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Award-winning Barolo from cru vineyards in La Morra and Monforte: dried raspberries, violets, cinnamon and dark chocolate
This particular Barolo by Francone is definitely one of my favourites. This wine has also won the Decanter Silver medal – perhaps one of the best awards in the industry.
This Barolo is rather young, but not overly tannic and will not dry your mouth. It also has depth. It is well-balanced and just delicious to drink. I’d call this taste “classic” – not an experimental dark Barolo or some fancy new technique.
The Francone family has been producing quality Barolo since 1958 and has a loyal customer base. Fabrizio Francone makes wine with the complex flavour that we love Barolo for: dried raspberries and violet flowers, liquorice and cinnamon.
This Barolo is made from two cru (MGA) vineyards in La Morra and Monforte d’Alba, which explains its style. Both vineyard are Monforte has sandy soil formed in the Tortonian age, and produces powerful wines with structure. The soils in La Morra have a higher content of blue-grey marl and clay. They can absorb more water, and are known to produce more fruity and elegant wines that can be enjoyed earlier. So this Barolo sits in the middle and combines the characteristic qualities of both areas. Find out more about how soil types affect Barolo in my guide.
Vineyards: Bricco Chiesa MGA, La Morra, 260 metres above sea level; Ravera di Monforte MGA, Monforte d’Alba, 400 metres above sea level.
Grapes are harvested by hand in the first week of October, when they are perfectly ripe. After crushing, grapes undergo fermentation for 22 days in stainless steel vats, at a controlled temperature between 24-28°C. For the first 16 days, the wine is fermented on grapes skins to extract flavours and tannins. Then, the skins are removed, and the wine continues fermentation for another six days.
Following the malolactic fermentation, the wine is transferred for refinement in French oak barrels for 30 months – which is much longer than 18 months required by the disciplinare. By using medium-sized oak barrels of 700 litre and 1200 litre, Francone is able to introduce visible hints of oak, but not overpower the natural flavour of the grape. Finally, the wine is bottles and stored in the cellar for at least six months, where it finishes its integration and development.
One very important thing is that Francone Barolo has an incredibly low level of sulphites: about 39 mg /l of SO2.
In the glass, this Barolo has a medium garnet colour. It offers flavours of dried violet flowers, dried raspberry and dark fruits – think of cherry and blackberry. The flavours from oak are quite delicate, because the wine was aged in large second-use oak barrels. Expect hints of cinnamon, cloves, and a touch of dark chocolate. The wine is dry and full-bodied. It’s still rather young, so do expect a high level of tannins, but they are balanced and the wine is already quite drinkable.
Decanter World Wine Awards 2020 – Silver Medal (2016 vintage) | The Wine Hunter – “Rosso” (2016 vintage) | The Wine Enthusiast – 90/100 points
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