Bartolo Mascarello 2008 Langhe Nebiolo [sic]

Source: Vino al Vino. Translation by VinoWire.

The other evening, as we wait for the true cold to arrive so that I can spend a long evening with a bottle of Bartolo’s Barolo (excuse me! I mean Maria Teresa’s Barolo!), I hazarded a not-so-perfect pairing with an excellent pasta e fagioli prepared by my wife using the legendary white beans of Pigna. (Frankly, my desire to drink this wine was so great that I would have paired with even a humble dish of pasta.) I am tempted to call the wine in question, which I opened and thoroughly enjoyed, a Barolino, even though the handsome label tells us that the wine is a Langhe Nebiolo, sic, with just one b.

In fact, Bartolo’s daughter Maria Teresa does not conceal the fact that “our Nebiolo, with a production of roughly 2,000 bottles, comes from the same vines used for our Barolo. The wine is not released every year and only when climatic conditions and the young age of the vines do not deliver quality worthy of being called Barolo. So we declassify those parcels to Langhe Nebiolo.”

You don’t need me to tell you that this is a 100% Nebbiolo, without the addition of the 15% of other grapes allowed by the appellation (the very same DOC that gave a home to the celebrated crus of a well-known Langa producer, who had a hard time swallowing the 100% Nebbiolo requirement in the DOCG where he makes wine).

As for her Barolo, the Langhe Nebiolo is aged in Slavonian cask, ranging from 25 to 50 hectoliters, “for 9 months or 2 years, depending on the vintage characteristics.”

This wine offers a superb “introduction to Barolo,” with brilliant ruby red color and a clean and precise aromatic profile. The nose is unmistakably nebbiolous, ample and open, with a seductive mix (yet with each one distinctly perceptible) of raspberry, currants, and prune, hints of licorice, aromatic herbs, violet, underbrush, and savory nuanced minerality and earth and “streaks” of tobacco. This wine conveys is intriguing complexity through its harmony and intimacy with the “music” of Nebbiolo, the gateway to the symphonic complexity of Barolo.

Extremely clean and polished in the mouth, with undeniable elegance, a sign of masterful vinificiation. When I tasted this wine, I was immediately impressed by its juicy drinkability, by its great energy. It delivered complete satisfaction to the palate, full, wide, and open, bolstered by robust tannic structure with tannin that made its lively presence felt without aggressive. At the same time, the wine had a meatiness and a juicy, youthfully rich expression of fruit paired with a calibrated acidity and freshness, genuine flavor in a tasty glass.

—Franco Ziliani


2 thoughts on “Bartolo Mascarello 2008 Langhe Nebiolo [sic]

  1. Pingback: Bartolo Mascarello 2008 Langhe Nebiolo [sic] « Do Bianchi

  2. I couldn’t agree more, Franco. Maria Teresa’s ’08 “Nebiolo” is one of the few wines I made a point of buying and carting home from my tripe to Piemonte this spring. Just waiting for the right moment to open a bottle!

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