A decade of Giacomo Conterno Monfortino Barolo @ Grossi Florentino Thursday 20th of August – the notes…

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“Baroli Cascina Francia and Monfortino … rightly considered by most observers as among the most profound wines in the world.” – Antonio Galloni

A couple of weeks ago, twelve wine lovers sat down for a special dinner looking at a decade of Giacomo Conterno Monfortino. Whilst the wines were probably more varied than what I would have expected. The string of great bottles to me showed the great expression of Barolo that one will ever drink. The younger wines were just that: young. Give them time and they will join the great Barolo’s of our generation.

Monfortino – A Brief History by Antonio Galloni

The first known, official commercial release of Monfortino was 1924, although photos exist of earlier vintages. The first Monfortinos were made from purchased fruit sourced from top vineyards in Monforte d’Alba and Serralunga d’Alba, as was the custom at the time. In the 1970s, Giovanni Conterno understood the fundamental shift taking place in Piedmont and aroundthe world; namely that the supply of high-quality grapes was shrinking as growers became bottlers, which in turn was driving land prices higher, which meant that the only way to ensure quality over the long term was to own vineyards. In 1974, the Conterno family purchased Cascina Francia, a 14-hectare plot in Serralunga.

Although cultivated predominantly with wheat at the time, vines had been planted at Cascina Francia previously. Conterno replanted with Dolcetto, Freisa, Barbera and Nebbiolo, the four main indigenous grapes of Piedmont. The spectacular 1978 vintage rewarded Giovanni Conterno with his first Monfortino from Cascina Francia, a wine that is still one of the greatest Barolos ever made.

Today, Roberto Conterno continues the rich legacy of vineyard work and winemaking established by his father Giovanni and grandfather Giacomo before him. Monfortino remains a selection of the best fruit from within Cascina Francia and is bottled only in the very best years. Winemaking is rigorously traditional. Long fermentations are followed by an unheard of seven years in cask.

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Wines on the night:

Giacomo Conterno Monfortino 1988

Giacomo Conterno Monfortino 1993

Giacomo Conterno Monfortino 1995

Giacomo Conterno Monfortino 1997

Giacomo Conterno Monfortino 1998

Giacomo Conterno Monfortino 1999

Giacomo Conterno Monfortino 2000

Giacomo Conterno Monfortino 2001

Giacomo Conterno Monfortino 2002

Giacomo Conterno Monfortino 2004

Giacomo Conterno Monfortino 2005

Giacomo Conterno Monfortino 2006

THE MENU

CARNE ALBESE
Raw Fillet of Beef, Artichoke, Yolk, Truffle,
Pangrattato, Hazelnut

SOPA COADA
Pilgrim Goose, Oca in Onto, Bread, Parmigiano, Brodo

FRITTO MISTO
Fried Seafood and Vegetables

RAVIOLI DEL PLIN

Veal, Sage, Butter, Truffle

PRESSED CAPE GRIM SHORT RIB
Mash Potato, Roasted Heirloom Carrots,
Pickled Mustard Seeds

TESTUN AL BAROLO

Walnut Leaves, Ligurian Bee Honey

 

 

Antonio Galloni’s notes on the wines. My impressions are in bold italics below his note and score.

1988

The 1988 Monfortino is a real stunner. From bottle, I have never truly loved the 1988, but from magnum, well, it is another story. Fresh, translucent and vibrant on the palate, the 1988 has a classic sense of structure that borrows elements from the 1970 and 1987. Tasted again at the end of the dinner, the 1988 is in a great place now. 2014-2024 96 points

Sweet nose, starting to show hints of development. Length, length and more length. In it’s drinking window. Really bottle dependant, this is good, would assume that some bottles would look even better.

1993

The 1993 Monfortino is one of the wines with the most sediment, but once the wine is decanted, the fruit really begins to pop. This is one of the deeper, meatier wines of the evening. There is plenty of depth and intensity in the glass if not quite the finesse or translucency of the very best years. I don’t expect to see too much upside from here, but time will tell. 2014-2023 94 points

Seamless nose, sweet fruits, classic roses and tar. Hints of gravel. Such a perfect palate, supremely balanced. So tight, so fresh and so amazing. Decades in front of it.

