Azienda Agricola Gianfranco Alessandria is a small family owned winery working entirely within San Giovanni, a hamlet in Monforte d’Alba, one of the five main communes in Barolo. Gianfranco Alessandria took over managing his family’s farm in 1986 and initially continued selling grapes from his 5.5 hectares on the open market as the family had always done. After a few years he began to bottle portions of the harvest. The first Barolo came with the 1993 vintage and a winery was constructed on the property in 1996. Over the years the estate has expanded and is now up to around 45,000 bottles, with plantings divided between Nebbiolo, Barbara and Dolcetto.
Today Gianfranco, along with his daughters Marta and Vittoria, make great wines true to their soil. The wines are aged in small neutral oak barrels. They use minimal sulfur and work as organically as possible out of concern for both the health of the environment and, they attest, their own health.
The 2016 vintage in Barolo was ideal. The growing season was long, with moderately warm days and moderately cool nights, no frost or hail and just enough rain, resulting in wines with good balance and structure throughout Barolo.
Price-wise, a first tier of producers would be names such as Conterno, Giacosa, Giacomo Mascarello, Bartolo Mascarello, whose ‘basic’ commune level bottlings go for into the three digit range, and we have some of those. Alessandria is an exceptional value producer occupying a second tier in Barolo, with prices starting below $50, alongside such other value producers as Oddero, Vajra and Vietti (producers we always try to keep in stock). The Gianfranco Alessandria Barolo 2016 is drinking well now and will age nicely for 10-15 years.
Gianfranco Alessandria Barolo 2016
Sale Price: $32.97
Wine Advocate, 94 pts. - "The Gianfranco Alessandria 2016 Barolo opens to tangy and spicy fruit aromas with accents of aniseed, dried licorice and cola. That part fruit intensity and part ethereal spice is the aromatic playlist of a classic Barolo such as this. The wine is fermented in stainless steel, with a short 10 days of skin contact. It later ages in 225-liter oak barrel, of which only 20% of the wood is new. The results are lightweight and buoyant, and the wine is strong on aromatic high tones with some mint and crushed stone. There is no residual heaviness on the nose or the palate, and that balanced acidity kicks in on the close. Some 10,000 bottles were released in January 2020."
Vinous, 93 pts. – “The 2016 Barolo is bright, floral and beautifully lifted. Crushed flowers, sweet red berry and mint all grace this subtle, nuanced Barolo. Medium in body, with lovely freshness and good depth, the 2016 has so much to offer. This is a very pretty, and refined straight Barolo. The 2016 has the potential to be a real overachiever. I especially like the wine's inner sweetness and perfume.”
Past Cellar Selections:
Beringer Private Reserve 2015 – 99 points!
Huët Clos du Bourg 2019 – Grand Cru from the Loire Valley
Heitz, Dunn, Continuum . . . What is a Cult Cali Red?
Chandon de Briailles - Wines Without Artifice
Magnum Bottles from CVNE Imperial
Beaux Freres Pinot Noir 2018
Viña Real Rioja Gran Reserva – What were you doing in 1987?
Domaine Simon Bize 2018 – Value Burgundy
Domaine du Pelican – Burgundy Meets Jura
La Rioja Alta “890” Gran Reserva Rioja 2004
Alion and Pintia – The Other Vega Sicilias
Three Oderros: for the Picnic Table, the Dinner Table and the Cellar
Burgundy with age from Jean Chauvenet