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2019 #Piemonte | Giacomo Fenocchio winery, Monforte d'Alba

Updated: Jan 8

When you place yourself right in the heart of Barolo area, very soon you become get used to the views like this, which is opening from Giacomo Fenocchio tasting room. It was my pleasure to visit this great estate own by very nice family.

Giacomo Fenocchio winery is run these days by the fifth generation of the family. Claudio is a very talented winemaker, manage everything about #wine with perfect care of heritage and winemaking traditions learned from Giacomo his father, and super nice Nicoletta, Claudio's wife, who takes care of commercial plus hospitality parts. The winery produces about 90 000 bottles per year, of which around 90% is being exported.

Usually #winery visits start from vinification facilities and cellars, but this time we did everything vice versa. We've started with discussion about vineyards, crus, soils, terroirs and micro climates, continuing and pairing it with wine tasting. And only at the end we went into the cellar, by the way I liked that way of doing.

The family ownes 14 hectares in #Barolo zone, of which are parcels in the famous crus as Bussia, Cannubi, Villero and Castellero all are special terroirs, allowing to produce wines of outstanding quality and remarkable structure. The viticulture practiced is sustainable, not organic certified yet, but the farming is managed without using chemicals.


As we're exactly in the middle of the zone, literally in the heart of Barolo, directly on the hills of Monforte d'Alba, so you can see a great part of the #vineyards just right in front of you... and then you can switch on your imagination and match some crus' location with a special 3D map.

The estate produces 11 wines, including Dolcetto d'Alba, Barbera d'Alba, Langhe Nebbiolo, Langhe Freisa, Roero Arneis and of course the greatest Barolo. Luckily I was able to taste the major part of them... and even a bit more, an impromptu later in the cellar.


Saying at once, all of them ideally fit to my personal palate, besides they all are made of the greatest quality. The style, in which Claudio creates his wines, is very elegant and sophisticated, with all the respect and noticeable expression of the terroirs, especially crus of #Barolo; in the same time they all are very well structured, with particular clearly recognizable character and finesse. Absolutely lovely wines, and, what is very important for me (and I guess for a half of the wineworld at least), Claudio's Barolos are super approachable, so you really can drink them enjoably right now and, in the same time, they are going to be further aged perfectly. I'm in love with this style, fabulous wines.

Roero Arneis DOCG


Grapes: Arneis 100%

Vintage: 2018

Alcohol: 13.5%

Vinification: in stainless steel at low temperature, cold maceration 24-36 hours on lees

Ageing: in stainless steel, in the bottle

Nose: lime zest, pomello, green pineapple, hay, camomile

Palate: full body, citrus fruits, sharp structure


This wine is crafted from the grapes grown in Roero area on calcareous, clay soils at the altitude 300-350 m. Arneis is a great indigenous white grape variety of the zone, giving wines with bright aromas of white flowers, green fruits and hints of straw. Usually wines made from Arneis have a high acidity level, strong citrus flavors and lovely sharpness on the palate, it cuts through continuing with a long finish. Definitely a great wine, pairs well with dishes made with creamy sauces, grilled fish and white meats.

Barbera d'Alba Superiore DOC


Grapes: Barbera 100%

Vintage: 2017

Alcohol: 14.5%

Vinification: alocholic fermentation around 10 days in stainless steel with maceration on skins, indigenous yeast

Ageing: 6 months in stainless steel, 6 months in large Slavonian oak casks, later in the bottle

Nose: red cherry, blackberry, fresh blueberry, vanilla

Palate: dry, full body, medium tannins


Typical well-made #Barbera of the zone, very fruitforward, quite impulsive and expressive. It punches you right at the face with a direct black&red fruity bomb, which is in the same time good balanced with acidity and rounded texture. The wine is made from the grapes of Monforte d'Alba hills, grown on blue marl and tuff soils at 300 m altitude. Barbera was usually being harvested here in the mid of October, but thanks to the Global warming current 2019 vintage Barbera grapes were picked already in the end of September.

Freisa Langhe DOC


Grapes: Freisa 100%

Vintage: 2017

Alcohol: 14%

Vinification: alocholic fermentation around 8 days in stainless steel with maceration on skins, indigenous yeast

Ageing: 6 months in stainless steel, 6 months in large Slavonian oak casks, later in the bottle

Nose: wild strawberry, fresh raspberry, grinded pepper, cloves

Palate: medium body, round, well balanced


Freisa is an indigenous grape variety, almost unknown even in Italy, not saying that people from other countries just never heard about it. This grape was cultivated in Langhe from a very old times and all local people are used to drink Freisa for many years. This Freisa grapes are grown in Monforte d'Alba vineyards on blue marl with clayey sediments soil. The wine is quite simple but very nice, with bright red fruit flavours, a bit spicy but still having a round mid palate. Easy drinking everyday wine, definitely not suitable for ageing, a good summer fruity wine.

