Here, I have listed the chart from Fontanafredda (formally: Casa di E.Mirafiore & Fontanafredda S.r.l). You can read all about the estate and winery at the Fontanafredda web site (in both English and Italian).
I obtained this listing from a colorful printed poster on the wine-cellar wall at Wenngarns slott, in Sweden. There seems to be no other online version available. I have provided an analysis of the data at the end of the post.
A Century of Barolo 1906-2005
The 100 vintages are scored on an increasing scale:
Poor, Normal, Good, Great, Excellent, Outstanding.
Comments on the vintage are provided only for the latter two categories.
|1907||Excellent||Top quality Barolos with magnificently balanced component parts.|
|1912||Excellent||Rich Barolos with great structure and an amply scented range of invitingly complex fragrance.|
|1919||Excellent||Barolo of wonderful finesse and elegance, with excellent structure and long lasting flavour.|
|1922||Outstanding||A superb Barolo throughout, full-bodied and well-balanced with great development potential.|
|1927||Excellent||A Barolo brimming with character, structure and elegance in its bouquet.|
|1929||Excellent||Harmony, intensity and great concentration were the qualities featured in a vintage decimated by spring frosts and hailstorms during the summer.|
|1931||Outstanding||Generally exquisite sensations, from its intense, rounded nose, to its full, harmonious flavour and great balance on the palate.|
|1947||Outstanding||This is rightly considered to be one of the greatest vintages of the century, and this Barolo expressed all the power of its colour, bouquet and taste to the full.|
|1958||Excellent||Well structured, crisp Barolo with a bouquet that developed a lovely ethereal complexity over time.|
|1961||Excellent||A classy Barolo, with body, warmth, structure, and a very ample, intense nose.|
|1964||Outstanding||Absolutely superb Barolo of incredible grandeur. The depth of the bouquet and fullness of its flavour came together with the well-ripened tannins that softened over a period of just a few years to give the wine a genuinely special balance and harmony.|
|1967||Excellent||A Barolo packed with intense, ample fragrances and good structure.|
|1971||Outstanding||Featuring magnificent balance, structure and depth of bouquet, this Barolo stands out for its elegance, very fine nose and ageing capacity.|
|1972||[Such a poor year for the nebiolo grapes that it was voluntarily declassified by all Barolo and Barbaresco producers.]|
|1974||Excellent||A Barolo with a delicate, inviting nose and smooth, lingering taste.|
|1978||Outstanding||A dry, hot summer and autumn allowed a small crop to produce a Barolo of great structure and power, and complex aroma and taste.|
|1982||Excellent||One of the biggest Barolos of all time in terms of body and character, with rich tannins and firm acidity guaranteeing a slow evolution of the wine over the years.|
|1985||Excellent||A Barolo distinguished by balance and harmony in its components, resulting from a hot, dry summer and autumn. Intense expansive bouquet.|
|1989||Outstanding||Wine with a very intense bouquet and big, full taste. Imposing and demanding, it owes its long life to its concentration.|
|1990||Outstanding||A majestic, thoroughbred Barolo. Exhilarating and complex, with great structure, balance and substance, an expansive nose, luscious, warm, full-bodied flavour, and soft, thick tannins.|
|1996||Outstanding||A Barolo of days gone by, with good structure and a lingering taste. A harvest delayed by an intensely cold spring and summer produced a wine with explosive tannic structure and a crisp|
|1997||Outstanding||Hot weather and early ripening resulted in a Barolo with a surprising harmony that highlighted the fullness and softness of its flavour. A wine of great balance, with astonishingly expressive power accompanying an extremely gentle nature.|
|1998||Excellent||Aromas of great freshness and finesse combine with a perfect sensation of equilibrium on the palate, produced by soft, ripe tannins matched by the warmth of the alcohol and nicely balanced acidity.|
|1999||Outstanding||A Barolo of great personality and structure, resulting from perfect ripening conditions for nebbiolo grapes. Complex on the nose and full-bodied in the mouth, with rich, ripe tannins providing breadth and depth.|
|2000||Outstanding||To close (or open?) the century, a Barolo with plenty of structure, a soft, full taste, and very intense fruit on the nose. A warm vintage and an early harvest for an elegant, round Barolo of exceptional balance and great personality.|
|2001||Outstanding||The vintage was distinguished by a wet, yet warm spring, followed by a very normal summer and autumn, with temperatures never getting too high. These conditions led to a harvest that started at the beginning of October, when the grapes were perfectly ripe (in terms of polyphenols too). A very concentrated wine, with powerful, soft tannins that fill the mouth. Red fruit and balsamic aromas prevail on the nose.|
|2004||Outstanding||An extraordinary Barolo, open and radiant, with ripe tannins that are soft and smooth. A wine that stands out for its great balance. Fascinating, expansive, multi-coloured bouquet, and warm and savoury on the mouth. An "easy" Barolo to approach and appreciate: this is its greatness.|
|2005||Excellent||Mid-harvest rains left their mark, defining styles and selections. Focus on elegance, with plenty of acidity and dry tannins, but good concentration of fruit giving depth and volume.|
Analysis of the data
Summary of the harvest-quality data for the 100 vintages:
The declassified vintage in 1972 is very unusual. Angelo Gaja’s notes on Langhe vintages include this comment:
The vintage was a disaster. It rained for 15 days during harvest. I believe that a bad decision was made. At that time, more than 80 percent of the harvest was sold to négociants (mediatori in Italian). Less than 20% was vinified by the growers themselves. The négociants didn’t want to pay for the grapes because the quality wasn’t there, and so they pushed the chamber of commerce to declassify the vintage. And it was declassified after the harvest. And so it was not possible to take advantage of what good fruit there was. It was a bad choice and it has never been repeated. The price collapsed and the grape growers were not able to cover their costs. They were the ones who suffered the most. Wineries can recoup their costs from other vintages. This decision was only made once and in my opinion it was a mistake.
I have shown the harvest-quality data as a time series in the graph, with quality converted to the scores 0-6. Each data point represents a vintage, and the pink line is a running average (it shows the average value across groups of 9 consecutive years, thus smoothing out the long-term trends).
The graph is generally centered on a score of 3 (= Good), with a distinct dip of poor vintages during the period 1935-1946. Indeed, 1947 was the only noteworthy vintage between 1931 and 1958 (a string of 26 vintages). By contrast, there has been a string of above-average vintages since 1994.
This recent improvement in quality compares very well to that discussed in Two centuries of Bordeaux vintages. This trend has occurred throughout the vineyard areas of Europe, and is usually attributed to the much warmer summers experienced since 1990, which has allowed the grapes to ripen more reliably (see the data in the post on Bordeaux).
In contrast with Barolo, the Bordeaux vintages also showed a general upward trend in harvest quality throughout the 1900s, rather than having the beginning and end of the century being similar (as shown above). In this sense, the two regions have been quite different. Bordeaux did also have poor vintages from 1930-1935, as in Barolo, but it had good vintages in 1945-1950, unlike Barolo.