Our tasting impressions
This Barolo vividly displays what happens when an exceptional winemaker is blessed with an outstanding vintage. It is, of course, structured and tannic but the fruit is wonderfully pure and everything seems in perfect harmony. Well done, Sergio!
About this wine
Sergio had to harvest this vineyard earlier than planned in order to keep the sugar levels in check. The wine is aged in steam bent barriques, which precludes toasty, oaky aromas. The sandy soils minimize the tannins. Less than 1,700 bottles produced from just over 3/4 of a hectare. The vines were planted in 1951 with others in 1975 and 2000.
About the grape
Nebbiolo, the name believed to be derived from nebbia, Italian for fog, is a grape with one of the most protracted maturation cycles. It buds in early spring and ripens late fall (when the winter nebbia from the Alps reaches the vineyards).
Nebbiolo vines tend to grow upwardly with abandon, so management is essential to limit grape production and channel energy to them. They also are very particular about where they will thrive, which is why Nebbiolo is seldom found outside of Piedmont. Even there, it only is successful when planted on south facing slopes (much sun is needed for ripening), at elevations between 250 and 450 meters (lower there is too much frost exposure, higher the grapes won’t ripen).
Wines from Nebbiolo usually are pale-colored, high in acidity and very tannic. Common flavor descriptors are rose and tar. They tend to be highly aromatic.
About the vintage
Barolo producers could not have asked for better conditions than those in 2016 and an abundant crop to boot. The ripe fruit of 2015 was replicated but this time with ample acidity and more resolute tannins. Overall, the wines exhibit much better balance, even if they are not as much fun now.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl Cru
Sergio Molino is a highly respected consulting enologist in Piedmont and throughout Italy. This success emboldened him to resurrect his own family's farm and to produce wine from his own vines. The picturesque vineyard sits just below the church of Annunziata.
The Molino family vineyards, bottled under the Ernesto Molino label, as homage to Sergio’s father, lies within the Barolo commune of La Morra, at the base of the hill that leads up to town, just across the border from Castiglione Falletto. Locations such as these, low down on a slope, were considered less desirable but with global warming, the cool air that settles here at night now helps to moderate the heat and add freshness to the wines. Being lower down on a slope also helps alleviate hydric stress (when plants release more water than they absorb) - part of the double whammy climate change is inflicting on Piedmont.
Sergio has a delicate touch in the cellar, preferring to allow the vineyards to speak for themselves. With only a single Barolo vineyard, and a total of just 2.5 hectares under vine, his is a true micro-winery. His wines are distinct, traditional expressions of Piedmont’s grapes, produced with a technical precision honed over decades of consulting work. His tiny quantities of unique wines are an insider’s secret because Sergio is too busy to promote his own wines and is careful not to outshine his clients.