The 2001 Italian vintage caps off a remarkable string of outstanding vintages for Piedmont that began in 1996. During that relatively brief time period producers gained a great deal of knowledge and experience, both in the vineyard and in the cellar, a positive trend which continues today. In addition, 2001 featured the growing conditions in which Nebbiolo thrives: hot daytime temperatures alternating with cool nights. The favourable weather, along with producers' newfound sense of maturity, combined to produce an extraordinary set of wines. Simply put, for Barolo, 2001 is the most complete of the vintages between 1996 and 2001. These would make an excellent 21 year old wine gift for a birthday or anniversary celebration this year, and will keep well for years to come.
The 2001 vintage is characterised by wines that are in a classic style, with high tannic qualities and with fresh acidity and medium body. The weather throughout the growing season was cool and cloudy. A mostly dry September and October allowed the late harvest of a large crop. The wines will be relatively slow to evolve given the relatively good acid and tannin levels.
The Rothschilds are making enormous investments in this estate, so I’m expecting a breakthrough effort to emerge (maybe the 2003 qualifies). The deep ruby-colored 2001 exhibits a moderately intense, noble bouquet of graphite, plums, and currants.
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