Elio Grasso has been one of the go-to producers for many years when considering fine Barolo at exceptional pricing, and the 2019s are no different. 2019 is an exceptional vintage for these two 'crus' and are two not to miss wines from this excellent address.
Elio Grasso is located in Monforte d'Alba, working 18 hectares of vineyards located within an official world heritage site. True farmers at heart with love for tradition, but in looking for something new to offer, Elio Grasso decided in 1978 to bottle their vineyards separately to show off their unique vineyard sites instead of one singular bottling for Barolo. Thus Casa Mate and Chiniera were Born. Casa Mate is a south-facing vineyard located at about 1,000 feet elevation featuring moderately loose-packed and slightly clayey limestone soils. Chiniera is also south facing, though at a slightly lower elevation of around 750 feet, and features sandy limestone (sandy soils are considered some of the best for Nebiolo and is in many of the top Barolo sites). Both vineyards feature about 40 years old vines, and fruit is always hand-harvested. Fermentation is done in temperature-controlled tanks before aging traditional 25-hectoliter Slovenian oak casks.
Casa Mate represents the elegant and ethereal side of Barolo from Elio Grasso, especially this vintage with incredible complexity while retaining its classicism. In contrast, the Chiniera is a bit of a sleeping giant that shows innate precision and energy. Both are incredibly classic examples from Elio Grasso and are two of the wines that must be considered when reflecting on the best of the vintage.
Jeb Dunnuck (Audrey Frick) 98 pts! The 2019 Barolo Gavarini Chiniera is just superb, with layers of pure fruits and spices interwoven with vibrant cherry liqueur, candied roses, incense, and baking spice. Harmonious and balanced from the start, it offers ripe tannins, a seamless spine of fresh acidity, and fantastic length that leaves me wanting more. As it opens, it reveals more nuanced notes of apricot and saline earth. An outstanding medium to full-bodied red, this is one to cellar for a few years, as it has a ways to go before its full spectrum is revealed. Drink 2026-2050
Vinous (Antonio Galloni) 96 pts! The 2019 Barolo Gavarini Chiniera is classically austere and just gorgeous right out of the gate. Soaring aromatics and fine, sculpted fruit race out of the glass. Crushed rose petal, cinnamon, orange peel and mint are all beautifully delineated. Readers will have to be patient, as the 2019 is going to need years to be at its best, yet it has that embryonic inner sweetness that characterizes the very finest wines here. Superb. (Drink between 2029 - 2044)