Barolo Pichemej – 2018

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: 985 feet / 270 meters
    • Exposure: South
    • Soils: White, clay, calcareous
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/30ºC 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

Medium deep ruby red colour and rim. Seductive perfume offering wild berries, ginger, clove, fine tobacco, mild oak and chocolate praline. Despite its youth the palate is very complete with fine layers of ripe red fruit, spices and well integrated oak, long layered and complex finish with great freshness and intensity.

Wine Summary

100% Nebbiolo, “Lancia” & “Michet” biotypes; alcohol: 14.4%; vineyards in Monforte d’Alba & La Morra; altitudes 1150 & 985 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: 14.3%
  • Total Acidity: 5.6 g/l
  • Extract: 29 g/l


17.5++ Points

Full bottle 1,298 g. Pichemej means ‘beyond the best’ in the local dialect. Their grandfather used to say that all Barolos are good but some are ‘pichemej’.
The perfume on the nose of this wine is extraordinary. Nothing like the closed nose of the 2017. This is heady, hedonistic, exhilarating. It’s peonies in the early morning, dark roses after the rain, truffles and maraschino cherries. Fluid tannins, bearing only the slightest growling rasp of rough-ground spices and tea leaves, melt into the deep lustrousness of the fruit. Tucked into the heart of the wine is the umami musky earthiness of dried morels, a tongue-tip of tamari. Loamy forest earth, pine needles, blood orange and the finest of cinnamon and baharat spices. I’ve always found the Pichemej quite a challenge to taste in its youth – a tightly balled fist of a wine, tense and coiled. But the 2018…! It’s a different creature altogether. It’s breathtaking. Is this the vintage, or has something changed in the vineyard or the winemaking? I don’t know, but the beauty of this wine is enough to make my legs crumple under me. 2022 – 2040, August, 2022

92 Points

Sweet strawberries and spices with some dried roses follow through to a medium body with firm tannins and a fresh finish. Drink or hold., October, 2022

90 Points

This opens with delicate aromas recalling violet, baking spice and tilled soil. The solid palate offers ripe black plum, tobacco and sage alongside close-grained tannins. 2023 – 2030

Wine Enthusiast, September, 2022

91 Points

The Marrone 2018 Barolo Pichemej shows a slightly austere character with dark fruit, blackcurrant, tilled earth, dried rose and candied orange peel. The wine offers medium to high density, in terms of structure, with firm tannins and a polished texture. The Pichemej delivers extra muscle and brawn. 2024 – 2033

© Wine Advocate, December, 2022

92 Points

The Pichemej bottling from the Marrone sisters is their old vine bottling, with the wine made from a selection of older vine parcels from their vineyards in the townships of La Morra and Castiglione Falletto. The 2018 Pichemej comes in at 14.5 percent alcohol in this vintage and offers up a deep and refined bouquet of red and black cherries, anise, a nice touch of smoked meats, a lovely base of soil tones, bonfire, a touch of black tea, gentle notes of licorice and just a touch of oak influence from the three years the wine spent in older botti prior to bottling. On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied, focused and complex, with a fine core of sappy fruit, lovely soil signature and grip, fine-grained, buried tannins and impeccable balance on the long and very promising finish. The fruit component here has a lovely sense of old vine sappiness to it that is extremely attractive and will only get more so with the passage of time. 2035 – 2085

View From The Cellar, November, 2023

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