It's come close to happing before, but to my knowledge this year is the first time that an entire vintage has been given a perfect score of 100 by any wine rating body or individual. As reported in the Wine Enthusiast Magazine last month, Piemonte -- that lovely little nook in northwest Italy had the perfect combination of cool winter and hot dry summer to make the 2000 vintage the best in recorded history.
The 2000 Barbarescos are hitting the market now, and the 2000 Barolos are coming in 2005 (they need more cellaring to be classified as Barolos, even though the grapes are the same as Barbarescos.) I have less experience with Piemonte wines than those of Tuscany but I find the relationship between the Barbarescos and the Barolos the same as the Brunellos and the Rossos of Montalcino. The big money is in the Barolos, but the Barbarescos can be just as good, and sometimes better to my taste. In the hands of a good winemaker, the younger Barbarescos can be as rich and full bodied as the Barolos.
These two wines are the most well known (and the most expensive) of those wines produced in the region, but there are plenty of others, many of which are quite good.
For those who don't have the benefit of a subscription to the aforementioned rag, here are the wines that are recommended from this vintage:
BAROLO (prices not yet set):
I haven't tasted any of these wines yet, but when I do, I'll post a review.
I'm always looking for the less discovered wines, especially in higher end categories like Barolo or Brunello, so it was nice to learn about the "up and coming" regions in this DOCG -- keep an eye out for wines from Rabaja, Asili, and Basarin. They'll offer better values for the money.
Here's a reasonably large list (certainly not complete) of the wineries in the region, broken down by DOCG.
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