Wines to Seek Out
A total of 12 wines are made by Giacomo Fenocchio, with half of the labels falling under the Barolo DOCG: five single-vineyard cru with two of them from Bussia (one being the Riserva) and one blend of plots (a superb value, by the way). Highlights include:
Giacomo Fenocchio Langhe Freisa
Sourced from the upper portion of the Bussia cru, this Freisa clearly illustrates the grape's close kinship with Nebbiolo, while registering something a smidge different: a fuller body. Earthy, savory and smokey aromas lead the fruit on this nose, giving anyone who is familiar with Piedmont and its wines a bullseye signature of where this wine comes from.
Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo
It is so interesting how the normale Barolo is often my favorite. For all the thrills we get teasing out the details of single-vineyard cru expressions, the balance achieved by blending varied plots together is — for me, at least — where it is at. The fact that they are often better priced is an added bonus.
Giacomo Fenocchio's normale is a prime example of this phenomenon. "I have no critique," I wrote in my notes on my latest encounter with these wines, the 2018. Fresh, generous yet deeply complex, it presented a commitment to balance that Barolo increasingly needs as alcohol levels tick upward thanks to climate change. Already the tannins were cotton-like and well integrated, but I imagine this wine could go the distance in the cellar, too.
Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo Castellero
Fenoccio's easiest drinking single-vineyard Barolo comes from Castellero. While this vineyard resides on the Castiglione Falleto-Monforte d'Alba side of the divide, it seems to regularly offer wines more indicative of La Morra and Verduno's grace. This wine bolsters that case, with an elegant palate expression and plenty of lovely aromas to carry the night.
Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo Cannubi
Bussia may be the greatest Barolo cru in terms of size, but Cannubi is often regarded as the greatest in terms of balance, and Fenocchio is among a rare cadre of producers with enough vine rows to make a single-vineyard expression of the great hill. A recent tasting of the 2018 gave me the feeling that this powerhouse wine is meant for the long haul. Let it age!
I will say this: we are likely looking at a future where no Barolo wine from Cannubi will be priced under $100. For now, this wine regularly comes in the $70 ballpark, so snatch up a few while you can.
Giacomo Fenocchio "90 di" Barolo Bussia Riserva
Barolo Riserva wines ought to have grandeur, and Fenocchio's "90 di" from the Bussia cru certainly delivers on that promise. The normale may be my favorite in the portfolio, but this is unquestionably the greatest wine: a scintillating display of not only Barolo's muscle, but its agility and endurance, too. Much of this prowess comes down to process. The name refers to the 90 days in which the cap is submerged, allowing all the rich and earthy detail in the skins of the Nebbiolo to permeate the juice, making it one of the most traditional Barolo wines on the market.
However, it is worth noting how the hallmarks of all of Fenocchio's Barolo wines show up in heightened, beautiful ways in "90 di." If you like your Barolo wines to bear recollections of white truffle and roses, this is the producer (and the wine) for you.