Perman Wine Selections Friday Feature – 10/7/11

Hello and Happy Friday!
Italy’s famed appellation of Barolo enjoyed its second outstanding harvest in a row with the 2007 vintage.

It is my job to offer you the best of the ’07’s from producers that in many cases I have taken the time to visit and taste first.

Over the last couple years I have introduced many of my customers to the wines of Massolino, a producer based in the village of Serralunga d’Alba. With their limited production, and devoted fans, these are wines that rarely hit the retail shelves as they are often sold out before ever seeing daylight.

Today, I am offering you an opportunity to purchase some of the fabulous ’07 Massolino Baroli. This is a pre-arrival offering, with the wines suppose to arrive in mid to late November. Also included in this offering is the spectacular 2005 “Vigna Rionda Reserva,” a wine from one of Piedmont’s greatest sites, and certainly one of the best 2005 Baroli made that vintage.
If you are a fan of the greatest wines of Barolo or just a devoted Italian wine aficionado, then you won’t want to miss these!

Have a great weekend,
Craig

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MASSOLINO – VIGNA RIONDA
Massolino is a 4th generation estate located in the famed village of Serralunga d’Alba. Some of Barolo’s most famous single vineyards come from Serralunga including: Vigna Rionda, Parafada, Lazzarito, Margheria, Gabutti, Baudana, Cerretta, and Prapò.

The most important element to the greatness of any Barolo estate is the vineyards that they own. Massolino owns 20 hectares in the majority of the best vineyards, and all, but one, located in the commune of Serralunga d’Alba. From this land they only produce about 100,000 bottles of wine a year, 60% of which is Barolo.

Aside from the incredible vineyard sites, one of the things that struck me the most when I visited with Franco Massolino a couple years ago is the fact that the family will change their vineyard management and cellar techniques based on the vintage. This is not always true in the Langhe, with some sticking to a regimen. After visiting the vineyards, seeing the winery and tasting through some different vintages it was apparent that the Massolino family and their team are like great chefs whom have the utmost respect for the ingredient. They don’t manipulate that ingredient, rather they work to bring out what is special about that ingredient in that particular moment.

The 2007 Baroli from Massolino are a truly spectacular follow up to the also great 2006 vintage. I am pleased to offer a brand new single vineyard wine from Massolino, their first ever release from the Parussi vineyard in the commune of Castiglione Falletto. This is a great addition to the line-up. Please take a moment to look through this offering. These all can be counted among the greatest red wines of Italy.

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2007 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.

“The 2007 Barolo is a gorgeous wine. An expressive, open-knit bouquet leads to ripe red fruit in a soft, mid-weight Barolo. This is a relatively feminine, approachable Barolo from Serralunga that should drink nicely right out of the gate. It is an excellent restaurant wine, but I don’t exclude the possibility of it surprising on the upside in a few years’ time. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2019. 89+ Points, Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate.”
$51.99 BTL. / $623.88 CASE

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2007 MASSOLINO BAROLO “PARUSSI”
The exciting new release of this fantastic vineyard in the commune of Castiglione Falletto. It is another wine I feel strongly that drinks great from day one with decanting, and of course it will age for a decade too.

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.

“The estate’s 2007 Barolo Parussi is a new wine from a recently acquired parcel in Castiglione Falletto and is the only Massolino Barolo not from Serralunga. A delicate, feminine Barolo, the Parussi flows with silky, perfumed red berries. Silky tannins frame the juicy finish. The Parussi has a lot in common with the fragrant Barolos from Castiglione’s top vineyards, including Monprivato and Rocche. It is a fabulous first effort. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2017. 92 Points, Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate.”
$85.99 BTL. / $1031.88 CASE

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2007 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.

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 2015-2022+. 5500 bottles were produced.

“The 2007 Barolo Margheria is fabulously ripe and explosive in its dark red fruit, leather, licorice and anise. Medium to full in body, the Margheria possesses superb delineation and nuance to match its elegant personality. It turns exuberant again on the finish, where floral, minty notes add lift and freshness. The 2007 Margheria is a wonderfully complete, regal Barolo from Massolino with a bright future ahead of it. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2027. 94 Points, Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate.”
$85.99 BTL. / $1031.88 CASE

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2007 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 2015-2030. Only 4500 bottles produced.

“The 2007 Barolo Parafada is more of a muscular, fruit-driven wine than most of the estate’s other Baroli. There is less in the way of aromatic expressiveness and more of a sense of body and richness on the palate. Layers of deep, muscular fruit flow effortlessly to the round, sensual and totally striking finish. The 2007 is the first Parafada to be aged entirely in cask since the late 1980s, which is finally allowing the vineyard’s qualities to emerge with great clarity. This parcel, with vines that are now more than 60 years old, was purchased by Franco Massolino’s father when he was just 16 years old – not old enough to legally sign the contract, but clearly wise beyond his years! Anticipated maturity: 2017-2027. 93 Points, Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate.”
$85.99 BTL. / $1031.88 CASE

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2005 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. I give the cherries 100 points.

In the world of Barolo, a producer will often make a Riserva, which denotes a longer aging period for the wine. All producers use their top vineyard site for their Riserva. Vigna Rionda is that vineyard for the Massolino’s and its ability to age is what makes it a perfect candidate for a Riserva.

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 2017-2025+. 8400 bottles produced.

One last note – there are many people that choose wine solely on the basis of a vintage being called “the best.” You folks are missing out. The 2005 Vigna Rionda is a spectacular wine, among the best wines of the ’05 vintage, and it would be a shame to miss it.

“The 2005 Barolo Riserva Vigna Rionda is a beautiful, graceful Barolo. It naturally doesn’t have the explosiveness of the 2006 or 2007, but it nevertheless impresses for its finessed fruit, expressive bouquet and well-integrated tannins. This mid-weight Vigna Rionda shows lovely palate presence, nuance and detail. Freshly cut flowers, sweet baking spices and small red fruits linger on the understated finish. It is a great effort in this vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2027. 93 Points, Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate.”
$106.99 BTL. / $1283.88 CASE

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