1995

Another pleasant surprise, the 1995 Monfortino is just entering its early peak of maturity. The hard contours have softened and the 1995 appears to be evolving along the lines of the 1988. The 1995 can be enjoyed today, but it also will age well for another 15+ years. Tonight, it is terrific. 2015-2030 95 points

Good but not a great bottle. Slightly evolved, would drink not keep. Love the tannins of this wine. You almost have to not smell it and just drink it.

1997

The 1997 Monfortino is served and all conversation suddenly stops as we taste the wine. Breathtaking aromatics leave the room rapt with attention. You can hear a pin drop. Just as thrilling on the palate, the 1997 is utterly captivating from the very first taste. The 1997 is exotic, full-bodied and viscerally thrilling to the core. What a wine! 2014-2027 99 points

Super tight, needs time. Minerally, tightly woven with pristine savoury fruits. This needs decades to unwind. Lovely wine.

1998

In this flight, the 1998 Monfortino is a bit penalized. Initially I thought it was a bit oxidized and/or over-ripe, but the wine just needed time to open up. By the end of the evening the fruit is really popping in a generous, beautifully resonant expression of Monfortino. In any other setting, the 1998 would have been the wine of the night. In this tasting, it is merely exceptional. Ironically, one of the wines I thought needed the least air needed the most. 2014-2038 96+

Very good nose, rose petals, strawberries and a palate held together by minerally tannins. Lovely up front fruits matched with super fine tannins.

1999

I have always had a big crush on the 1999 Monfortino. Here it is the combination of sensual, virtually intoxicating perfume, focused fruit and structure that stands out most of all. The 1999 is naturally quite young, especially from magnum, but it is a head-turning beauty. I remember giving the 1999 a huge score when it was first released and going long on the wine. I am glad I did. In time, the 1999 will take its rightful place among the greatest Monfortinos ever made. Actually, it already has. 2014-2039 100 points

Clean, tight and clearly superb. As close to perfection as humanly possible with Barolo. Fresh tannins, complete and complex wine. 

2000

Conterno’s 2000 Barolo Riserva Monfortino explodes from the glass with a luxurious, expansive personality that leaves me speachless. Endowed with generous ripe fruit, it is a seamless, seductive Monfortino that possesses incredible length as well as purity in a style that perfectly encapsulates the qualities of the vintage. With air, suggestions of roses, cocoa, tar and an ise emerge to complete this magnificent expression of Barolo from Serralunga. Despite its seemingly approachable personality this wine has plenty of underlying structure. I suggest tasting the wine as soon as it appears on retail shelves as it is almost certain to shut down at some point in the near future. As for the magical question: When will the wine be ready? Looking at other warm vintages, the 1985 is peaking but has plenty of life ahead of it, and the 1990 is still an infant, so my best guess is that the 2000 will start drinking well around age 20, but personally I am not sure I will have the patience to wait that long. Low yields, a long fermentation time of 4-5 weeks with no temperature control and seven years of cask aging remain the rule for Monfortino. The string of Monfortinos spanning 1996 to 2001 (and possibly 2002) must surely be a record. I can’t think of another estate in the world that has produced six consecutive vintages of this profound quality. The 2000 Monfortino ranks slightly behind the 1999 and 2001, but that may be splitting hairs at this very high level. It is another stellar effort from Giacomo Conterno. 2015-2030 97 points

So pure, fragrant, perfumed, lovely balance. Fresh, youthful, perfect. Benchmark Barolo.

2001

The 2001 Barolo Riserva Monfortino flows from the glass with stunning depth and purity. This seamless, elegant Barolo caresses the palate with incredible persistence as layers of aromas and flavors develop in the glass. Stylistically it is very much like the 2001 Cascina Francia, only with more intensity, depth and sheer volume. Monfortino has always had power to spare, but in 2001 it is also incredibly elegant, something that previous vintages have only acquired with significant bottle age. This is a towering, majestic Monfortino that will rightfully take its place among the very finest Monfortinos ever made. 2016-2041 99 points

Again another close to perfect Barolo. Power to burn with so much beauty and purity perfectly matched with fine tannins. A great example of textbook Barolo.

