Restaurants

Your Weekly Wine Pick — This Fine Chardonnay From a Storied Italian Family More Than Stands Up

Drinking Knowledge

BY // 11.11.20

The Pio Cesare winery was founded in 1881, by the man himself, Pio Cesare, in Alba. If you appreciate Barolos and Barbarescos, you certainly know the name. The fifth generation of the family is now involved in the business, and I am comfortable stating that —barring a climate catastrophe — the 10th generation of the family will one day make great wines under the label.

The Pio Cesare name and winery is now in its fifth family generation.

I wrote Barolo and Barbaresco, but a few days ago I drank a chardonnay from Pio Cesare, the 2016 Piodilei Langhe DOC. It’s a barrel-fermented wine from the Il Bricco vineyard in Treiso and the Colombaro vineyard in Serralunga d’Alba. The Il Bricco vines were planted in 1980 (the very first chardonnay planting of the winery).

I loved this wine. It’s a serious chardonnay, with an elegant, long finish. Apples cooked for three hours at low heat, wet speckled stones, flowering lime, almonds. . . those things and more struck me while drinking the Piodilei. A profound and refreshing creaminess is also evident.

This chardonnay begins fermentation in stainless, then is moved to French oak for eight months. Six months of bottle-aging then follow. It represents what the family notes is “our desire to produce a white wine with the same body, complexity, and aging potential of the great reds historically produced in the area.” They met their goal with this wine.

It comes with a $50 suggested retail price, and you can enjoy it now, or hold until 2022. I would happily pair the Piodilei with a mussel risotto.

For more wine, travel and other stories from James Brock, check out Mise en Place.

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