Italy 2009 picks

The Sales Team selects our top picks from Piedmont.

The J & B sales team formed a huddle this morning (what is the collective noun for wine merchants? A barrel?) to debate the relative merits of the 2009 Barolos, not to mention the most recent releases of Dolcettos and Barberas. After much thoughtful discussion, teasing, a certain amount of cajoling and a few broken toys we whittled the list down to five stunning wines that we will be putting in our cellars.

These are must buys…

Correggia Barbera d’Alba Bricco Marun 2011 - £175.00 per 12 IB
This is svelte, succulent Barbera which is incredibly inviting already. Supporting the alluring fruit is a mineral, salty backbone which gives real drive to the wine. It is lively, refreshing and just absolutely wonderful. Love it. The Marun hill must be one of the best places to grow Barbera. Corregia’s vines are old (35 plus years) and they are right at the top of the hill on poor, free draining soils; an ideal site. This vineyard is very sought after and volumes are low. Buy now to drink and age.

Antonio Galloni - 91 points
The 2009 Barbera d'Alba Marun shows fabulous intensity in its radiant dark raspberries, flowers, licorice and French oak. This juicy, silky Barbera boasts tons of polish and sheer sexiness. It should drink nicely for at least a handful of years.

Jancis Robinson - 16 points
They have changed to using one-third big oak, one-third new barrique, and one-third second-year barrique. Dark crimson. Very sweet start but then it lifts and is a glossy black cherry sensation. Lift and punch. Sweet and dramatic without being excessive.

Marengo Brunate 2009 - £340 per 12 IB
This is perhaps the best value Brunate out there. Proper Brunate reveals a kaleidoscope of aromas and flavours restrained within a taught, even slightly austere frame. With age you see more and more of the kaleidoscope and the structure provides the foundation. Marengo makes proper Brunate at a very un-Brunate like price. This offers stunning value. Age for 10 years and enjoy for decades, a recent bottle of the 2000 was stunning and just starting to open up.

Antonio Galloni – 91+ points
The 2009 Barolo Brunate is the richest, deepest and most complete of the Marengo 2009s. A weightless, elegant Barolo, the 2009 impresses for its balance and depth. This is a decidedly restrained Brunate that maintains terrific freshness and energy, although site- specific nuances aren't as alive as they usually are. Sweet balsamic notes are layered into the creamy, expressive finish.

Jancis Robinson – 17.5 points
Mid ruby. Lifted herbal fragrance and just a touch of oak spice. Powerful but still surprisingly juicy with the freshness creeping out on the finish. Very long. (JH) 14%

Elio Altare Barolo Arborina 2009 - £275 per 6 IB
Altare did a great job in 2009. The rich silky, suave fruit of the vintage suits the house style. Elio has found real harmony with the Arborina 2009. It is full of charm yet with real depth and proper Barolo structure. Age for 6 – 8 years and enjoy over decades.

Antonio Galloni - 93 points
Firm tannins are center stage in the 2009 Barolo Arborina. There is plenty of depth and power in the glass, but this is very much a wine that needs time to come together. The drive, energy and tension are all pure hallmarks of Arborina. Mint, pine, freshly cut flowers and sweet red berries flesh out on the finish.

Jancis Robinson - 17 points
Brick-toned ruby. Delicate and complex on the nose: undergrowth, perfumed, sweet cherry, fragrant. Great tension and freshness and all tightly laced but harmonious. Traditional, earthy and full of promise. (JH) 14.5%

Scavino Barolo Cannubi 2009 - £615.00 per 12 IB
Slick, stylish and seductive. This is a perfect example of how modern winemaking can enhance rather than diminish the authenticity of the wine. This is very much Cannubi: lively and bright with bracing structure but this is also a wine of supreme charm. It is enchanting. Cannubi is one of the great crus of Barolo, Scavino are perfectly placed in the heart of the vineyard and it shows.

Antonio Galloni - 93 points
Often overlooked in this range because of its tiny production, the 2009 Barolo Cannubi is another wine with serious depth. Here, too, the fruit is rich, powerful and backward, but with time the sensuality of Cannubi begins to emerge. Scavino's 2009 capture the duality that is Cannubi. At once delicate yet powerful, the 2009 is a marvelous, complex Barolo loaded with personality as well as potential. As always, Scavino captures one of the darker shades this famous site is capable of. I don't see the 2009 being one of the most ageworthy vintages, but in exchange readers will find a wine that will require minimum time in the cellar.

Jancis Robinson – 16.5+ points
Relatively deep ruby. Very sweet red fruit aroma, more strawberry than cherry. Touch of vanilla sweetness. Hints of leather and more savoury character on the palate, even just a hint of dairy. Dry and grippy on the palate. A complex range of components that does not seem to have melded yet. Chewy finish but I think everything is there just not quite lined up yet. (JH) 14.5%

Roberto Voerzio Barolo Cerequio 2009 - £1150 IB per 12 IB
Silky, voluptuous, broad and highly complex. The Cerequio 2009 is a delight. The volume is really turned up here in terms of intensity of fruit and richness yet there is just the right amount of austerity to balance and refresh and let this exuberance shine. As is so often the case at this estate, the team have judged things perfectly. The Cerequio 2009 is stuffed full of everything we love about Barolo without ever feeling heavy or losing the sense of harmony or its focus. They only made about 300 cases of this and it is one to follow over a few decades. Great wine.

Antonio Galloni - 96 points
The 2009 Barolo Cerequio is unusually rich and powerful it this vintage. A wine of breadth, expansiveness, and volume, the 2009 boasts stunning depth and resonance from start to finish. The aromas and flavors remain pure and beautifully articulated throughout. The 2009 isn't quite as pure or vivid as the greatest Cerequios, but it is very close, and undoubtedly quite fine when taken on its own terms. A rich, totally intense finish rounds things out in style. Voerzio's 2009 Cerequio is shaping up to be one of the wines of the vintage.

Jancis Robinson – 17.5 points
Bricky ruby. Aromatic intoxicating cherry liqueur nose. Dried and fresh cherry and a hint of leather. Firm, earthy, chewy and dense. Quite forbidding on the palate at the moment. Very very long. Just fresh enough. (JH) 14.5%