Wine of the Year #2: Ian's Pick - 2010 Canonica Barolo Paiagallo

Posted by Ian McFadden

Wine of the Year #2: Ian's Pick
2010 Canonica Barolo Paiagallo

Giovanni Canonica’s 2010 Barolo Paiagallo haunted me for weeks after I tasted it.

Frankly, I can’t think of any other young Barolo that’s had a similar effect on me. Its purity, beautiful balance, and finesse are amazing.

As far as wine obsessions go, this one was troublesome. Canonica makes very little wine. He only releases the Barolo from 1.8ha in the Paiagallo vineyard. He also makes a Barbera, which he keeps for the family, and some Dolcetto for turning into a chutney to eat with cheese. For the rest of us, it’s just his Barolo Paiagallo, which gets allocated in tiny quantities.

Canonica follows super-traditional methods—minimal sulfur, foot-pressed grapes, indigenous yeasts, aging in old oak "botte." Even the labels are applied by hand. The result is a pure, traditional Nebbiolo that sent me searching high and low to find enough wine to make it my Wine of the Year.

Canonica’s pure, very detailed style found close to its ideal expression in the 2010 vintage. The aromatics really pop from the glass with gorgeously delineated notes of herbs, flowers, earth and bright red fruits. The combination of class, complexity and unmediated purity make this very special.

The 2010 Barolo vintage is the best young vintage I’ve tasted. The wines are just so clear, fine and nuanced. Galloni really captures the vintage when he writes that the wines are "transparent, vibrant Barolos that pulsate with tension, crystalline purity and site-specific nuance."

The 2010 Barolo Paiagallo clearly shows that Giovanni belongs among Barolo’s great traditionalists and best wines of this great vintage. I offer it with some trepidation since quantities are limited. Please give us your ideal order, but be advised that we'll likely have to allocate.

To order, reply to or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Ian McFadden
Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits