It took only two 2016 Barbaresco offers to come across my desk before I emphatically have decided I’m all in on this vintage. It’s a modern-day classic in the making, one that after tasting from barrel, preeminent Italian wine critic Antionio Galloni gushed, “The young 2016 Barbarescos are some of the most compelling young wines I have tasted in twenty years of visiting the region…the picture that is starting to emerge from wines I tasted in bottle and cask is of a very high quality vintage with the potential to be truly extraordinary.”
He’s right. So, I’ve been on the hunt to find the best. The first offer was Gaja, the legend. 96 points for the ’16. The second was from Giancarlo Rocca, winemaker and proprietor of Ronchi, a tiny estate (just 12 acres total!?!) that I discovered on a trip a few years ago. His 2016 grand cru, Ronchi recently received an emphatic 95 point review from Galloni, just a point behind the HOFer, Gaja. Both wines are aromatic fireworks shows, with deep concentration and the bones to improve for decades. The catch? Gaja’s average price online of $269 keeps this out of reach of most, including me.
But Giancarlo’s epic Ronchi 2016 can be had for $45/btl on case orders, a crazy price given the pedigree. Oh, the other catch is that while Gaja pumps out tens of thousands of bottles from his 250 acres in Barbaresco and Barolo, with only 12 acres, Giancarlo Rocca bottles each one of his by hand! I have just 60 bottles of these under the radar treasures. You’re definitely going to want this one.
“Ronchi has been on a roll these last few years. The 2016s are the most complete wines I have tasted yet from this small estate in Barbaresco with its core holdings in the Ronchi cru. Both Barbarescos are fermented in steel and aged in a combination of small and large oak. The wines are powerful and rich, but have the structural frames to handle all of that intensity. A few years ago the wines were a bit rustic, but that is less often the case these days. As for the 2016s, they are dazzling, electric wines that deserve a wider audience. Best of all, the Ronchi Barbarescos offer tremendous value.” -Antonio Galloni
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95 Points, Antonio Galloni – Vinous
The 2016 Barbaresco Ronchi, the estate’s top selection, marries elegance with power so well. Freshly cut flowers, mint, sweet red berries, anise and blood orange confer freshness that plays off the wine’s dense, expansive fruit. A rush of sweet raspberry, cherry and rose petal punctuates the exuberant finish. The 2016 is a fabulous wine from a property that has been on the ascent in recent years.