2013 Fratelli Barale "Castellero" Barolo

SKU #1335633 93 points Wine Enthusiast

 Made with organically cultivated grapes and fermented with wild yeasts, this boasts alluring scents of rose, perfumed berry, dried herb and dark culinary spice. Youthfully austere but loaded with finesse, the firm palate delivers red cherry, cranberry, pipe tobacco and licorice set against a backbone of vibrant acidity and taut, refined tannins. Give it time to fully blossom. Drink 2023–2043. *Cellar Selection* (KO)  (3/2018)

92 points James Suckling

 This a tight and powerful red with solid tannins and lots of stone. Full body, chewy and polished. Very long and powerful. Impressed with this length and class. Needs two or three years to come around but beautiful.  (10/2017)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2013 Barolo Castellero sees a traditional winemaking approach that includes long maceration times. In the case of this wine, it ferments on the skins for up to 30 days. It later goes into large oak casks for three years of slow aging and integration. The subtle benefits of these time-honored practices are especially evident in a cool vintage such as this. This wine has the graceful aromatic approach, the acidity and the solid tannic structure for long cellar aging. 92+ (ML)  (6/2018)

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Price: $39.99

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Staff Image By: Rachel Vogel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/18/2018 | Send Email
Fratelli Barale was the first Barolo producer I fell in love with when I started at K&L. The Casterello is their single vineyard estate bottling that comes with depth and concentration. The captivating aromatics are filled with a mix of deep floral notes and savory cherry skins. It is structured and bold, but the nuances are not lost in the young age. I will definitely be adding a few bottles to my cellar in hopes that a few of them will make it long term!

Staff Image By: Mike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/28/2018 | Send Email
This 2013 Barolo is gorgeous. From the translucent color, to the fresh, floral bouquet and bright red fruits, this entry-level bottling screams of Nebbiolo. What a beautiful wine! Sweet roses, berries and spices emerge in the glass adding further complexity. There is a tension between the ripeness of the vintage and the wine’s firm sense of structure that is utterly captivating. Two thumbs up !!!

Staff Image By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/27/2018 | Send Email
We have loved the past two vintages of Fratelli Barale, though, not surprisingly with these 2013's, I think it's safe to say I will be consummating this relationship with a purchase for the cellar. The Castellero opens with aromas of dark cherries, licorice and cocoa powder, opening up with air to show dried orange peel as well. Bright cherry and almond flavors show greater intensity and persistence than on the normale, and leads me to believe that this will easily age 20 years past the vintage date. Though it is not a waste to enjoy this Barolo young, even at this early stage the wine is well integrated and is already bringing a whole lot to the table.

Staff Image By: Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/27/2018 | Send Email
The nose of this wine is powerful; waves of earth, tar, spice are backed up by spicy, ripe fruit. On the palate the wine is serious, shows depth of structure, Nebbiolo tannins evident however balanced and supple showing a sweet side. The flavors are a cauldron of tar and camphor that fuse into a constant, earthy layer that is highlighted by a mélange of cherry, berry, licorice and spice. The finish is dynamic, long, lifting with tremendous length, balance….I’m really impressed this wine is sensational for the price.
Drink from 2018 to 2033

Staff Image By: John Downing | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/19/2018 | Send Email
Castellero is an important Barolo for the Barale's as the vines are grafted from the original old clones of Nebbiolo on their property. The 2013 is especially complex with lots of spice and potpourri on the nose and a layered and structured palate with wonderful density, ample acidity and grippy tannins on the finish. This will certainly gain stature with a bit of time in the cellar yet is quite expressive if opened now. Ideal with roasts, meats and heartier meals.

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- Tar and roses are the two descriptors most associated with this red grape grown, almost solely, in Italy's Piedmont, where it has achieved fame under the guises of the incredibly and age-worthy wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. Characterized by chewy tannins, high acidity, high-tone cherry and raspberry fruit and truffle aromas and flavors, Nebbiolo has rightfully earned its reputation. Sadly the late-ripening varietal is quite delicate and is prone to disease as well as damage by hail that frequently pelts the region. Outside of Barolo and Barbaresco, Nebbiolo is grown in the DOCs of Gattinara, Spanna and Ghemme. The Nebbiolos of the Nebbiolo d'Alba DOC in the southeastern part of Piedmont are generally lighter and more immediately approachable versions of the grape, aged for less time than Barolo and Barbaresco, which also makes them less expensive. Langhe Nebbiolos are generally made from declassified fruit from the aforementioned regions of Barolo, Barbaresco and Nebbiolo d'Alba.


- Once named Enotria for its abundant vineyards, Italy (thanks to the ancient Greeks and Romans) has had an enormous impact on the wine world. From the shores of Italy, the Romans brought grapes and their winemaking techniques to North Africa, Spain and Portugal, Germany, France, the Danube Valley, the Middle East and even England. Modern Italy, which didn't actually exist as a country until the 1870s, once produced mainly simple, everyday wine. It wasn't until the 1970s that Italy began the change toward quality. The 1980s showed incredible efforts and a lot of experimentation. The 1990s marked the real jump in consistent quality, including excellence in many Region that had been indistinct for ages. The entire Italian peninsula is seeing a winemaking revolution and is now one of the most exciting wine Region in the world.


- Piedmont is in the Northwestern region of Italy, bordering France and Switzerland. Piedmont is predominantly a plain where the water flows from the Swiss and French Alps to form the headwaters of the Po river. The major wine producing areas are in the southern portion of the region in the hills known as the "Langhe". Here the people speak a dialect that is 1/3 French and 2/3 Italian that portrays their historical roots. Their cuisine is one of the most creative and interesting in Italy. Nebbiolo is the King grape here, producing Barolo and Barbaresco. In addition, the Barbera and Dolcetto are the workhorse grapes that produce the largest quantity of wine. Piedmont is predominantly a red wine producing area. There are a few whites made in Piedmont, and the Moscato grape produces a large volume of sweet, semi-sweet and sparkling wines as well.
Specific Appellation:


- Made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes, these wines take their name from the village of Barolo. A maximum of 205,000 cases per year can be made from 3081 acres of land divided between 11 communes and more than 1200 growers. La Morra, Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, Monforte and Serralunga are the most important communes and produce most of the exported wine. Barolo is a powerhouse wine in some communes but also more delicate in others (La Morra is the most delicate and Serralunga the most powerful). Recent technological and viticultural advances are remaking Barolo into a wine that is more consistent balanced. Producers here do not want to change the flavor or feel of their wines, only improve and eliminate poor winemaking technique. A wine of great perfume, body and size the classic nose of "tar and roses". Barolo is best served with roast meats the Piemontese classic would be "Stracotto del Barolo or pot roast cooked with a Barolo, game birds or powerful cheese.