2002

I would be remiss if I didn’t say a few words about the 2002 Barolo Riserva Monfortino, a wine that may very well turn into a modern-day legend. As readers may recall, 2002 was a cold, rainy year that in many parts of Barolo culminated with violent hailstorms in early September. The weather then turned picture-perfect for the rest of the growing season, but by that time most vineyards were severely damaged. The late-ripening Cascina Francia was an exception. Conterno green-harvested aggressively, which gave the fruit a chance to ripen. The late harvest produced massive, structured wines. Roberto Conterno and his father, the late Giovanni Conterno, thought 2002 was not a good vintage, bur rather a great vintage. The Conternos were so upset by the poor early press reaction to the vintage they announced they would let no one taste their 2002 Barolo, and then declared the unthinkable: they would only produce their Monfortino in 2002. As it turns out, the modern-day view of the conditions during 2002 failed to take into account that vintages were often cold and damp in the 1960s and 1970s. Conterno has fashioned an old-style, massive Monfortino that pays homage to the great wines of decades past.. I have been following this wine for a some time. It is a deeply-colored, imposing Monfortino loaded with dense dark fruit that today is held in check by a massive wall of tannins. At times the wine has reminded me of the 1971 Monfortino, at other times it has appeared to be more similar to the 1978. Either way, it is classic, old-style Barolo the likes of which we aren’t likely to see again any time soon. 2022-2052 94-97 points

Salty. Intense without the power and structure of great Monfortino’s. A good without being a great wine. A great result considering the vintage but I suspect over time, the vintage will show through more and more in this wine.

2004

The 2004 Barolo Riserva Monfortino is as it has always been: virtually perfect. It is a staggeringly beautiful wine of heroic proportions, with all of the elements in the right place. The bouquet alone is head-spinning; but then the fruit conquers the palate with its sensual, beguiling beauty. The tannins are impeccable, polished and impossibly refined from start to finish. The 2004 Monfortino is shaping up to be one of the very finest wines ever made in Italy, or anywhere for that matter. Let me just say this: the 2004 Monfortino is the only wine at Conterno I did not spit on what turned out to be a magical afternoon. It was the last stop of the day, and I granted myself that one small indulgence. 2014-2044 100 points

I love this wine but it seems like there has been a slight change in style. A touch more modern than previous wines and without the balance that I would normally suspect.

2005

A rich, sensual tapestry of dark plums, cherries, smoke, incense, tar and licorice emerges from the 2005 Barolo Riserva Monfortino. Exotic, rich and layered, the 2005 boasts gorgeous depth and a sensual enveloping personality. I am quite amazed at how the 2005 has developed since I last tasted it, in November 2011. The once-firm tannins have never been more elegant than they are today. That said, as good as the 2005 is, it doesn’t quite have the thrill factor of the very best vintages. 2020-2040 96 points

Showing more obvious oak than previous wines. One suspects it is due to it’s young age more than anything else. These wines are built to live for 50-60 years so this is just a glimpse at the start of it’s evolution.

2006

I won’t be at all surprised if, given its massive structure, the 2006 Barolo Riserva Monfortino one day takes its place alongside vintages such as 1999 and 2002. A massive, full-bodied wine, the 2006 captivates all the senses with its sheer structure. At times, though, the 2006 also comes across as weightless and elusive, showing the dualism that makes great Barolo such a fascinating wine. This is a decidedly vertical Monfortino built on a huge frame of tannin. The aromas and flavors aren’t fully expressive today. Instead it is the wine’s pure density that leaves the most profound lasting impression. With that, the tasting is done, and with good reason. Where do you go from here? 2021-2056 97-100 points

Where will this wine go? I suspect into the book as one of the great Italian reds of our generation. Like the 2004 and 2005 this wine is young. At 8 years of age it looks and drinks like it has just been bottled. Ok, oak is sticking out a little like 2005 but in time I see that it will al come together and then age gracefully for many decades to come.

 

 

 

 

boccacciovino redevelopment: Finally the floor is up!!….

the new @boccacciovino wine store.
the new @boccacciovino wine store.

When you renovate (or in our case redevelop) you never know what little surprises will be thrown up along the way. When you add in a structure that was built by my family 40 years ago (with the use of a lot of concrete) sometimes the things that look easy, turn out to be quite hard!!

Take for example the flooring for the new wine shop about 50 metres down the road. Old fashioned terracotta tiles 15mm thick were originally used in our original store 40 years ago. A sample patch done by the builder caused no issues: the tiles came up easily and the concrete underneath was polished. Well that small section was not representative of the whole store and it has been a bugger of a job for the builder to remove all the tiles (which they have had to do by end, not with a machine) and this has taken a week longer than originally anticipated. Well last week we had success and all the tiles were removed and grinding has begun to polish the concrete below.

