2016 Domenico Clerico Pajana (750ml)

Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy

B-21 Top Recommendation
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Touring Piedmont late last year, I tasted through the top producers' finished wines from the much heralded 2016 vintage, basic Barolo through top Crus. Stunning wines greeted me at one address after another, many reminding me of legendary bottlings from 1989 or '90. Clerico's dazzling offers as usual punctuated my trip, a very definite exclamation point and among the finest set of wines of this tremendous vintage. Domenico grew up in these hills, and when he entered the wine business he began assembling small parcels of the most prestigious vineyards in Monforte d'Alba. Ciabot Mentin and Pajana in Ginestre soon followed – then the prized Serralunga – each showing Nebbiolo in a different shade of dark beauty. Most vines were planted in the '50s and '70s, old vines abound here. Because of these very old vines, Clerico tops the charts even in difficult harvests; hand this estate a vintage as perfect as 2016 and you're in for skyscraper-like quality. Again in this vintage Ciabot Mentin tops my chart. And the sexy spice and depth of spine-tingling complexity is on full display in Pajana and the best Aeroplan Servaj yet. A line up that represents the life and work of Domenico Clerico.


The Domenico Clerico 2016 Barolo Pajana draws its fruit from a parcel within the Ginestra cru that was planted in two phases, first in 1971 and again in 1991. It lies 350 meters above sea level and sees looser sandy soils compared to the higher-altitude parts of the vineyard (that delineates Ciabot Mentin). These conditions lead to extra richness and a velvety texture. Pajana is guided by a deep sense of elegance and finesse. The aromas show a smooth succession of cassis, black currant, blood orange, spice, camphor ash and smoke. The wine's length is what stands out, as you taste those Nebbiolo characteristics for many long minutes.

96 points, Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (Jul 2020)

The opulence and intensity is impressive on the nose from the beginning, showing plums, ripe strawberries, mushrooms and smoked meat. It’s full-bodied and chewy with a tight, focused palate of ripe fruit and chewy tannins. Compact and tight. Give this time, please. Try after 2023 at least.

96 points, James Suckling (Aug 2020)

The aromas are shy but the flavors are expressive, featuring black cherry, blackberry, plum, licorice and tobacco notes. Showing burly tannins, this powerful red will take a little longer to come around. Best from 2024 through 2050.

94 points, Bruce Sanderson, Wine Spectator (Apr 2020)

11 bottles in stock. Ships in 1 to 2 business days.