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2015 Azelia Barolo


  • Italy
  • Piedmont
  • Langhe
  • Barolo

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Community Tasting Note

  • red freddy wrote:

    July 13, 2021 - Impulse Purchase @ Costco. 14.5% abv - $25

    I don't believe I've ever tried a Nebbiolo wine so got this to accompany stuffed bell peppers purchased for dinner. I had been intrigued with Nebbiolo since reading the Barbera varietal (which I like) was considered inferior to Nebbiolo; with some regions devoting their better locations to Nebbiolo, relegating Barbera to lesser terrain.

    Clear, sort of brownish garnet in the Glass. Initially Rose aroma on the nose along with hints of cherry & cocoa. Just a hint of sweetness on the palate, combined with spice, licorice and tart acidity. Light bodied (like a Pinot Noir) with prominent tannins leaving a fuzzy-tooth feel. Lingering, astringent finish. A little different palate and mouth feel than say, a Barbera. Aromatic & spicy, but neither I nor spouse found particularly 'savory;' At least not yet! Perhaps we just got a bad bottle, but tasters like 'Fractalage' know their stuff; when they believe the wine is too young suggesting several years more cellaring, I'll defer to them. Meanwhile, I'll just have to wait, and wonder; Where is the smoothness, the flavor, the roundness, until I get a chance to try Nebbiolo again?

    2 people found this helpful 2,473 views


  • srh commented:

    8/14/21, 3:45 PM - You noticed roses, cherries, & some similarities to P.N., which are common denominators with many IT Nebbiolos, so I'D say that was VERY perceptive for a newby to the varietal! 👍 🙂 While you certainly COULD have had an off bottle, more than likely it just needed addt'l air now or time in the cellar. [If you look at the "pro" reviews via Wine-Searcher's vendors or reviews pgs, it looks like they're split between it being approachable when reviewed or NEEDING cellaring.] Finally, I added a link to the U.S. Importer's pg to the Producer's section here on CT. While they don't currently have info on this '15, they do for subsequent vintages, + there's general info for the producer.

    Hope the above is of at least SOME help, though I suppose you might be wondering whether to chance buying (& cellaring) more of this bottling. While the $25 price IS *quite* phenomenal, for a wine (varietal?) that you might never be into stylistically... 🤔 [E.g., heretofore my relatives basically have NOT enjoyed Barbarescos/Barolos.] 😕

  • sleepyhaus commented:

    2/1/22, 9:20 AM - Way too young to properly assess. Not a bad bottle. Often, young Baroli are brutally tannic and difficult to assess. The ripe 2015 vintage, however, has made for some earlier drinking wines, and the Azelia Barolo Normale tends to drink well young. Even so, this will likely age for at least 10-20 years if properly cellared. There are likely savory notes there, even in the ripe vintage, but without practicing tasting Nebbiolo they could be easy to miss. In any case, Nebbiolo shows more complexity with age, but that takes a long time. Like Burgundy, they will likely shut down for a time as well, and this may already be doing so.

    FWIW, Nebbiolo is considered superior to Barbera generally in Piedmont. The exception is those parts of the region where Nebbiolo struggled more to ripen so they planted more Barbera, Dolcetto, Freisa, Grignolino, etc. In any case, while Barbera can make a perfectly nice wine, suitable to the table and able to be consumed young, Nebbiolo makes some of the great wines of the world. They are not the same. That is not to denigrate Barbera or the other varietals at all though. Simpler wines very much have their place, and require much less time (and $$).

  • jjlgd commented:

    4/14/22, 2:33 PM - I agree with all the comments above. There is a saying that to love Barolo you must love tannin, as they often do not resolve all their tannin. I love Barolo, but usually do not drink before age 10. 2015 was a warm vintage, so this could be approachable younger, but I am still drinking my 2012s and haven't gotten to 2015 yet. Hope this helps!

  • srh commented:

    4/15/22, 6:12 PM - Thank you for YOUR contributions to the strand, jlgd & sleepyhaus! 🙂

  • Z1nnfull commented:

    3/10/23, 11:40 AM - Too young in 21. Probably approaching drinking window now. Just the way better European wines tend to be.

