Man walking in a vineyard in Italy

~ Walking the Vineyards at Azelia ~

The pictures in this article may be some of the most interesting I’ve ever included in a single article.  They truly are tremendous.  Unfortunately, they eclipse the wine.

Luigi Scavino represents the 5th generation of winemaker to work the 16 hectares of vineyards at their family estate in Castiglione Falleto.  Founded in 1920 by his father Lorenzo, the Scavino family is obsessed with meticulous care of their vineyards.  Most of the vines date from the 1940s and the Scavino’s practice natural fertilization techniques, double green harvesting and strict selection during the manual harvest.  I’ve enjoyed many of the Azelia single vineyard Barolo in the past, specifically the excellent wine from San Rocco.  However, in 2012 something went amiss.

Old wine bottles covered with mold

~ Bottles in Azelia’s Cellar date to the 1930s ~

Today we’re looking at the latest release of the estate Barolo.  The 2012 Azelia Estate Barolo is produced from fruit sourced from 5 hectares of vines throughout Castiglione Falleto and Serralunga d’Alba.  Vinified in stainless steel, the wine is then aged in large cask for a total of 24 months. The aim is elegance over power.

I admit that when I saw the price of this wine, I was wary.  Rarely do you see quality Barolo lower than $35 or $40.  A long tenured colleague of mine in the wine industry told me once:  “In wine, you almost always get what you pay for. Almost.”   I’ve always counseled people that if you’re going to play the Barolo game, shell out the money for the good ones.  In this case, the counselor had a fool for a pupil.  C’est la vie.

In the glass, the wine is a classic brick to ruby color throughout.  Aromas are slightly muted and feature soft strawberry, peppery spice and fennel notes.  It’s nice, if not overly assertive or complex.  On the palate, the wine is medium bodied with straightforward soft strawberry fruit flavors with pepper, dried sage and licorice. The fruit already seems a bit tired and the tannins, while not largely impacting the wine, lend an overall drying austere nature to the wine.

It’s good, but nothing more.  It’s typically not the experience I am looking for when I open a Barolo.  I’ve had Nebbiolo d’Alba with more power, finesse and character than this Barolo.  There are no flaws here, so I don’t want to leave that impression.  There was just no emotion.  Around the table there were a lot of “it’s ok”.  And Barolo should not be “ok”.   87 points. About $29.  Up your budget or buy Nebbiolo d’Alba instead.

Red wine in a tipped over glass with wine bottle

~ The 2012 Azelia Barolo was a bit of a let down ~

E vero!   If you want to find this wine, go here:  Wine Searcher
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