Barolo Pichemej – 2017

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 1st week of October
  • Berry selection in vineyard to remove those not perfectly ripe and healthy
  • 2nd berry sorting at cellar before light crushing
  • Fermented with skins and maceration at 86ºF / 30º C for 25 days in stainless steel tanks
  • Malolactic fermentation in large 30 hl oak barrels
  • Aged 30 months in wood
  • Batonnage on fine lees the first 10 months of aging
  • Bottled under nitrogen coverage
  • Bottle aging for minimum 6 months in temperature controlled environment before release
Winemaker's Notes

Bright and well centered in the main profile it offers complex notes of strawberries, orange peel, cedar in pieces, rosemary and warm soil. Full body, ripe tannins and a finish of remarkable beauty.

Wine Summary

100% Nebbiolo, “Lancia” & “Michet” biotypes; alcohol: 14.4%; vineyards in Monforte d’Alba & La Morra; altitudes 1150 & 885 feet; calcareous and clayey marl soils mixed with sand, rich in minerals; hand harvested 1st week of October with 2 passes of berry selections; fermented on skins 25 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 before release.

Technical Information
  • 100% Nebbiolo, “Lampia” and Michet” biotypes
  • Alcohol: 14.42%
  • Total Acidity: 5.16 g/l
  • Extract: 27.5 g/l


17++ Points

More closed, aromatically, than their other 2017 Barolos. And with a curled-up tension on the palate that tells me this wine is going to take a lot longer to be ready to drink than its stablemates. And yet, although the Pichemej is usually a fiercely tannic Barolo, the 2017 has tannins with breathtaking polish. I can feel their sheen. And although the palate is as tight and strongly bonded to itself as graphene film, it is still showing its beauty, from a distance – cinnamon-spiced cherry, spring-water-washed gravel, woodland strawberry and woodland mushroom (the damp, dark earth still clinging to its cap). This may be approachable earlier than its previous vintages, but it still has the fierce focus of a long-distance runner. 2025 – 2037, May, 2021

92 Points

There’s a grainy note to the ripe red fruit on the nose, turning to lightly spiced vanilla on the pate. Full and fruity with lightly intrusive tannins and a vanilla-fruit finish. Needs a bit of time to even out. Promising. Drink from 2023., July, 2021

90 Points

This opens with aromas of leather, forest floor and a whiff of rose petal. On the full-bodied palate, polished tannins accompany cranberry jam, star anise and tobacco. 2024 – 2032

Wine Enthusiast, December, 2021

92 Points

The Pichemej bottling from the Marrone sisters is not a single vineyard bottling, but rather a selection of older vine parcels from their vineyards in both La Morra and Castiglione Falletto, with the vines generally planted around 1975. The wine is raised entirely in botti for thirty months prior to bottling and the 2017 comes in at 14.42 percent alcohol. The bouquet is deeper and a bit more black fruity than the normale from this vintage, delivering scents of red and black cherries, spit-roasted gamebird, camphor, a fine base of soil, roses, a nice touch of brown spices and a bit of bonfire in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, ripe and well-balanced, with excellent soil signature and grip, tangy acids, nicely integrated tannins and a long, complex and promising finish. This will be a long-distance runner and demand plenty of bottle age before it starts to soften up, but it is going to be an excellent bottle of Barolo once it is ready to drink. 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