While it is true that there are a lot of great producers of Italy’s famed red wine Barolo, the greatest terroir of the region is limited.
The appellation of Barolo is made up of 11 communes (villages). It wasn’t always this way, as the original classification and zoning of 1896 was initially made up of five: Barolo, La Morra, Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d’Alba and part of Monforte d’Alba. These original five communes, have what is considered the greatest terroir, and 85+% of Barolo today comes from these zones.
The region is often talked about as two sections: The Serralunga Valley and the Central Valley.
In the Serralunga Valley you find the communes of Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d’Alba and Monforte d’Alba. To generalize there is more sand, limestone, iron, phosphorus and potassium in this area, and produces more structured wines, with very long aging potentials in the finest sites.
The Central Valley has higher levels of clay, manganese and magnesium oxide, giving more aroma in their youth as well as a more round, generous mouthfeel.
Of course these are generalizations, but what isn’t a generalization is that within both these valleys there are special vineyard sites referred to as Cru’s. There has been much study and dedication devoted to recognizing the best Cru’s, and while there is no official classification, people like Veronelli and Renato Ratti set forth a generally accepted mapping of what the finest Cru’s are.
The reason for my detailed explanation about the importance of terroir and the finest sites, is because the Massolino family is privileged to own parcels in many of the greatest vineyards sites in Barolo.
The family winery is located in the heart of Serralunga d’Alba, which is one of only two communes to have all of its vineyards in the DOCG Barolo appellation. From the Massolino winery, you can look out and see some of these truly great vineyards including Margheria, Parafada, and Vigna Rionda within Serralunga d’Alba and Parussi in Castiglione Falletto.
These names might not mean much to you, but to someone who is here to direct you towards the best of the best, these are truly the pinnacle.
I won’t go into great detail about the winery or history of the family since there is some great information on their website here.
Below is a pre-arrival offering of the 2008 “normale,” 2008 “Cru’s” and 2006 Riserva. These wines will not arrive till mid to late May. The Cru’s and Riserva are very limited, and chances are if you don’t order from this pre-arrival you won’t have the opportunity to purchase them later in the year. I’ve also worked closely with the local distributor and importer to offer pretty amazing prices on these Cru Baroli, even more of a reason to buy now.
To those that collect and cellar wine, and love the greatest wines of Barolo, you ought not to miss these.
2008 Massolino Barolo
You won’t find many other Baroli of this quality for this price. The best part is, it is a really open-knit Barolo that is drinkable from day one!
Massolino selects their younger vine fruit for this wine, from 10 to 40 years-old. All the fruit comes from Serralunga d’Alba. It is fermented in stainless steel, and aged in large old barrel for 2 and a half years before resting in bottle for an additional year. 38,000 bottles were produced.
$53.99 BTL. / $647.88 CASE
2008 Massolino Barolo ‘Parussi’
The second release of this fantastic vineyard in the commune of Castiglione Falletto. It is a vineyard known for producing Barolo with great tannic structure.
Fermented in stainless steel, it rests a little over two years in large old oak barrels, then a year in bottle before being released. Around 5,00 bottles were produced.
$72.99 BTL. / $875.88 CASE
2008 Massolino Barolo ‘Margheria’
A superb vineyard site, known for its chalk and shale soil, with a small percentage of sand. It is this sandy soil that gives it its more feminine, red fruit character. A very Burgundian offering from Massolino.
Fermented in stainless steel with two and a half years in old oak barrels and a year in bottle before release. Ultimately this wine benefits with a little bottle age, and it will really sing from 2016-2024+. 5500 bottles were produced.
$72.99 BTL. / $875.88 CASE
2008 Massolino Barolo ‘Parafada’
Aside from the Vigna Rionda, the Parafada vineyard produces some of Massolino’s longest living Baroli. Massolino owns a fantastic parcel planted with 60 year-old vines on a compacted chalk and shale soil.
Fermented in stainless steel, the power of the fruit melds well to the two year aging in a combination of Allier French oak barrique and large botte, then a year resting in bottle. This is one I insist that you age, and drink from 2016-2030. Only 4500 bottles produced.
$72.99 BOTTLE/ $875.88 CASE
2006 Massolino Barolo Riserva ‘Vigna Rionda’
There is no doubt that Vigna Rionda is one of the greatest vineyard sites in all of Barolo. I had the opportunity to walk the vineyard, touch the soil and of course eat cherries from the cherry tree.
A Barolo producer will produce a Riserva only in the best vintages. Because the wine is to be aged in barrel for a longer period of time than the other wines, the producer will choose a vineyard which offers the structure to hold it through the years. For the Massolino family that vineyard is Vigna Rionda.
They ferment the wine for a month in temperature-controlled cement, then age it for 3 ½ years in large oak barrels, before resting for two years in bottle. While the wine has already been aged for a longer period for you, it does need to be decanted if drunk now, and ultimately will sing from 2018-2035+. 8400 bottles produced.
Truly one of the most stunning young Barolo I have tried. If you have a cellar, and you don’t have at least six bottles of this for the future, you are missing out!
$105.99 BTL. / $1271.88 CASE