Cool rooms, wiring, etc are now going in and it should be a big week ahead.

Progress….

boccaccio reno

Nothing gets me more excited than progress. I hate standing still. It must be a family trait as I see it in my eldest daughter. We are both wake up at the same time each morning and jump from the blocks, ready to take the day on. I have always been a believer that time is too precious to waste and it is in the morning, when my brain is the sharpest and idea’s flow freely.

Even whilst studying at school and university, I never worked on assignments or studies for exams past 8pm. By that time, my mind was frazzled and all I wanted to do was unwind.

Getting back to progress, there has been a lot going on at @boccacciovino with work underway to create something unique in Australia. I do not want to just build a new wine store and Italian supermarket: I want it to be a showcase of all things good about Italian food and wine.

The new site for @boccacciovino wine store
The new site for @boccacciovino wine store

Today there is a crew of twenty plus tradesman working on our new @boccacciovino wine store which should be ready for us to operate out of in ten weeks (yes 10 weeks, scary really!) and a new Italian supermarket which will take a year of building.

I will keep you posted along the whole journey and it is sure going to be a fantastic experience!

2013 Benevelli Langhe Nebbiolo has arrived in Oz….!

Denise and Massimo Benevelli
Denise and Massimo Benevelli

 

In my work, I am constantly surrounded by people working in the wine industry. Whether it be sales representatives, winemakers or journalists. So it makes sense that some of my closest friends are individuals who work in the wine industry. Sometimes, you will have an instant connection with a person and understand on all levels exactly what they are thinking and the direction they want to take. It doesn’t have to be about wine. It might be about politics, life or sport. You just understand each other.

For me, Honesty and simplicity are two traits I think are pretty hard to go past in life and most of my closest friends have this in spades. I am not a pretender: what you see is what you get. I am like that in life as well as in business. If you can’t be yourself, then what is the point of it all?

That is why I think Massimo and myself have become good friends.
Massimo is quiet and shy. When he talks, he talks for a reason. The same goes with the wines he makes. They are a reflection of Massimo and his Langhe Nebbiolo, Bricco Ravera Barbera and Monforte Barolo all share his stamp. They are not tricked up. They are not smothered in oak. They speak of Monforte, they speak of Massimo and importantly they speak of the vintage. They are not trying to be something they are not.

Massimo’s wines are becoming harder and harder to buy. With international demand for his wines growing every vintage (and whilst we still manage to get a great allocation for Australia) it means that demand far exceeds supply on all his wines. In the USA, he has been picked up by legendary wine importer Kermit Lynch which is great for Massimo and I have no doubt it will reach a stage where the wines of Piero Benevelli will become as scarce as hens teach.

The 2013 Langhe Nebbiolo from Massimo is a great illustration of what he is capable. The word that instantly springs to mind is unforced. It is unforced in that it is not trying to be something it is not. Nebbiolo stripped back in it’s purest form. In this form this grape variety has fantastic fragrance, well defined tannins and a depth of palate which will enable it to age for many years. The 2013 Langhe Nebbiolo is Nebbiolo stripped bare and presented in it’s purest form.

 

 

The highlight of last nights Bibemus dinner? 3 vintages of Nanni Cope…

Three vintages of Nanni-Cope last night.
Three vintages of Nanni-Cope last night.

 

Last night my Italian wine tasting group (this group is made up of mainly other imports, wine merchants and journalists with an interest in Italian wine) looked at around 15 whites and reds from Basilicata and Campania.

Whilst there was lot’s of good wines, there was also lot’s of examples of over use of oak and obvious winemaking faults. There were though, lot’s of really good wines and this bracket featuring the 2009, 2010 and 2011 vintages of Nanni-Cope were outstanding.

For those of you that are not familiar with Nanni-Cope, you should be. These are truly amazing wines. Below is some background information on the wines and winery.

 

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Giovanni Ascione, whose childhood nickname was Nanni Copé, founded the Azienda Agricola Nanni Copé in 2007. The wine is the fruit of his inner passion for wine, as well as of his encounter with a unique vineyard at Castel Campagnano, in the upper region of Caserta, Campania. It is a beautiful, unpolluted area, with vineyards alternating with woods. The Taburno and the Matese massifs are nearby, the sea is about thirty kilometres away, and the middle course of the Volturno river flows in the neighbourhood.   Vigna Sopra il Bosco spreads over a 6.2 acres surface at about 700 feet above sea level, mainly exposed to the north-west. The plants are aged over twenty years on average.

