Barolo to get ‘official’ en primeur from 2024 following second charity auction
Matteo Ascheri, President of the Consorzio di Tutela Barolo Barbaresco Alba Langhe e Dogliani confirmed to db that the Barolo en primeur was set to become an annual official appointment for journalists, buyers and collectors, with some barrel tasting for wineries that want to showcase the new vintages, thereby producing positive repercussions for the whole area.
“We are going to open up to this idea, allowing the barrel tasting of the new vintages, starting from 2024,” he told db.
In June, Ascheri hinted this was on the cards, telling the drinks business that it was “a bit too early for that, but…”, while the Consorzio’s director Andrea Ferrero outlined his vision of Barolo en primeur.
“We are making sure that more and more producers take part to this great effort to help people in need and to create an ever bigger community of Barolo lovers able to discover the many angles this great wine appellation can offer,” he said.
Currently, the charity auction is a unique chance to get hold of Barolo en primeur (which will be ready for bottling within four years). The project was set up by Cassa di Risparmio of Cuneo Foundation in association with CRC Donare Fondazione with the support of Consorzio di Tutela Barolo Barbaresco Alba Langhe e Dogliani as the first project in Italy to sell fine wines en primeur for charity. The inaugural sale in 2021 raised over €600,000.
The second edition took place on Saturday at the Castello di Grinzane Cavour, raising an impressive €769,800 from bidders based in Italy, New York and Hong Kong. The auction, which was conducted by Christie’s and live-streamed, with commentary from renown wine-critic Antoni Galloni, comprised 14 Barolo barriques and 1 tonneaux, made from grapes from the historical Vigna Gustava vineyards that surround the castle, vinified by oenologist Donato Lanati.
Ten ‘lotti comunali’ (municipal lots) comprising a total of 1,200 bottles of Barolo and Barbarescoa from the 2021 vintage were also on offer, donated by around 70 producers of the Barolo and Barbaresco Consorzio.
Each barrique, which wine critic and CEO of Vinous Antonio Galloni assigned an average score of 92- 94, had an estimate of €30,000, with the record lot, lot 23, achieving €45,000. Meanwhile the tonneaux (the 500lt barrel, equivalent to 600 bottles of wine) fetched an impressive €175,000.
The results of the ‘lotti comunali’ achieved almost double their pre-sale estimates, for example the lot from The Comuni di Treiso and Alba (comprising 36 assorted bottles and six jeroboams of Barbaresco) smashed its pre-sale estimate of €2,000, achieving €4,800, while the Serralunga lot (comprising 8 bottles, 28 magnums and 12 Jeroboams) nearly doubled its €13,000 pre-sale estimate to achieve €24,000, being bought by a bidder from New York.
Explaining the expansion of the event to include the municipal lots, Matteo Ascheri, President of the Consorzio, said he wanted the producers to participate together. “We want this to be a social project so we created 10 different municipal lots to allow the Barolo and Barbaresco as a whole to have a louder voice then the different labels,” he said.
In a post-sale statement, Ascheri added that the exceptional result of the sale represented “a solid base from which to start for an ever-greater involvement of Barolo and Barbaresco producers in the development of this project, which is only in its second year.”
“It is also a sign that the ‘preview’ sales model can and must be a valuable prospect for Barolo and Barbaresco, wines that are known and appreciated all over the world, which will thus be able to pave the way and preside over the “en primeur” market, which is still underdeveloped in Italy”.
Proceeds from the municipal lots will go to the Scuola Enologica di Alba for the education projects and training on Vigna Gustava of new oenological experts.
A final, 15th barrique from the 2021 harvest will be auctioned on 13 November at the famous International Alba White Truffle Auction in Hong Kong, which will be live-streaming.
“Barolo is a wine capable to give identity to a place. I am always very excited to look after the wines of this land, but with Vigna Gustava there’s even more excitement and responsibilities,” winemaker Donati Lanati added.
Wine and Art
In addition to its charitable aspect, the Barolo en primeur project aims to combine fine wine with art. While the 2021 bottles were labelled by Giuseppe Penone, the 2022 Barolo en premier label has been designed by award-winning artist Michelangelo Pistoletto, of the Arte Povera movement, who is also the author of the Il Terzo Paradiso (The third Paradise).
In 2025 the barriques will be bottled and labelled with his work “Rosa del Terzo Paradiso – 2022”.
The participation to the Barolo en premier 2022 auction represents an investment opportunity – at the end of the barrique’s four years ageing the wines will be bottled, and the successful bidders owners are likely to see the value of their investment rise, as well as the quality of the wine.
Each barrique will also be assigned with an NFT (Non Fungible Token).
Plans for next year’s auction are already underway, Ezio Raviola, president of the CRC Foundation (owner of the Vigna Gustava) told db.
“The 15 barriques from the 2022 vintage have been already prepared by Lanati, so, next year we will have the third edition,” he said.