wines Barolo Ceretto

Doctor Wine 2022 - Vietti, Barolo DOCG 'Lazzarito' 2018 ❤️++

I had discovered this company thanks to dear Alessandro Monnizza at a wonderful dinner at theOsteria Cielo in Franciacorta and I had already quite liked their Nebbiolo. Among the Barolo DOCGs tasted, it has definitely entered the shortlist of my favourites. Merit for the very clean, fine and elegant aromas that veer towards currant and almond? In the mouth, it is fresh, tannic, soft and overall balanced. Even if, like all wines of this vintage, it loses a little power, its great finesse made it a very pleasant sip.

Doctor Wine 2022 Piedmontese red wines Barolo

Doctor Wine 2022 - Pio Cesare, Barolo DOCG 'Ornato' 2018

A Piedmont red wine that, for me, did not manage to express all its qualities in this vintage, but remains particularly appreciable for those who, like me, love austere and powerful red wines. A very intense liquorice note dominates the nose, while the passage in wood was certainly very meticulous. Perhaps a somewhat pronounced pseudo-caloricity and tannins that are still a little rough make it less ready than others, but they also mark its perhaps greater longevity over time.

Doctor wine 2022 Piedmontese red wines Barolo Pio cesare

Doctor Wine 2022 - Fontanafredda, Barolo DOCG "Vigna La Rosa" 2018 ❤️

At the Doctor Wine 2022 open tasting, I had already tasted the two Barolo DOCGs offered by Fontanafredda and I preferred this one... even though I preferred the 2018 version of this winery's Barolo from the Commune of Serralunga d'Alba Reinassance I had been sent to taste. The Vigna La Rosa is certainly a red wine ready to be enjoyed thanks to its exceptional smoothness balanced by pleasant acidity and excellent drinkability.

Doctor wine 2022 Piedmontese red wines Barolo Fontanafredda

Doctor Wine 2022 - Gaja, Barolo DOCG 'Conteisa' 2018 ❤️

In this wine, for me, Angelo Gaja has managed to respect the vintage by focusing on the overflowing tannin, which is nevertheless balanced overall by a technical mastery that is difficult to equal. Its most outstanding feature is the perfect integration of the wood, which makes the taste-olfactory profile exceptionally balanced.

Doctor wine 2022 gaja piedmontese red wines

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Doctor Wine 2022 - Ca' Viola, Barolo DOCG 'Sottocastello di Novello' 2018 ❤️❤️❤️

When I think of Novello I think of the wonderful dinner I had here at home with Elisa and Pierpaolo from the winery Merengo Mauro. Gosh, it's already been over a year... I hope to see them again soon! This Barolo DOCG from Ca' Viola was one of my favourite wines of the tasting thanks to its uncommon elegance.

Doctor wine 2022 Piedmontese red wines ca viola

Doctor Wine 2022 - Enrico Serafino, Barolo DOCG Riserva 'Briccolina' 2016 ❤️❤️❤️

I fell a little in love with this Barolo DOCG. The credit here certainly goes to the nose: ample, fine and with a tangle of tobacco, liquorice, black pepper, freshly ground coffee and blackberries that captures the senses. In the mouth it is austere, consistent, tannic, overall balanced and very long.

Doctor Wine 2022 Piedmontese red wines Enrico Serafino

Doctor Wine 2022 - Elvio Cogno, Barolo DOCG Riserva Ravera 'Vigna Elena' 2016 ❤️❤️+

It seems clear to me: in this tasting Daniele Cernilli, aka Doctor Wine, has brought some top-notch wines. And Cogno confirms that he is one, too, with this heart-stopping Riserva. I would define it as a Barolo DOCG for connoisseurs and cigar lovers: in fact, the nose reminded me of my Nicaragua Vintage from the late 1990s that I love to buy between Reims and Paris. A very elegant, mentholated nose that is echoed on a coherent, enveloping palate. Here the structure is tempered by balance. The long nutmeg finish brought back memories of my beloved grandparents.

Doctor Wine 2022 Piedmontese red wines

Doctor Wine 2022 - Marchesi di Barolo, Barolo DOCG Sarmassa 'Limited Edition 10 years' 2012

I will be honest, on the nose it told me something less than the others. I would venture to say that it was perhaps the one I liked least of the entire tasting. It is certainly a complex and fine wine, but with a ripe note that gave me the impression that 2012 might have been a slightly too hot year to produce a wine intended for ageing. It may just be me, but I didn't find all that much depth of flavour either. In short, it is certainly a Barolo wine that is easy to drink and 'gastronomic' as some people like to say, but I would not have made a Limited Edition of it... unless it is only on the label and is made every year or almost every year!

Doctor Wine 2022 Piedmontese red wines

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Doctor Wine 2022: 2 tips for the next edition

Finally, I would like to point out a few things 'to review' as suggestions for next year:

  • The goblets had to be checked one by one. Out of 14 glasses, I had 6 that smelled like a closed cupboard and they were not the wines, as I managed to taste them by pouring them into the glass I had brought from the Open Tasting. It didn't seem respectful to interrupt the tasting to ask for a replacement, not least because I didn't see any staff in the room, so I made do. But how many people present who may have a different nose did not notice the problem and perhaps blamed the wine? Oh, maybe I was unlucky?
  • It would be nice to have a dedicated press entrance, without having to queue for an hour. If I am there on business and miss an hour of the 3 available, it means that I can't taste a large number of wines and this is in any case a loss for those wineries that I - and all my journalist colleagues - miss. Especially those who have to deal with an editorial staff have their minutes counted much more than mine and risk not even being able to stop for half an hour...

Finally, I heard Daniele Cernilli say that the tasting should cost €200 instead of €25. Perhaps, but at that point for me it should not have included all the wines (or almost all?) in the Open Tasting (I had already drunk almost all of them, and let's consider the wineries divided over two days). It would have been different if instead of the 'straightforward' tasting there had been a Masterclass on a grape variety, e.g. Nebbiolo, with an hour of theory.

That said, Daniele Cernilli - aka Doctor Wine - is a professional of impressive culture and the wines presented in the tasting I found all very very good indeed. If only there were some!

Cheers 🍷

Chiara

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