 Giovanni’s guiding philosophy reflects the inner power of a wine from the south, expressed in a northern style. Trying to enhance the extraordinary qualities of the Pallagrello Nero through the exaltation of the utmost elegance and drinkability. Never concentrated, neither in the vineyards nor in the cellar. A maximum expression of the terroir.

 Vigna Sopra il Bosco is a true obsession. The plants are registered one by one and the whole vineyard is divided into sectors subject to different pruning, foliage management, surface management, and harvesting approaches.

 The whole agronomic philosophy is aimed at minimizing interventions. The use of herbicides or pesticides is utterly excluded. A maximum amount of time is spent tending the vineyard with respect for the old plantings.   A diversified approach is used for each of the four zones of the vineyard followed by meticulous record keeping on all the plantings. Management of the spring (green) pruning,   new growth, the yields, the ground cover between vines and the harvest-period is done on a plant by plant basis.    Harvesting is performed row by row, sometimes plant by plant, based on the desired maturation level, over a period of time that spans from the end of September to mid-October. The grapes are selected bunch by bunch and blended, without distinguishing between varieties, however at equal maturation stages. Vinification involves maximum respect for the grape. Nanni Cope

 

A decade of Bartolo Mascarello Barolo: my take on the wines….

A decade of Bartolo Mascarello at Scopri
A decade of Bartolo Mascarello at Scopri

Over the last two years I have been lucky to have a fellow group of Italian wine lovers that wanted to drink the great wines of Italy and we have structured each dinner along a certain theme or producer. It is now at the stage where demand for a spot for these dinners is so great, that the limited spots available fill up in a matter of hours.

The wines either come from my cellar in Italy or cellars of individuals who attend the dinners. Last week we looked at a decade of Bartolo Mascarello Barolo, next month it is a decade of Giacomo Conterno Monfortino and in September, twenty vintages of Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco. Talk about educational.

There is nothing like sharing great bottles with friends over dinner and last week we shared many great bottles. Apart from the 1999 and 2011 which weren’t great bottles (but I would still happily drink them if on my own) the line up overall was of a very high standard. These are the best of the best. Rare collectors items and it is good to see them drunk rather than hung on to.

Below are some brief notes by myself on the wines. I have also listed Antonio Galloni as a comparison and sometimes with these wines, it is more about the bottle than the wine.

 

Reviews by Antonio Galloni to give you another perspective of the wines and  my comments in italic’s on the wines:

Bartolo Mascarello Dolectto 2012

The 2012 Dolcetto d’Alba is drop-dead gorgeous. Dark cherry, plum, violets and lavender all flesh out in a soft, supple Dolcetto laced with expressive dark red/purplish fruit. Mascarello’s Dolcetto can sometimes be a bit austere and compact, not the 2012. It is stunning, classic and utterly delicious. 2014 – 2019 91 points Antonio Galloni

Upfront and perfumed, lovely weight and structure. A wine to drink young and enjoy the yummy upfront fruits.

Bartolo Mascarello Langhe Nebbiolo 2010

Readers who want to get a sense of the quality of the 2010 vintage in Barolo should check out the estate’s 2010 Langhe Nebiolo, which is essentially one cask of declassified Nebbiolo entirely from Barolo-designated vineyards. Sweet, perfumed and utterly gracious, the 2010 is all about grace and finesse. Layers of expressive Nebbiolo fruit flow through to the effortless and hugely inviting finish. 2013 – 2020 89 points Antonio Galloni

Structured and intense, just starting to enter it’s drinking window with upfront typical Nebbiolo fruits and still with enough acidity to see it continue to improve in the short term.

 

Bartolo Mascarello Langhe Nebbiolo 2011

Mascarello’s 2011 Langhe Nebiolo is one of the great, hidden gems in Piedmont. Freshly cut flowers, rose petals, sweet red berries and mint are all woven together in a wine of impeccable balance and total class. The 2011 is at once delicate and perfumed, but also has an extra level of richness from the warm vintage. The Langhe Nebiolo (note the traditional spelling with one ‘B’) is made from pre-selection of fruit taken in the vineyard and destined for a shorter fermentation/cask aging regime in the cellar. 2014-2021 92 points Antonio Galloni

Riper in colour and more developed than the 2010. A bigger wine but not better than the 2010. I would drink this whilst waiting for the 2010 Langhe Nebbiolo to come round.

