I haven’t had a chance to try the Renato Ratti Marcenasco 2016 yet. If you look below I’ve pasted plenty of wine notes supporting the quality of the wine. But this is the 2016 Barolo I’ve been waiting for. And if you were to buy just one Barolo 2016 for your cellar, I would heartily suggest Renato Ratti Marcenasco.
I remember back when the 2010 Barolo release was taking place. I had the privilege to taste a range of producers ‘pre-arrival’. I had not tried any of these producers before. The G.D Vajra Barolo was elegance and old-school. Then the Baudana wines (made by Vajra) aromatically pleasing and well structured. Finally, we tasted the Renato Ratti Marcenasco. And it was big, powerful, with plenty of life in it. I couldn’t get it out of my head. I kept thinking about how amazing it was.
Renato Ratti Marcenasco is a blend of fruit from their two grand Crus: The South-East facing Rocche dell’Annunziata at 400m above sea level and Conca @ 300masl, which is a SW facing amphitheatre. Renato Ratti tends to use smaller and more new oak than the more traditional producers, which gives you more overt and immediate flavours.
Renato Ratti Marcenasco 2016 Wine Notes
“Iris, rose, botanical herb and dark spice aromas lead the way in this fragrant red, along with an enticing whiff of graphite. Elegantly structured and boasting youthful tension, the vibrant palate delivers juicy Morello cherry, crushed raspberry, cinnamon and star anise framed in taut, refined tannins. It’s balanced and focused, with bright acidity. Drink 2024–2036.”
Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate
“This is one of the most versatile, accessible and inviting wines to be found anywhere in the Barolo appellation. That is the legacy of this wine, and the Renato Ratti 2016 Barolo Marcenasco proudly carries forward in this tradition. Indeed, it takes it a big step forward, as this is my favorite edition tasted in years. Fruit comes from a single vineyard located just outside the winery door. Marcenasco was farmed by Renato Ratti and his son Pietro, and it remains the flagship of this estate. This vintage is beautifully perfumed and vibrant, and the wine tastes terrific just out of the gate. The finish is delicate, tightly knit and feathery light on the palate.”
Stephen Brook (at Alba, 26 Jan 2020)
“Pietro Ratti’s vineyards are all close to his winery in the Annunziata subzone of La Morra. In recent vintages his Rocche dell’Annunziata has been extremely consistent in delivering wines of impeccable finesse. It is aged in barriques as well as casks, but the oak is well judged. The red-fruit nose is lean and minty with floral nuances, while the attack is fresh and limpid, with clarity of fruit supported by firm tannins. Quite assertive now, it’s youthful, stylish and long, with a crystalline finish.
Drinking Window 2021 – 2038”
“A pure, subtle Barolo 2016, showing poached strawberries, red-apple tart, rose-water and dried cloves. Medium-bodied and tight with fine tannins, steely acidity and a medium-chewy finish. Drink from 2022.”
Renato Ratti revolutionised Barolo, and we all can appreciate his contribution. Renato Ratti has passed away, but his winemaker and family carried on his legacy. The estate style is that of intensity and power. They pack in some alcohol and balance it with new French barriques. These are wines that don’t necessarily look their best young, but with age, the good old tar n roses come back.
Hear Importer Michael Trembath Talk about Barolo 2016.
Piedmont is one of the most significant wine regions in the world. Its name means the ‘foot of the mountain’. Piedmont is in the North-Western reach of Italy. There are a lot of parallels drawn between the best wines of Piedmont (Barolo and Barbaresco) and the wines of Burgundy. The region neighbours France and Switzerland with its border defined by the Alps to the North and west and Apennines to the South. These natural defences kept the Ligurians safe from Roman invasions. Luckily it didn’t work forever, as we may not have the wines that we cherish today.
Made from 100% Nebbiolo aged for least 3 years (5 for Riserva). Famous villages include La Morra, Verduno, Castiglione, Montforte, Serralunga and Barolo. Awarded DOCG in 1980.
One of the magic years where everything went right in Barolo. Barbaresco was fine too, but Barolo got the best of the conditions, and the wines are unmissable.
They are famously producing long-lived red wines. Light of colour, but abundant in tannin. Barolo and Barbaresco are the pinnacles of Nebbiolo. But many local and international regions are catching up. Typical flavours include tar, roses, anise, cherry, blackberry and truffle.
There are 1000s and 1000s of grapes in Italy. There are sub-alpine cool-climate regions in the North, and Sun-baked vineyards in the South. Add to that, volcanoes and many cultures within one Country. You could struggle to find anything uniform about the wines. The best of the best include Tuscan reds from Sangiovese or Cabernet. Nebbiolo from Piedmont, especially Barolo and Barbaresco. The aromatic whites of NE Italy from Garganega, Pinot Grigio, and numerous crazy blends. The volcanic wines of Mt Etna in Sicily. And many more.
The only generalisation I will make is that a lot of Italian wine is undervalued when compared to a similar French style.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is special. It contains everything you need to make grape wine except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product, including the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. Terroir is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
Fun fact; most of the colour for wines comes from the skins. There are only a handful of grapes that have red juice. Alicante is the most well known of these grapes.
By macerating the juice on the skins, the wine gains tannins, and flavours. Certain compounds change the chemistry of the wine too.
Red wines tend to have higher alcohol. More tannin and more oak flavours compared to other styles of wine. But the thousands of grapes and terroirs they grow in influence this.