Wine of the Week - Pio Cesare Barolo Ornato

Text: Ms West

I love wines, especially Italian wines, for its diversity of regions and styles.


In Piedmont, one of the classic examples would be the highly sought-after Pio Cesare. Founded in 1881 by Cesare Pio, the winery has been producing wines for 138 years. It is now managed by Pio Boffa, the 4th generation of the Pio family.


Located in Alba, it owns roughly 70 hectares of vineyards in Barolo and Barbaresco. One of its most famous vineyard is Ornato, which is around 16 hectares with south facing exposure at Serralunga, the most powerful and masculine village among the 11 DOCG Barolo villages. Not only does the winery produce the single vineyard “Ornato”, it also forms the back bone of its Barolo wines.


Style-wise, I would say that it is somewhere between traditional and modern. Traditional in the sense that it is fermented in high temperature and macerated for relatively long time while ageing in French oak for at least 18 months is considered to be a modern technique, allowing the wines to be enjoyed a little earlier.


No doubt that, still, it takes some cellaring time to tame the rich tannin, however, I seldom decant Italian wines except for those made by international grapes. I prefer opening the Italian wines a few hours in advance and allow the wines to slowly open-up.


Tasted various vintages, Ornato is always bold, dense yet relatively silky (when compared to the same vintage of other Barolos). Love the red fruits, earthy, tar and especially the minty notes. To enjoy Ornato best, I would say open it at least 6 hours before drinking, taste it in between and find the best moment for yourself. Of course, I always suggest to buy at least a case to see the evolvement of the wines over the years!