 

Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 1999

Medium red. Mascarello’s 1999 Barolo is a brilliant effort, offering a perfumed, elegant nose and lovely notes of red cherry fruit, menthol and minerals that flow onto the palate in a display of extraordinary purity. As it sits in the glass subtle notes of earthiness and tobacco appear, the fruit becomes more ethereal, and the wine changes from its initial impression of power to more understated, nuanced expression of Nebbiolo. Deceptively medium bodied, it also has the structure to age well, and will still be a compelling Barolo at age 30. As has been the case in recent vintages I find more bottle variation than I would like, but this was the finest of the three bottles I tasted. 2013+ 93 points Antonio Galloni

Not a great bottle of 99 and already showing signs of oxidation. Storage is not an issue (climate controlled since release) so obviously a cork issue when you compare to Antonio Galloni’s notes.

 

Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2000

After many years I have finally concluded that Bartolo Mascarello’s 2000 Barolo will always remain a mystery to me. From bottle, the 2000 Barolo has never been satisfying. I have gone through a number of bottles, mostly from my own cellar, and been consistently disapointed. As the wine has aged the ever present rustic bouquet has developed but not disappeared. Autumn leaves, mushrooms, dried cherries, tobacco and faded roses are some of the nuances that emerge from the glass. The unpolised qualities reappear on a finish marked by hard tannins. 2013-2020 86 points Antonio Galloni

Oddly enough, from magnum, the 2000 Barolo is magnificent, with none of the imperfections I have found in so many of my bottles. The wine shows considerable 2000 personality in its warm, radiant fruit, but the large format has maintained freshness and verve. Readers who can find the 2000 in magnum will want to consider the wine. 2013-2025 96 points Antonio Galloni

 A surprise packet and showing extremely well. In the first stages of it’s drinking window, it is complex and unforced with beautifully rounded fruit and the structure to hold this length for many years to come.

 

 

Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2001

Barolo remains one the most quirky and idiosyncratic wines on the market. Initially soft and delicate, it offers a lovely core of open-knit, expressive macerated cherries, raspberries, spices, tar, freshly ground coffee beans and earthiness, giving the impression of being fairly ready to drink. With air, multiple tastings reveal a wine that has put on considerable weight, completely changing its personality to a big, structured Barolo supported by plenty of acidity and tannins to age. Though it freshened up considerably over time, it never became completely clean. At once highly compelling yet frustratingly flawed, it will appeal to readers who can look past its funky notes. That said, several recent bottles have been outstanding so I have upgraded my score accordingly. 2013-2026 92 points Antonio Galloni

Like the 1999 this bottle was not a great example of the 2001 Mascarello Barolo. Hints of brett on the palate has stripped back some of that fruit leaving a wine that does not show it’s full potential.

Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2003

Sweet tobacco, dried flowers, mint, and dried herbs meld together in the 2003 Barolo. The aromas have just begin to develop hints of tertiary complexity and nuance, while there is more than enough depth to support another decade of very fine drinking. The 2003 doesn’t have the finesse or polish of the best vintages, but it has certainly held up well. Exceptionally well. 2013-2024 92 points Antonio Galloni

Probably the surprise packed of the night. Beautiful wine. For a vintage like 2003, which was one of the hottest on record in Barolo, this is a sensual, delicately poised wine that still has plenty left in the tank. A wine that shows you not to generalise vintages when you have masters like Mascarello in control.

  

Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2004

Her pure, finessed 2004 Barolo offers a compelling array of perfumed violets, dark cherries and baking spices with superb clarity and delineation. A weightless, ethereal Barolo, it reveals notable freshness and supple tannins on the long, finessed finish. Although I have tasted this wine many times from cask, I first encountered it from bottle at a blind tasting where it was immediately recognizable for its style, purity and class. This is the best young Barolo I have tasted here in many a year. Fans of traditional Barolo won’t want to miss this superb effort. The 2004 Barolo was fermented for 20-30 days in cement. The malos progressed at an unusually slow pace and weren’t finished until the following summer. The wine was aged in medium-sized casks. Readers can also look forward to promising wines in 2005, 2006 and 2007. I also had a chance to re-taste the 2003, which is a lovely Barolo for nearer-term consumption. 2014-2029 95 points Antonio Galloni

Close to perfection and the reason why Mascarello is held in such high esteem. Long, layered, unforced, complex and etheral. Still with decades in front of it, yet drinking so well from a young age.

