Barolo 2014 gets a bad rap! With this vintage we truly see the power of wine journalists. What do I mean by that? Let me try and explain.
April showers bring May flowers
While this is a beautiful proverb, it was not the case in 2014. Instead of just April showers, it rained pretty much all of July. And not just a little bit of drizzle. It poured. I know, because I was there that year. It didn’t look good for the grapes and the winemakers were worried. And if that was not enough, the wine journalist and wine enthusiasts started to slam the 2014 vintage before the grapes were even harvested.
Here’s where it gets interesting: the weather picked up just in time for ripening season. While the Dolcetto and Freisa suffered quite a bit (also due to hail storms), the Barbera and Nebbiolo grapes were able to ripen just in time for harvest season. In the end, a year that seemed unsalvageable due to horrible weather conditions was indeed salvaged by good weather conditions.
The “Problem” with Barolo 2014
You’d think the winemakers would be happy with the way the vintage turned out. But, the damaged had already been done during the first half of the year. The 2014 vintage got such a bad rap that many had problems selling their wines. I think some still have 2014’s sitting in their cellar. In Norway, there are still Barolo 2014 available today, whereas the glorious 2016 vintage is sold out! And it’s such a shame because so many wonderful Barolos were made in 2014.
As Galloni said, “Navigating through the 2014 Barolo vintage is going to require a bit of work, although the time spent will be hugely rewarding.” And he is right. Good winemakers always make good wines, even in challenging years. Hard work pays off! And so while Barolo 2014 gets a bad rap, I’d encourage you to spend some time seeking out the great bottles that were made in this trying vintage. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Tasting Notes Barolo 2014
Cascina Fontana Barolo
As Mario Fontana famously said: “The wine must reflect the season”. He said this while we tasted the Barolo 2014 together at his winery in July 2018. The wine was approachable and pleasant to drink, with plenty of fruit. It lacked a bit of structure, especially compared to the 2013 vintage but the wine did not live up to its “bad reputation.” In fact, it was quite the opposite!
Diego e Damiano Barale Barolo
Diego Barale has a soft spot for his 2014 Barolo. And I can see why. Beautiful aromas of roses, leather and liquorice jump out of the glass inviting you to taste it. The wine is light and fresh with smooth tannins making it very approachable. According to the brothers, they don’t feel their 2015 is ready yet. And while we wait for it to be ready we can drink the 2014. Which is what we did the summer of 2020.
Fratelli Alessandria Barolo
Blindtasted this against another wine October 2019 and I would NEVER have guessed it was 2014. Aromas of strawberries and other red fruit. Smooth but persistent tannins. Very fresh. A wonderful wine.
Giovanni Corino Barolo Arborina
Tasted this at the winery with Veronica Corino March 2018. As predicted, it did not have the same structure as 2013, but the wine did not feel like it was lacking anything. I think we should move away from using the terms “good” and “bad” when talking about vintages, and instead focus on the differences. Because every year is different. We just have to remember that different isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Trediberri Rocche dell’Annunziata
A little closed on the nose when first opened, but after a while aromas of red fruits appeared. Good acidity, balances with a long finish. A fresh and approachable Barolo. Tasted in April 2019.
Vietti Barolo Lazzarito
Aromas of wet earth, mushroom, truffle and leather. Approachable, but perhaps a little green on the nose? Quite complex. Tasted this as a “pop and pour” at the winery August 2019. Would probably benefit from a little bit of air.
Barolo 2014 for my Norwegians:
There are still some Barolo 2014 available at Vinmonopolet!