  • Z1nnfull commented:

    7/11/23, 10:49 AM - You probably drank it a bit young given the date of your post, but here I am 2 years later and your review largely mirrors mine. I've had great Barolo and this is not it.

  • sleepyhaus commented:

    7/11/23, 11:08 AM - As a counterpoint to Z1nnfull, I'd say now is an even worse time to drink it than two years ago. This wine showed youthfully open until maybe 3-4 years ago, after which it started to close down. Nebbiolo is notorious (much like Burgundy) for having a youthfully open phase, followed by a long, hard shut down phase, then gradually reopening over the course of years and decades. While I wouldn't expect this wine to last decades, I also would not expect it to show well at age 8. That's a terrible time to drink a Barolo. Sure, you might get lucky with a long decant, but it's unlikely to be a great time.

    Whether or not this is "great," is besides the point. It's an entry level Barolo from a very good and improving producer. Even so, I wouldn't expect this wine to begin to open up for probably another 5 years, perhaps more. This is not the time to drink 2015 Barolo. Or 2013 Barolo. Or 2010 Barolo. Or 2016 Barolo, though you might catch the later still in its youth if you're lucky. These are long lived wines that require patience if not consumed quite young. Again, much like Burgundy.

    Obviously, drink what you like, how you like to drink it, but for me these are not pleasant in their closed-down phase. I recently had a 2015 Giovanni Manzone Barolo Gramolere. Very good producer, and good vineyard. The wine was rock hard and showing nothing, even over the course of a few hours in a decanter. The wine almost certainly will come good one day, but now is not that time.

  • red freddy commented:

    7/12/23, 1:10 PM - Thanks for your comments Zinnfull & sleepyhaus, especially after such a long time since my post. Much appreciated and a lot of good info I wasn't aware of. At my age (octogenarian) I won't have enough time to buy & cellar a good Nebbiolo, so to get one I'll probably have to buy it (@ $$$) and hope its been properly stored.

    btw, you may not be aware but "srh" is no longer with us (I posted a comment to that effect in my recent Tasting Note for a "2016 Marchesi Mazzei Chianti Classico Ser Lapo Riserva." as follows:
    Designated as the 'Sommelier' for his family's restaurant in San Diego (I only wish I knew which restaurant), "SRH' built the extensive knowledge of wines that he was so willing to share. Sadly, "SRH' has now passed-on; the Cellar Tracker community has lost a valuable resource and true friend. Here is to you "SRH" 🍷; This tasting note is dedicated to your memory. 🙏🏿

    I realized something was amiss when I asked him which restaurant in San Diego, but he never responded.

  • sleepyhaus commented:

    7/12/23, 1:30 PM - Thanks for passing that on Freddy. I wondered what happened to him, as he'd been such a prolific commenter in the past.

    As for properly aged Barolo and Barbaresco, I'll say that with some searching you can find some for reasonable prices and the wines are quite robust. I bought a '64 Barolo recently for about $120 that was amazing and extremely youthful. Could have been ten years old. I liked it enough to buy the remaining bottle and would have bought more.

    Another route I'd suggest is buying Langhe Nebbiolo from good producers and Nebbiolo from Alto Piedmonte. Langhe Nebbiolo is the producer's entry level Nebbiolo, but in good vintages, from good producers, these can easily outperform more mediocre producers' Barolo and Barbaresco at a fraction of the cost, and they tend to drink well with much (much, much) less age. 2019, 2020, and 2021 are all excellent vintages so now is a great time to buy.

    Alto Piedmonte (subregions are Gattinara, Carema, Lessona, Bramaterra, Boca, Fara, Ghemme, Sizzano) is a cooler region than the Langhe so the wines can often be brighter and fresher in style and drink well at younger ages, though the best producers wines will also age for decades without any problem. Valtellina in Lombardy and the Val del'Aosta are nearby regions whose Nebbiolo wines also worth exploring.

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