Pio Cesare “Ornato” Barolo 2013 [6/cs]

pio cesare barolo ornato
Italy Piedmont
Type: Red Table Wine
Vintage: 2013

The Barolos of Serralunga d’Alba have a bit of a reputation. The region is held in high regard for rich, intense, structured Barolo. Pio Cesare’s single-vineyard Barolo comes from three plots in the family’s Ornato Estate, one of Barolo’s top vineyards, in the western part of the commune. The fruit is exceptionally ripe, and consistently produces bright, robust, focused wines with incredible complexity and length.


The 2013 vintage is no exception. The wines were influenced by conditions in which fruit ripened slowly: a cool spring; cool, dry summer; and sunny, dry autumn encouraged steady flavour and tannin development. You’ll find complexity and elegance in the 2013 as a result. Grapes were fermented in stainless steel with skin contact for 15 days, then left to macerate on skins for 30 days. The wine aged in medium-toast French oak for 30 months (70% in new barriques and 30% in 25 hectolitre casks). This is a deep, powerful wine – age-worthy Nebbiolo of the highest order. It is completely reasonable to suggest that its prime drinking window is two decades from now.


“Extremely complex and showing the terroir of Serralunga with rose stems, wet earth, strawberries and mushrooms. Orange peel to boot. Full to medium body, ultra-fine tannins and bright acidity. Fascinating character that takes everything from the aromas. Light chewy on the finish. Expanding. Needs time to soften with bottle age. Better in 2021.”

98 points, JamesSuckling.com, Feb 2017


“Succulent, moreish, sweet and oh-so sophisticated. This is full of enticing raspberry and dark plum fruits with supporting flavours of violet, chocolate and tobacco. The style has evolved a touch, with less oak in the ’13 and more fruit expression. There is just superb freshness and balance here, with a feeling of weightless intensity on the palate. This is a true terroir wine which is undeniably delicious now, however I’d really want to revisit this during its peak in the next 10-20 years.”

96 points, John Stimpfig, Decanter, March 2017


“This wine represents a slight stylistic departure compared to past editions. The 2013 Barolo Ornato sees fruit sourced from Serralunga d’Alba from a site that is known for its power and concentration. This wine’s identity is tightly linked to the wide popularity of this more robust taste profile. Pio Cesare opted to use a little less barrique and more delicate punch downs instead of pump overs (that tend to increase tannins and bitterness). They have also opted to increase maceration times by a slight margin. The results are spectacular. This is a wine I have always admired and I’m pleased to say that it just got better. Dark fruit and plum segue to soft spice, leather and licorice.”

95+ points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, June 2017


“Starts out with breadth and depth to the cherry, earth, leather, tar and leafy flavors, turning more focused as the tightly wound structure emerges. The kaleidoscopic finish goes on and on. Best from 2023 through 2043.”

95 points, Bruce Sanderson, Wine Spectator, 2017