Written by Kerin O'Keefe

Barbaresco 2019 Vintage Report: A Hallmark Vintage

The stunning 2019 Barbarescos shine a spot light on what was a fantastic vintage in the Langhe. And even though how a given vintage unfolds in Barbaresco doesn’t automatically mean it will be the same in Barolo (think 2014 for example, which was much better in Barbaresco because the denomination received half the rainfall of

© Paolo Tenti | The town of Barbaresco

The stunning 2019 Barbarescos shine a spot light on what was a fantastic vintage in the Langhe. And even though how a given vintage unfolds in Barbaresco doesn’t automatically mean it will be the same in Barolo (think 2014 for example, which was much better in Barbaresco because the denomination received half the rainfall of Barolo, with no precipitation from mid-August until the harvest) both appellations excelled in 2019.

Unlike many recent harvests, 2019 was a more of a classic vintage. Spring was delayed, with low temperatures and plenty of rain until mid-March. Plant growth was initially slowed down by heavy rain in April but this also replenished the water reserves in the soil that compensated for the minimal rain that fell during the winter. Variable weather and mild temperatures persisted throughout May. High temperatures in June and abundant water reserves in the soils generated rapid plant growth while the last week of June and the first week of July saw the hottest temperatures of the season followed by moderate temperatures interspersed with precipitation. Another heatwave hit in late July that ended in intense storms that didn’t damage the crop. The rest of the summer saw mild temperatures with sporadic rainfall.

The only hail hit on September 5th, and while most of Barolo and Barbaresco were spared, some areas of La Morra and low-lying areas of Serralunga, including 80% of the Fontanafredda MGA, were severely impacted.

Grape ripening was slower with respect to many recent years, with marked day and night temperature fluctuations that are critical for Nebbiolo. Most producers picked their grapes in the second half of October.

I tried 109 Barbaresco 2019s in April and several others just recently from producers that bottled later (140 in total). They are indeed superb, with extraordinary class, great structure and finesse. While many are already almost accessible, they will continue to evolve and maintain for years. The best boast fantastic aging potential of twenty and twenty-five years or longer from the vintage.

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