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A recent tasting ended in shock when this dark horse wine bested Barolo’s icons. Never before imported, the kaleidoscopic flavors and aromas of Ghisolfi’s Barolo nevertheless left reviewers speechless. It’s the ideal Barolo - commanding structure, beguiling aromas and penetrating flavor that is seemingly endless. Remarkable stuff. In 2010, perfect weather yielded the best wines of an entire generation, that will be the anchor of cellars for decades!
About the wine
The Ghisolfi label was rarely seen outside Barolo – this tiny but exceptional winery is the very definition of a well-kept local secret. Then a small importer extracted a tiny shipment to the U.S. – and word spread like wildfire. In five short years, they’ve collected 25 90+ ratings, essentially sweeping the award circuit with their confident, traditional Barolos. They’re nothing short of magnificent – they taste of rose and tar, brandied cherries and pulse with veins of iron-rich mineral. Wine critics, journalists and hard-to-please aficionados all concede: Ghisolfi is a new star. In 2010, they may have leapfrogged the competition to the upper ranks – deserving to be mentioned in the company of such traditional titans as Conterno, Giacosa and Mascarello, while also appealing to lovers of Vietti, Ratti and Scavino. This prodigious young wine needs a decant and will age well for decades.
Winemaker: Gianmarco Ghisolfi
Appellation: Barolo (Bussia)
- 93 pts: Wine Specator
- 93 pts: Wine Enthusiast
- 92 pts: James Suckling
- 98 pts: 2010 Vintage Rating (WA)
- 4.1/5.0: Vivino Users (77 Ratings)
Grapes: 100% Nebbiolo
Vineyard: 100% Bussia Cru
Cooperage: 30 months aging in large French Oak barrels
About the winery
The Ghisolfi family first purchased the land in 1895, starting with nine acres in the heart of the Bussia “cru.” This special home plot became the renowned “Bricco Visette,” a wine that frustrates for both its excellence and its scarcity. The family then added another 21 acres in 1988 and in doing so, finally made enough wine to justify commercial release. Within Italy, the Ghisolfi wines sold briskly, impressive even the most intransigent barolistas with its timeless sculpting and splendid bouquet. For many years, that’s where the story concluded. Collectors were loath to disclose a new find for fear of prices soaring. Meanwhile, this tiny family operation continued to turn out excellent, unapologetic wines in each vintage. Now the U.S. finally gets a chance to snag some - lovers of great Barolo should know that Ghisolfi counts Giacomo Conterno and Elio Grasso as neighbors! Yowza!
About the vineyard
The immaculate contours of Barolo’s vineyards please the eye almost as much as the wine satisfies the soul. Bussia is a choice “Cru” or single vineyard in the storied Monforte d’Alba district. A regal hill that emerges from lowlands, Bussia yields complex, savory and long-lived Nebbiolo wines. Compared to the other Barolo zones, Monforte wines have the reputation of being the most muscular and long-lived, due to the hillside exposures. Bussia is undeniably one of Piedmont’s favorite sites, yielding some of the highest-scoring Italian wines in memory. Bussia attracts only the top producers, including Aldo Conterno and Domenico Clerico, producers who have become so scarce in the market that their wines release at $100+ and reach the $500-$1000 range after some time in the cellar. The soil is a complex mélange of marl, limestone, marine fossils, iron and tufa – a mix which combines to create wine rich in texture, loaded with powerful structure and minerality. This unique soil creates the backbone that lets Bussia Barolos age for 20-30 years.
About the winemaker, Gianmarco Ghisolfi
Like many great Italian wineries, the winemaking duties are passed down for many generations. In 1987, Gianmarco Ghisolfi joined his father Attilio and his great-grandfather Carlo in the cantina at his family winery. Little by little, he absorbed wisdom from his family members – as well as the area’s close-knit winemaking community. He was keen to keep the family recipe consistent – no new barrels, and long aging meant to capture the fine tannins characteristic of Monforte wines. Yet he saw room for improvement in the vineyard – this rugged parcel of hillside fruit has been carefully converted to pesticide and fertilizer-free farming, resulting in a huge improvement in ripeness and complexity in their Nebbiolo harvest. With the best fruit in Bussia at his disposal, he’s poised to deliver proudly traditional wines for years to come.
93 points, Wine Spectator
“Pretty cherry, raspberry, rose and woodsy aromas and flavors highlight this elegant, athletic red. Turns denser and more compact, showing the potential for evolution. The long finish evokes tobacco and underbrush notes. Best from 2018 through 2032.”
93 points, Wine Enthusiast
"Underbrush, black raspberry, dark cherry, sage, spice, espresso, chocolate and balsamic notes are some of the sensations that emerge from this structured Barolo. It’s still young, with solid but ripe tannins, and needs time to develop fully. Drink 2018–2038."
92 points, James Suckling
“Beautiful structure with complexity, minerality, lots of red fruits on the palate, gentle tannins and a dry shiitake mushroom character. Sophisticated with elegant finesse. Better in 2015."