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May 19, 2014

Massolino Barolo Serralunga d’Alba 2010

Massolino (1)

Massolino is one of the great and most recognised Barolo producers, with a rich history of supreme winemaking. The winery’s genesis began in 1896 with Giovanni Massolino and today his greatgrandsons continue running the Estate under the guidance of Giuseppe their grandfather and Franco their father. The upshot is that their vineyards boast old vines cultivated boy to man by generations of the same family. Today Giovanni and Renato, the current guardians, share experiences and approaches with their ancestors, synthesising the old with the new; adhering to tradition and experimenting with modern developments.

Since 1994 Franco undertook a subtle transformation, marrying modern variation with tradition, something that sets him apart from the majority of Barolo producers today. Massolino’s Barolos combine a classic style and structure with modern purity of flavour, creating delineated fruit profiles resulting in robust Barolos that age and improve beautifully in bottle. This style is also dictated by the nature of the vineyards sited in Serralunga d’Alba, 320-360 metres above sea level, a village that produces superlative, structured and long-lived Barolos. Here the soils date back to Helvetian era, and have plenty of tightly packed sandstone, which produces a bigger style of wine, with the defining Serralunga flavours of rose petal, tar, earth and mushroom. The wine is fermented and macerated for 15 days at 31-33 ºC, a deep extraction, then aged in large oak casks for 30 months, followed by a year in bottle before release.

The Estate is famed for their four single vineyards: Parafada, Margheria, Riserva Vigna Rionda and Parussi and their exemplary generic Massolino Barolo Serralunga d’Alba. We have chosen to offer the Barolo Serralunga d’Alba in 2010 as it has produced something special for its price point. In great vintages like the 2010, the generic Barolos are often superior to the single vineyards in normal to good vintages and offer great value for money. For example, the average price for a 92 points scoring Massilino from recent single vineyards is £600, while the similar scoring 2010 Parafada and Parussi cost £560. For £320 per case of 12 or £160 for six the 2010 Barolo offers outstanding value from one of Barolos most esteemed winemaking families.

In finishing, we feel obliged to repeat, at the risk of gilding the lilly, that Barolo 2010 will probably be a vintage of a lifetime. The wines will have the ability to age for decades in bottle, yet due to a combination of very healthy grapes at harvest and a new paradigm in Barolo winemaking the 2010s can provide immense pleasure now. 2010 is a collector’s vintage and for £26 in bond, or £34.46 duty and VAT paid, Massolino 2010 will provide immense pleasure when it enters it drinking window in a few years, but will age and improve for a decade or more.

Massolino Barolo 2010, 6×75 – £160 IB or £206.76 duty and VAT
Antoni Galloni, 92 points
The 2010 Barolo is gorgeous. Sage, rosemary, tar, dried rose petals and sweet spices meld together. An impeccable, perfumed Barolo, the 2010 impresses for its balance. Fine, silky tannins support the gracious finish in this medium-bodied, refined Barolo. Readers who want to get a sense of what the 2010 vintage is all about will want to check out this fabulous effort from Massolino. This is decidedly a medium-bodied style for Serralunga, but it works.

James Suckling, 92 points
A wine with lovely balance and finesse, featuring dried-berry and walnut character. Hints of toasted oak. Full body, velvety tannins and a chewy finish. Needs time to reconcile the wood. Try in 2015.

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