Barolo Pichemej – 2015

Region: italy - piedmont


The origins of Agricola Marrone date back over a century and through four generations where the family has focused on cultivating local grape varietals with a passionate commitment and dedication to the land.

In 1978 ‘Gianpi’ took over full management of Marrone and began a phase of expansion in the vineyards and the cellar space. His wife Giovanna, affectionately known as “Mamma Gio,” orchestrates private hospitality and is the kitchen director. For Giovanna, food is “tradition and Italian values that go hand with our wines.”

When Pietro Marrone was born in 1887, his father Edoardo was already producing wines.  In 1910, at 23 years old, he asked his father to plant some vineyards. In the early 1920s/30s the winery began cultivating vineyards using techniques that were revolutionary at the time: reducing production yields to prioritize higher quality and avoiding sowing wheat between vine rows, a standard practice at the time. This decision was an early adoption of what eventually became known as modern cultivation practices widely used in the region today.

Since 2011 the winery has been run by “Tre Fie,” the three daughters of Gian Piero and Giovanna Marrone. Valentina is the winemaker, Serena runs marketing and business operations, and Denise is the hospitality heart and manager of the visitor programs and restaurant. The farm is run with minimal intervention in the vineyard, a philosophy that carries through from harvest to winemaking. The Marrone family pays careful attention to produce wines that are elegantly structured with the potential to evolve for decades.

Grapes / Soils

Barolo Pichemej Nebbiolo Vines planted in 1975 Monforte d’Alba: clayey marls with a high percentage of sand; La Morra, Tortonian soil: more compact calcerous marl soil mixed with sand, rich in magnesium and manganese resulting in more perfumed, gentle, softer wines. The softness of La Morra is blended with potent tannins, structure and full body of Monforte. The latter is more laydown/wait and has extreme longevitiy; it is full richness in the mouth 2.1

The Wine

Vineyard Profile
  • Monforte d’Alba and La Morra vineyards
  • Vines planted: 1975
  • Training systems: Guyot
  • Vineyards composition: Monforte d’Alba: 430 meters altitude, Southwest facing, clayey marls with a high percentage of sand.  La Morro: 300 meters altitude, South facing, more compact calcareous marl soil mixed with sand, rich in magnesium and manganese, resulting in more perfumed, gentle, softer wines.
Harvest Notes

Hard harvested in second week of October 2015. Selection in the vineyard and selection during light crushing to remove the berries that are not perfectly healthy and ripe. Fermentation at 28° C for 20 – 30 days in oak vats. Malolactic fermentation in large barrels of 30 Hl (50%) and barrique (50%). Ageing in oak for 30 months with batonnage on fine lees for the first 10 months. Bottling under nitrogen coverage and storage in a controlled temperature environment.

Winemaker's Notes

“Pichemej” means “more than better” in the local Piedmontese dialect. Mature ruby red colour with an orange rim. The nose offers some wood, dry spices, fresh red fruit, cherry liqueur and tar. The palate is fairly dense, still with a youthful texture, a tannic bite, fresh red fruit, good grip and length, still a bit unresolved deserving another few years of ageing.

Wine Summary

100% Nebbiolo; Monforte d’Alba and La Morra vineyards; average vine age: 45 years; altitudes 430 and 300 meters; Southwest and South aspect; calcareous and clayey marl soils with high percentage of sand and sandstone; alcohol: 14.5%; hand harvested second week October; fermented at 30°C on skins 20 – 30 days in 30Hl barrels. Aged on lees for 10 months; in wood for 30 months. Bottled under nitrogen coverage and storage in controlled temperature environment.

Technical Information
  • 100% Nebbiolo grapes, “Lampia” and “Michet”
  • Alcohol: 14.5%
  • TA: 6.84 g/L
  • Extract: 30.4 g/L


90 Points

With a fantasy name rather than a vineyard name, the Gian Piero Marrone 2015 Barolo Pichemej shows a dark and saturated appearance with bold aromas of black fruit, wet earth and spice. The Barolo reveals a heavy and solid center of gravity, and the wine sits firmly on the palate. However, we get that same shortness or thinness that we saw in some of the other new releases from the Marrone estate. There’s a note of sudden sourness too, backed by sweet cherry flavor. 2021 – 2030

© Wine Advocate, July, 2020

16.5+ Points

A little medicinal, cloves and Bay rum. Dusty spices, a dried-fruit sweetness, and something a little like maraschino liqueur. Tense, dry, anxious; tannins fine but clamped white-knuckle tight to the fruit. Bright orange-citrus acidity piercing the core and a juniper fragrance, but at the moment that’s all tucked back behind the wire. Needs time to come together.  2025 – 2032, April, 2019

91+ Points

The 2015 Barolo “Pichemej” bottling from Marrone is an excellent example of the vintage. The nose is deep and complex, wafting from the glass in a mix of black cherries, grilled meats, woodsmoke, dark soil tones, fresh oregano, anise, a touch of road tar and a topnote of brown spices. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and chewy, with a good core of fruit, fine soil signature, firm tannins and fine focus and grip on the long, complex and still youthful finish. This is properly structured and will need time to blossom. 2035 – 2085

View From The Cellar, November, 2022

General Info

Country Italy
Region Piedmont
Appellation(s) Barolo DOCG; Langhe DOC
Proprietors Gian Piero Marrone
Founded 1887
Winemaker Valentina Marrone
Annual Production 4600 9L cases
Farming (Sustainable, organic, biodynamic) Organic