Mission Codename Can't say no to Perno
“Rich, ripe, and bold, with excellent depth of fruit; mouth-filling and concentrated… Spot on.”* – Decanter
Did you know that Alexander Graham Bell could not have “invented” the telephone if his attorney Elisha Gray had not beaten an earlier inventor to the US Patent office by just 2 hours?
The late Domenico Clerico, whom Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate called “one of the most gifted winemakers in Piedmont” could not have vinified those “profound, utterly mind-bending Barolos” if it wasn’t for his cellarmaster Gianmatteo Raineri either.
We could not have scored this 95-point beauty without a similar fortune. Right place, right time, and now if you’re lucky enough to be reading this, fortune shines on you.
The style here is old school but so refined, complex, and of course concentrated. It fits the style he pursued at Clerico, built for long-term cellaring. The 40+-year-old gnarly head-pruned vines of Cru Santo Stefano di Perno in Monforte d’Alba give Raineri the perfect ingredient to achieve the profoundness often found in Perno’s more famous neighbors Bussia and Ginestra. And the 2016 vintage - well, it’s been called a “near perfect” growing season and widely regarded as an instant classic for Piedmont.
Our importer buddy who hooked us up says that “with the passing of Clerico not very long ago, Raineri left to concentrate more on his own wines that he always wanted to keep under-the-radar and on their own merits. But that’s probably soon to change” so we scooped up all we could for you.
A striking medium to pale garnet waltzes with deeper shades of bright crimson in the glass. The nose is perfumed with steeped strawberries, clove-studded orange peel, and black cherries smothered in dusty milk chocolate. The palate is your classic iron fist with sneaky tannins, delivered in a velvet glove of the caressingly cozy fruit compote layers. The finish builds up to hint that this already giving vintage has the complexity to heighten over decades for those with cellars and patience. Otherwise, dried mushrooms, tons of butter, cream, and Parmigiano would be a great start for a decadent meal to pair with it.
Clerico’s single vineyards fetch $100-200 a bottle upon release and trend much higher at auction while Gianmatteo ‘Jimmy’ Raineri, since 2004 quietly continues to make a handful of stellar wines with his two partners. The production is so minuscule in comparison to Barolo giants surrounding him that there is no pressure to send his jewels out for ratings and reviews on a regular basis. His local following is enough to sell out all vintages, so we had to direct import this small batch for you via a personal connection.
Sadly, the pile is already starting to look smaller as we can’t keep our Nebbiolo-loving hands off. Do us a favor and clean us out while we look the other way!
95 Points – Decanter
“Lush toasty berry and violet nose. Rich, ripe, and bold, with excellent depth of fruit; mouth-filling and concentrated, combining power with drive and finesse. Very spicy finish, with fine acidity and length. Spot on.”
What the Winery Says
2016 'Santo Stefano di Perno' Barolo
- Gianmatteo Raineri
- 100% Nebbiolo
- Barolo DOCG, Piedmont
- Cru Santo Stefano di Perno
- Monforte d’Alba
- Sand and marls of clay, limestone
- 1,150 feet above sea level
- Vine age
- 40+ years old
- 5 tons per hectare
- 24 months
- 100% neutral Slovanian oak casks
- 14 barrels