Pio Cesare Barolo Ornato DOCG

Piemonte, Italy

Vintage:2016 (Past)

2017 (Past) | 2018 (Past) | 2019 (Current) | 2020 (Pending)

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Pio Cesare Barolo Ornato DOCG 2016
  • JS 98
  • D 96
  • WA 96
  • V 95+
  • IWR 95
  • WE 94


Italian Wine Report 95 Points December 2020, Tom Hyland

“From the vineyard in Serralunga d’Alba. Beautiful young garnet; aromas of morel cherry. Full-bodied with excellent concentration. Excellent ripeness, firm tannins, rich wood notes, very good acidity. Lengthy finish with impressive fruit stuffing along with distinct notes of oregano, sage and tar. This is styled for the long haul, yet the wine has beautiful harmony and excellent structure, along with a beautiful expression of place. Give time – peak in 20 years plus.”

Vinous Media 95+ Points October 15, 2020, Antonio Galloni

“The 2016 Barolo Ornato is a gorgeous wine. Moreover, it very clearly represents a shift towards a more classic style. I think this is the first time I have tasted the real character of Serralunga in Pio Cesare’s Ornato. I don’t mean the rich, oak-laden textures of the past, but the wild herbs, minerals and ferrous notes that are typical of so many wines in this sector of Serralunga. A wine of power and intensity, the Ornato is so impressive in 2016. It will need a few years to soften (at least), but there is plenty to look forward to.Monforte site. Tar, licorice, rose petal, mint, incense and dried herbs all develop with time in the glass. The 2016 is a powerhouse. I would give it at least a few years in bottle.”

Gambero Rosso Red Wine of the Year 2021 October 14, 2020

Wine Enthusiast 94 Points September 1, 2020, Kerin O'Keefe

“Aromas of rose petal, underbrush, crushed botanical herb and woodland berry mingle with a whiff of hazelnut. On the linear, precise palate, tight fine-grained tannins accompany sour cherry, blood orange, licorice and coffee bean. Drink 2024–2036.”

The Wine Advocate 96 Points July 23, 2020, Monica Larner

“With fruit from Serralunga d'Alba, the Pio Cesare 2016 Barolo Ornato offers a stunning presentation in this classic vintage. The bouquet shows small berry fruits and cassis, all framed by crushed stone, forest floor, blue flower and candied orange skin. There is a dusty mineral note to this wine as well, with terrific intensity on both the nose and the palate. The Ornato kicks in with finely integrated tannins and acidity that holds all those fruit flavors high and tall. What we have here is a standout Barolo that is staunchly vertical, linear and upfront. Some 10,000 bottles were produced.”

Decanter 96 Points April 13, 2020, Stephen Brook

“This fine site in Serralunga is elevated at 380 metres, which may explain the wine's finesse. Very ripe sour cherries dominate the nose, which is perfumed and lifted, with a touch of vanilla beneath the soaring fruit. It's taut and sleek, with high acidity but no greenness. The tannins are well integrated, so the texture is polished. It's still tight and undoubtedly complex, with hints of tobacco and coffee. The balance is impeccable and this will go the distance. Although it may be accessible young, this will develop more nuances with further ageing. Long minty finish.”

JamesSuckling.com 98 Points September 13, 2019, James Suckling

“The blue fruit and freshness are impressive here. At the same time, there’s richness and focus with ripe fruit. Yet, it remains cool and bright. Superb center palate with great fruit and depth, but compact and focused. Needs three or four years to come together. Better after 2021.”


The Pio Cesare family’s unique winemaking method stresses minimal intervention to produce wines of particularly supple flavor expression. A ceaseless devotion to the individuality of each of the region’s wines informs Pio Cesare's choices in the cellar: shorter maceration, separate lot fermentation, judicious selection for barrel and large cask aging, and bottling schedules determined by the ideal structure of each wine. This allows Pio Cesare to craft wines of varying weight, ageability and drinkability as determined by the vineyard rather than market fashion.

Year after year, the wines of Pio Cesare are recognized for their consistency and regional expression. From world-class Barolo and Barbaresco to crisp Cortese and sweet Moscato, the wines of Pio Cesare offer exceptional quality and variety.

First launched with the 1985 vintage, Barolo Ornato was Pio Cesare's original single-vineyard bottling. Great structure, power, concentration, with a very long life. Produced in small quantities.

The 2016 Ornato is Gambero Rosso's Red Wine of the Year 2021. 


This is a single-vineyard Barolo from very ripe grapes of three different plots of the famous Pio Cesare family’s Ornato Estate in Serralunga d’Alba, one of the top vineyards in the whole Barolo area. It is fermented in stainless steel with skin contact for 30 days and aged in in oak "botti" for about 30 months, and a small amount in French oak for the first 12 months.

Tasting Notes

This wine has great structure and concentration, with ripe fruit, soft tannins and tobacco. May be enjoyed upon release, but will reward time in the cellar. 

Harvest Notes

2016 was characterized by a very long-lasting vegetative cycle, with a slow but regular ripening season. Spring begun with abundant rainfalls, which provided the vines with adequate water levels. Summer, which started late, lasted until the end of September with mild temperatures. Thanks to this very long vegetative window and a good water supply, the grapes achieved a complete and healthy ripening, producing remarkably well-balanced wines with excellent aromas and great structure. An exceptional and classic vintage, very similar in style to 2013.

Technical Information

Varietals: 100% Nebbiolo

Aging: In oak “botti” for about 30 months; a small amount in French oak for the first 12 months