 

Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2005

The 2005 Barolo is super-delicate and finessed. This is a decidedly restrained, feminine style of Barolo laced with roses, raspberries, jasmine and berries. It will be fascinating to see which direction the 2005 takes from here. At times the wine appears to be putting on additional weight, but it nevertheless retains an element of frailty that is actually quite attractive. I rate the 2005 just behind the 2004, 2006 and 2007, but it is a gorgeous wine, and easily one of the very finest wines of the vintage. 2013-2025 95 points Antonio Galloni

Another fantastic Mascarello, not in the same groove as 2004 but in terms of quality, this is a very fine Barolo. It is still a few years away from entering it’s drinking window, but once it does arrive, the future is bright for this wine.

 

 

Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2006 (Magnum)

Mascarello’s 2006 Barolo boasts great purity and density in a round, harmonious expression of fruit that emerges from a mid-weight frame. Silky tannins frame the intensely fragrant, dark red fruit as this exceptionally elegant, refined Barolo shows off its pedigree. The finish is long, clean and refreshing, suggesting the wine has many years of very fine drinking in store for readers who are lucky enough to own this bottle. Proprietor Maria-Theresa Mascarello describes 2006 as a hot year. The Nebbiolo harvest here began earlier than normal, on the 23rd of September, the same as 2005. That said, the 2006 Barolo has retained the classic, mid-weight style that readers have come to expect from Bartolo Mascarello. 2016-2031+ 96 points Antonio Galloni

Wow. Up there with the 2004 in that it is close to perfect for a young Barolo. This wine is going to have a very long future ahead of it and already the complexity and class of this wine is obvious. This wine also highlights the  quality Maria-Theresa Mascarello possesses and even with a generational change, the quality at Mascarello has never been higher.

 

Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2007

Mascarello’s 2007 Barolo flows from the glass with masses of round, enveloping fruit. This is an unusually soft, juicy Barolo from Mascarello that is remarkable for its textural richness and warm radiant fruit. The 2007 doesn’t have the aromatic complexity of the 2005 or 2006, but it makes up for that with its totally seductive personality. Crushed flowers, berries and sweet baking spices linger on a generous finish that evokes memories of the 1990. 2017-2032 96 points Antonio Galloni

This wine is a product of the year but like the 2003 Barolo, it has handled the extreme heat conditions far better than most other producers. This wine is already on the front foot, without the tannin structure of classic years. It is a wine for those that prefer to drink Mascarello sooner rather than later.

 

Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2008

All is forgotten once the audience tastes Maria-Theresa Mascarello’s 2008 Barolo. The room is totally silent. That is usually a good sign. A totally spellbinding wine, the 2008 is flat-out stunning from the moment it emerges from the glass. The fruit is sweet, layered and haunting in its beauty, while the tannins are remarkably polished. This is a perfect example of the new paradigm in Barolo; today’s wines just don’t need decades to come around anymore. I bought these bottles ex-cellar and brought them back to US myself. What a difference that makes. The 2008 Mascarello is simply dazzling. If you can find it, don’t hesitate. 2018-2048 98 points Antonio Galloni

Whilst not showing at this young wine as the 2004 and 2006, there is no denying that this will join these wines in Barolo greatness. So young but if you hold into your wine in the glass long enough, it slowly opens up to show the enormous potential that is possesses.  

 

Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2009

Bartolo Mascarello fans will want to stock up on the 2009 Barolo, a great choice for indulging in pure pleasure while vintages like 2006, 2008 and 2010 take their time to develop in bottle. Dried rose petals, fennel, anise, sweet tobacco and mint are all very much alive in the glass. The 2009 is ethereal, graceful and utterly beguiling from the very first taste. I expect the 2009 will mature relatively quickly by the estate’s standards, but there is more positive to that than negative. 2014-2029 94 points Antonio Galloni

A fantastic Mascarello but without hitting the high notes of the previous vintage. Slightly forward and a good example of vintage variation with a typical Mascarello house style.

 

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