Nebbiolo Prima: New vintages of Barolo 2013 and Barbaresco 2014

A convincing vintage of Barolo 2013 and despite a very difficult year for Barbaresco 2014, there are wines that surprise. Positively. The wines were presented in Alba during  the event Nebbiolo Prima, in Piedmont in early April. Over a hundred wines a day were tasted by some sixty invited wine journalists from around the world. BKWine Magazine’s Åsa Johansson reports.

Barbaresco 2014

It is no news that 2014 was a difficult year in central and northern Italy. Sure, the sun came in September and October and saved what was possible to save but the whole summer was cold and rainy. In many places a large part of the harvest was lost due to rot or other damage caused by the bad weather.

You can feel that in the Barbaresco 2014 wines. The common denominator of the 67 wines tasted blind was the extremely high acidity and tough tannins, followed by a thin body where the fruit was often completely absent.

Hundreds of wines on tasting at the nebbiolo prima

Hundreds of wines on tasting at the nebbiolo prima, copyright A Johansson

Many of the wines felt more mature in the aromas than they on the palate. The aromas were in most cases very nice, elegant and inviting. In the mouth, however, the acidity and tannins took over. The Barbaresco that I thought was of the highest quality had succeeded in producing the fruit that weighed up all the hard and pointy notes. Barbaresco 2014 is likely to get better in a few years’ time. But there are no big wines, on the contrary slim and elegant. Despite the difficult year, the wines show the high skills the producers have. The quality is extremely high. Le Langhe delivers despite the tough year.


Cantina Rizzi Pajoré

Plum, roses, elements of coffee in the background, energetic elegant aromas. Integrated tannins, nice fruit, plums that come again, nice high acidity that is not aggressive. Long, balanced finished.

Rizzi barbaresco Pajore

Rizzi barbaresco Pajore, copyright A Johansson

Castello di Neive

Medium to intensive aromas, spices, white pepper, earthy tones with nebbiolo’s rose and plum aromas in the background. High tannins but without being pointy, medium acidity and very salty and earthy tones even in taste.

Cascina Luisin

A very well balanced Barbaresco. The different elements in low-key harmony where nothing stands out. Impressive craftsmanship. Fruits, spices, tannins and acidity in fine interactions that slowly convince you.

Cascina Luisin Rabaja barbaresco

Cascina Luisin Rabaja barbaresco, copyright A Johansson


Here the oak is present but it has been possible to avoid the bitterness that easily takes over when using too much oak on such slim wines. A lot of mature fruit compared to the others. The dark aromas, pomegranate and dried rose petals are perfectly integrated with tannins and acidity. A more accessible Barbaresco than most others.

More producers: Giuseppe Cortese, Ceretto, Col dei Venti, Tenuta San Mauro, La Trava, Nada

Nada barbarescos

Nada barbarescos, copyright A Johansson

Barolo 2013

The vintage of 2013 turned out to be a late harvest, even two weeks later than usual in some places. That does not mean that it is a bad vintage – on the contrary!

What seems to have been the biggest challenge for many producers are the high and prominent tannins that is typical for this vintage. During the tasting of the wines from 2013, the tannins feel very difficult and they require time. None the less the wines are balanced with a lot of everything.

Barolos and barbarescos at the nebbiolo prima

Barolos and barbarescos at the nebbiolo prima, copyright A Johansson

Especially those from Serralunga di Alba who demand the most time of all. They show a complexity and vibrating acidity that I think is outstanding. All it takes is time. So put vintage 2013 in the cellar and forget about them for a couple of years. It is hard to choose favourites because most of the wines are consistently of high quality but here are my five favourite producers from the vintage of 2013.

Top five producers:

Giacomo Fenocchio

Chiara Boschis di Pira

Castello di Verduno


G.D Vajra

Åsa Johansson is BKWine’s person in Italy. She lives in Florence since the early ’00s. Asa writes regularly on wine and food in Swedish and Italian publications as well as online.

Do you want to learn more about these delicious Piedmont wines, barolo, barbaresco and others, and taste many of them? Then come on a wine tour to Piedmont with BKWine.

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Hundreds of wines on tasting at the barbaresco prima

Hundreds of wines on tasting at the barbaresco prima, copyright A Johansson

This post is also available in: Swedish

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