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A Best Kept Secret: “One of Piedmont's Truly Under the Radar Estates” from the Most Compelling Vintage In 20 Years
March 31, 2020

Discover “The Most Compelling Wines…In 20 Years” and the Greatest Values In Barbaresco. It’s the Tale of David and Goliath from the Benchmark Vintage in the Making.

“The 2016 Barbarescos are some of the most compelling young wines I have tasted in 20 years of visiting the region…. I have said this now for many years. Cigliuti remains one of Piedmont's truly under the radar estates.” Antonio Galloni, Vinous

It is truly the tale of David vs. Goliath with today’s featured producer and wine. With the overwhelming response to the debut offerings from Barolo, our focus has returned to the classic 2016 vintage in the Langhe Hills. This time we are talking about the “Queen of Wines,” Barbaresco. And while the region is synonymous with the single-vineyard, triple-digit “Goliath” bottlings from Bruno Giacosa and Angelo Gaja, whose wines achieved critical perfection in the standout vintage, they can be cost prohibitive for the mere mortal. In true IWM fashion, we appreciate the overachieving underdog and are always looking for that quintessential below the radar artisan producer of Nebbiolo. Perhaps no producer epitomizes this idea more than the tiny, family-run winery of Cigliuti, who crafts one of the great values in wine.

Cigliuti produces two Barbareschi, the Vie Erte is aged in cask, and the Serraboella, which is aged 60% in cask and 40% in French oak. And while Galloni noted that “the Cigliuti Barbaresco Serraboella is one of the stand outs of the year,” It is the underrated Cigliuti Vie Erte that captured our attention and truly screams traditional Barbaresco. Hand-picked Nebbiolo from 20-year-old vines grown at 350 meters above sea level, placed in large Slavonian oak casks to age for more than 26 months after a twenty-day maceration – it’s a process that would make a young Bruno Giacosa smile. A mere 400 cases are produced, with just a handful landing in New York – and we are grabbing all that we can.

To complement the offering, and as some added price relief in this difficult time, we are including the more modern-minded 2016 Moccagatta Barbaresco Bric Balin. This is a full-throttle Barbaresco that lands on the other side of the flavor spectrum of the Cigliuti and for those wine-lovers looking for more richness and density of fruit.

New Arrival(s): Under the Radar Barbaresco and Beyond (Click to Order)

At the end of last year, Antonio Galloni, the former Robert Parker Piemonte wine specialist, shared his opinions on the highly anticipated 2016 vintage. “Last year, I wrote, ‘The 2016s, wines from a potentially historic vintage, may very well put Barbaresco on the map big time. As I traveled from producer to producer, I experienced that sense of excitement and energy I always feel when in the presence of important vintages and wines.’ I feel exactly the same way today...” We agree. Buy up all things 2016 Piemonte! We have not been this excited about Nebbiolo as a whole since the 2004 and 2010 vintages! Unfortunately, like many of the producers in the tiny region of Barbaresco, Cigliuti produces miniscule quantities of their single-vineyard selections from the communes of Barbaresco and Nieve. To put this in perspective, just 580 cases of the single vineyard Cigliuti Barbaresco Serraboella is produced, with a handful arriving in the US. Like many parts of the world in 2016 – Napa to Bolgheri, Burgundy to Piemonte, Mother Nature provided a rare universal vintage and we recommend snatching up all the Barbaresco and Barolo you can grab!
Additional Notes and Reviews:
“The young 2016 Barbarescos are some of the most compelling young wines I have tasted in twenty years of visiting the region…The 2016s are extraordinarily harmonious. The extended growing season yielded wines with healthy Nebbiolo fruit, soaring aromatics and perfectly ripe, super-polished tannins… Stylistically, the 2016s remind me of the 2004s, but with more fruit and the added finesse that comes with another dozen years of experience in farming and winemaking. The best 2016s I tasted are positively dazzling. Most of the 2016s have only recently been bottled, and yet their quality is evident.” – Antonio Galloni, Vinous

2016 Cigliuti Barbaresco Vie Erte
Christopher Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: Here is one of those tiny, family run wineries in Barbaresco that someone remains under the radar, which if fine by us. While many enthusiasts and critics gravitate to the flagship Barbaresco Serraboella from older vines, IWM remains fixated on the more traditionally-spirited Barbaresco Vie Erte. The wine simply screams freshness and purity of fruit and is one of those wines that pulls you in by the nose hairs with the signature nuances of dried rose petals, mountain flowers, licorice, and red fruit. These flavors are joined on the palate with cherries, spice, cola, tar, herbs, and mineral. This Barbaresco is classically built and rustic, expect to find some tannic grips and punch on the finish. The wine needs a little time or demands some food. For those that like classic Nebbiolo deliver with exceptional value.”

94 Points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous: “Cigliuti's 2016 Barbaresco Vie Erte is absolutely gorgeous. In 2016, the Vie Erte stands out for its distinctive spiced profile and that extra kick of mid-palate richness the wine has acquired now that the vines are nearly twenty years old. Vibrant and energetic, the 2016 has enough pedigree to age well for a number of years, although, quite frankly, it is very delicious right now. The sweet floral, minty and spiced notes that are so typical of this site really come to life with a bit of time in the glass. Although it was only bottled recently, the 2016 is quite expressive. Naturally, it will be even more so in a few years' time.”

2016 Moccagatta Barbaresco 'Bric Balin'
Christopher Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: Tasted three times and we can emphatically say, that this is hands down one of the most seductive cru Barbarescos we have tasted - and what is more stunning is that is available under $55. No, it is not as shy, finessed, red fruited or charming as say Produttori del Barbaresco, rather you can expect to find more exotic and lush layers of plum, black cherry, currant, red licorice, and minerality. While there is an almost silkiness to the young Barbaresco with its ripe tannins and sweet fruit, the signature Nebbiolo firmness is there on the finish and demands some food to accompany the wine. It may not be for the severe traditionalist, but it is a wine that can please those that appreciate Volnay and the ripper side to Nebbiolo. For IWM it is simply delicious and fun Barbaresco that is deceivingly approachable in the pocket and on the palate – and that is not such a bad thing.”

95 Points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous: The 2016 Barbaresco Bric Balin, Moccagatta's flagship, is fabulous. Rich and sumptuous in the glass, with tremendous allure, the 2016 has so much to offer. A rush of dark cherry, espresso, licorice, spice and leather builds as this creamy, luscious Barbaresco shows off its immediacy and appeal. There is plenty of tannin, but it is nearly buried by the wine's luxurious fruit. What a gorgeous wine this is. The 2016 is once again simply compelling. Another year in bottle has only been a help.” 11/19