Barolo Pichemej – 2015

Region: italy - piedmont


Over a century of winemaking: four generations of passion, tenacity, investments and hard work. A story of tradition with a watchful eye on the future. The origins of Agricola Marrone date back to before 1887. A family that cultivated local grape varietals and showed ambition from an early phase.

When Pietro Marrone was born in 1887, his father Edoardo was already producing wines. From the time he was young he was very passionate and ambitious. In 1910, at 23 years old, he asked his father to grow some vineyards. In the early 1920s/30s the winery progressed and started 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. An early adoption of what became modern cultivation practices. The family grapes became the most beautiful of the village, so slowly all the vineyards converted to that modern production system.

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


16+ 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.  2023 – 2030, April, 2019

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

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