Following the elegant and tasty 2018s that can be enjoyed earlier (with the usual hours-long opening in a decanter), the wonderful 2019 growing season has made for more densely-packed styles of Barolos that will resolve themselves more slowly. Though it started later, the consistently warm 2019 season allowed later harvests, leading to a bit more concentration and copious ripe -but still firm- tannins; the quickly cooling nights at the end of the season helped to maintain an energetic acidity and all that hard-earned aromatic complexity. The winery's traditional submerged cap fermentations, where the skins are kept under the fermenting juice for almost two months, slowly extracted all the character of the vintage: an extra bit of flesh and flavor intensity along with a big, bracing structure.
Elio Grasso's single vineyard wines are special even in a category that's as special as Barolo: they are wines to muse over, and to be enjoyed with equally special meals. They are built to unwind over the coming years and will easily stand the test of a couple decades, evolving into something new. As for all Barolos of this class, the younger you open them, the more hours in a decanter you'll want to give them to open up. Get these while they're here, as collectors will make them vanish quickly!
From higher up on the the Gavarini slope, a more southerly aspect (toward the midday sun), and with slightly more sand in the soils, this bottling shows off the high-toned, precise and elegant side to Monforte d'Alba's powerful Barolos. Antonio Galloni describes the 2019 as "...classically austere and just gorgeous right out of the gate. Soaring aromatics and fine, sculpted fruit race out of the glass. Crushed rose petal, cinnamon, orange peel and mint are all beautifully delineated. Readers will have to be patient, as the 2019 is going to need years to be at its best, yet it has that embryonic inner sweetness that characterizes the very finest wines here. Superb."
WINE ADVOCATE 97 POINTS - "With vines adjacent to forests on white chalky soils, the Elio Grasso 2019 Barolo Gavarini Chiniera is a luminous and very beautiful wine. Vintner Gianluca Grasso called this "the helicopter vintage" because he actually rented a helicopter to fly over the vines for 45 minutes to dry them from rain right before harvest. As he tells it, this was a costly but good decision because 15 minutes after he finished harvesting on October 26, heavy rain came and lasted an entire week. Thanks to these dramatic measures, the grape skins were excellent, and maceration with submerged cap lasted 55 days. That's how perfect the skins were. This balanced wine shows extreme precision and elegance."