Nebbiolo Langhe DOC


Grapes: Nebbiolo 100%

Vintage: 2017

Alcohol: 14.5%

Vinification: alocholic fermentation around 10 days in stainless steel with maceration on skins, indigenous yeast

Ageing: 6 months in stainless steel, 6 months in large Slavonian oak casks, later in the bottle

Nose: red plum, cherry, liquorice, tar

Palate: dry, medium tannins, earthy


This Langhe Nebbiolo is called here very gently "baby Barolo". It's defintiely showing strong typical character of Nebbiolo grape variety, but it's not that yet mature and serious like Barolo wine. Langhe #Nebbiolo is full of red fruit aromas and flavours, with notes of mushroom, dried roses and tar, very interesting mix of flavours typical for Nebbiolo. The grapes for this wine are picked from different vineyards in Monforte d'Alba area, so the wine demonstrates certain typicity of mixed terroirs of Langhe. It can be paired well with almost all types of food, starting from simple vegetables and ending up with meat and even fish (yes, with fish too, not with all types of course, but some of them will surely surprise you).

Castellero Barolo DOCG


Grapes: Nebbiolo 100%

Vintage: 2015

Alcohol: 14.5%

Vinification: alocholic fermentation 40 days in stainless steel with long maceration on skins, indigenous yeast

Ageing: 6 months in stainless steel, 30 months in large Slavonian oak casks, refinenment in bottle

Nose: cranberry, violet, licorice, coffee, dark chocolate

Palate: sweet spices, velvety, jammy, powerful tannins


Castellero Barolo is crafted from Nebbiolo grown in parcels of historical Cannubi cru, first known zone of production of wine called "Cannubi", which was crafted even before name "Barolo" was fixed by law. Cannubi is the most famous terrior in Barolo area, giving grapes with special character and solid structure wines. Soils are mix of marl and sand here, the altitude of the slopes is about 280 m. This Barolo is kind of brutal, with remarkable grippy tannins, still young and partially closed, but already showing it massive potential. Interesting wine, definitely will age very well and show its bests in the next 5-10 years.

Bussia Barolo DOCG


Grapes: Nebbiolo 100%

Vintage: 2015

Alcohol: 14.5%

Vinification: alocholic fermentation 40 days in stainless steel with long maceration on skins, indigenous yeast

Ageing: 6 months in stainless steel, 30 months in large Slavonian oak casks, refinenment in bottle

Nose: raspberry, dried roses, liquorice, tobacco

Palate: full body, warm, pronounced tannins, long finish


Bussia is one of my endless loves. This Barolo is almost ideal (saying "almost" because nothing is ideal in this world). Extremely elegant, super persistent, thrilling. Moreover it's really drinkable-now-wine, even though it is especially made for longer aging. I have no idea how Caludio does his magic with his Barolos, but it works. This Barolo Bussia is a perfect example of a harmony between terroir's self-expression and human's winemaking talent. Highly appreciate the job Claudio does, it's real passion, which led him to craft such awesome wines. Love it.

Bussia 90di Barolo Riserva DOCG


Grapes: Nebbiolo 100%

Vintage: 2013

Alcohol: 14.5%

Vinification: alocholic fermentation in stainless steel, technique of submerging the cap until 90 days, which allows a transfer of the noble elements from the skins to wine

Ageing: 6 months in stainless steel, 4 years in large Slavonian oak casks, refinenment in bottle

Nose: dried roses, truffle, leather, graphite

Palate: black cherry, dried herbs, velvety tannins, silky texture


This Barolo is a top wine in Giacomo Fenocchio line up and it's a gem. It's crafted from Nebbiolo of the same Bussia cru, but winemaking techniques and ageing period are different. 90di = 90 days, which means that wine was fermented during 90 days (this is veeery long for any wine) with a special ancient technique of submerging cap, which is by the way used by other well known wineries in the area (stay tuned for other articles about them). At the end the wine crafted is very deep and super complex, demonstrating endless quantity of aromas and flavours starting from red fruits, continuing with herbs, pencil shavings, cedar and continuing again with truffles, leather, tobacco leaves, coffee and continuing again... it really never stops. I would say you "can" pair it with food, but for me such Barolo is absolutely meditation wine, which I prefer to drink just as is. And yes, this complicated Barolo made by Claudio is drinkable now, of course it will become even better and better with ages, however if you don't want to wait, it is not necessary.

As during the tasting we were discussing different crus, vintages, weather conditions, ageing potential, etc. The last vintage available on the market is 2015 and the very promising next vintage 2016 is still in botti, but almost ready for release (next spring), so Nicoletta kindly invited us, if we want to see the cellar and to taste 2016 vintage from the botti (at that moment, actually, I was already a bit late to my meeting with Nicola Oberto, but I was not able to skip visiting of Giacomo Fenocchio's cellars)... of course YES!

Classic local cellars: large Slavonian oak botti of different sizes (e.g. 2000-2500 l, 3500-5000 l), tonneaux and barriques are also presented.

The treasure Bussia 90di vintage 2016 is awaiting for its hour to be bottled and released on the market soon. While we were tasting it, the only thing I was able to pronounce was kind of "Guys, seems I have swallowed my tongue..."

Oh, this blue motorino is kind of super fun inside the cellar (forgot to ask Nicoletta if it's really in use or not).

Cannubi vintage 2016 tasting from the casks... and it was like "Omg, the only place, where I wanna be, is right inside this barrel". Extremely beautiful wine, emotional, outstanding.

Special thanks to amazing Nicoletta for managing my visit.


By the way, great video from official Giacomo Fenocchio website, highly recommended to watch (about 10 min, English subtitles), where Claudio is telling the story of his family, vineyards and wines he crafts. This is easy to do some great things in your life, like creating exceptional wines, when you just love what you do, work super hard, respect history and traditions, love your land and your family. How Claudio does.


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