Barolo Pichemej – 2016

Region: italy - piedmont


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

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.

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.”

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.

produce wines that are elegantly structured with the potential to evolve for decades.

The Wine

Vineyard Profile

Vineyards in Monforte d’Alba and La Morra.

  • Monforte d’Alba
    • Altitude: 1150 feet / 350 meters
    • Exposure: Southwest
    • Soils: Clayey marls with high sand content
  • La Morra
    • Altitude: 885 feet / 270 meters
    • Exposure: South
    • Soils: Compact calcareous marl mixed with sand, rich in magnesium and manganese
  • Vines Planted: average 1975
  • Vine Training System: Traditional Guyot
Harvest Notes
  • Hand harvested the first week in October, with manual berry selection
  • Additional berry sorting before light pressing
  • Fermentation on skins for 30 days at 68ºF / 30º C in stainless steel tanks
  • Malolactic fermentation in large 30 Hl barrels
  • Aged 30 months in oak, the first 10 months on fine lees with battonage
  • Bottling under nitrogen cover
  • Bottle aged a minimum of 6 months in controlled temperature environment
Winemaker's Notes

‘Pichemej’ means “more than better” in the local Piedmontese dialect, the heritage of the family.

It develops in the glass with a typically garnet color. It leaves the nose speechless, where subtle and elegant notes alternate, to create an exceptional aromatic bouquet: lovely mature cherry, nutmeg and hints of Indian spice. In the mouth it continues round and full, showing flashes of hay and alpine herbs and flowers, with balanced tannins. Great ageing potential.

Wine Summary

100% Nebbiolo, “Lancia” & “Michet” biotypes; alcohol: 14.7%; vineyards in Monforte d’Alba & La Morra; altitudes 1150 & 885 feet; calcareous and clayey marl soils mixed with sand, rich in minerals; hand harvested in October with 2 passes of berry selections; fermented on skins 30 days at 86ºF; malolactic fermentation in large 30Hl barrels; aged 30 months in oak, initial 10 months on fine lees with battonage; bottled under nitrogen cover and bottle aged at least 6 months.

Technical Information
  • 100% Nebbiolo, “Lampia” and Michet” biotypes
  • Alcohol: 14.7%
  • Total Acidity: 5.2 g/l
  • Extract: 27.8 g/l


93 Points

A very soft, fine-tannined red with plum, chocolate and cedar character. It’s medium-bodied. Chewy yet, at the same time, caressing finish. Give it a year or two to soften. Drink after 2022., August, 2020

91 Points

Rose-petal, underbrush and leather aromas lead the nose. The solid palate offers raspberry jam, cooking spice and tobacco alongside firm tannins and fresh acidity. Drink 2024–2032.

Wine Enthusiast, September, 2020

90 Points

The 2016 Barolo Pichemej offers good linearity and directness, and the wine opens a wider door onto those characteristic Nebbiolo aromas. This is a lean-bodied expression, with moderate length and staying power, to taste with delicate plin (small Piedmontese ravioli) made with minced meat. The wine doesn’t stick around for long, but while it does, you get a good view on the grape, albeit in a rather simple and straightforward manner. Some 5,500 bottles were made. 2022 – 2033

© Wine Advocate, July, 2020

17++ Points

Pichemej means ‘beyond the best’ in Piemonte dialect.
Powerful, feral nose. This tastes as if it might be closer to 15% than 14.5%. A fierce wine, clenched in oak and tannins. Very astringent and drying at this point. Very hot. Sour morello cherries snap and bite. But as it gets some air and relaxes in the glass, some gentleness surfaces: rose petals, autumn truffle. It’s all about faith and time…  2026 – 2036, June, 2020

91+ Points

The 2016 Pichemej bottling from Marrone is a touch higher in octane than the regular Barolo in this vintage, tipping the scales at 14.7 percent. The wine is deep and complex on the nose, offering up scents of cherries, grilled meats, camphor, bonfire, discreetly autumnal soil tones, orange peel and a nice touch of oregano in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, fullbodied, ripe and nicely sappy at the core, with good soil signature, ripe, buried tannins and fine length and grip on the complex and gently warm finish. Stylistically, this reminds me a bit of several Baroli from the 1997 and 2000 vintages. It is a good bottle in the making. 2032-2080

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