The first time I tasted Massolino’s wines was amongst 10 Baroli from the 2004 vintage devoured in 2015. As it turned out half were good, half, not so good! The Massolino’s sat firmly in the good half. The standard Barolo was a stunner. The Massolino Dieci Anni (10 years) Vigna Rionda Riserva was a revelation. Only released in the best years it was superb. Balanced, complex, so inviting.

From that point on I’ve been following Massolino.

About Massolino

Founded in 1896, Massolino Winery, is based in and around the town of Serralunga, one of the prime sub-zones of the Barolo DOC.

The Massolino family’s greatest asset is of course their 23 hectares of (mostly) Serralunga vineyards, including choice parcels of such famous sites as; Margheria, Parafada and the legendary Vigna Rionda. We say ‘mostly’ as the Massolino clan recently purchased a slice of the Parussi cru in Castiglione Falletto. Serrralunga, on the eastern edge of the Barolo DOCG, produces some of most profound and long lived Barolo. It is the home of great names such as Giacomo Conterno and Bruno Giacosa’s Falletto vineyard. The wines often have an extra stuffing of intense Nebbiolo fruit as well as a remarkable minerality that plays on both the freshness of the tannins and gives the wines a certain ferrous edge when young.

It is fair to say that Massolino holds the most remarkable collection of vineyards in Serralunga, amongst the smaller, quality focused producers anyway. The quality strides at this estate over the last 10-15 years have been remarkable with significant advances made, particularly in the vineyards. Certainly there has also been refinements in the cellars, firstly by Franco Massolino and then by current winemaker Giovanni Angeli (ex Vajra) who has been working with Franco since the 2005 harvest. As always however, it has been the work in the vineyards and the search for expressive and perfectly ripe fruit that has driven the rise in quality at this estate. The resultant improvement here has been very good news for both the commune and Barolo in general. Today the wines of Massolino sit comfortably among the finest of the region – they are wines of wonderful purity and elegance. They are exclusively aged in large casks, so they are ‘traditional’ and yet they offer the best of the “old” and “new” worlds: pure, aromatic, textural, deeply flavoured wines that are at the same time precise, vibrant and distinctly regional. These are wines that score extremely highly on our deliciousness scale. Equally important, these wines are remarkably well priced when compared to the other top producers of the area.

About the 2013 Massolino Vintage

Giovanni considers 2013 a classical vintage similar to those both the 1990’s. Cooler vintage than 2015. Long slow maturation. A short winter resulted in earlier bud-burst, a long slow maturation, cooler temperatures offering more rustic tannins. Nebbiolo finished picking on the 5th of November 2-3 weeks after normal. The rustic tannins demanded additional oak maturation.

“Brothers Franco and Roberto Massolino turned out a gorgeous set of 2015 Barolos. The Massolinos gave the 2015s about 21 days on the skins. Both primary and secondary fermentation were done in cement, and the wines were aged in cask. More than those details, though, these Barolos stand out because they are very expressive to site, something that was not easy to achieve in 2015.” Antonio Galloni, vinous.com

About the 2015 Massolino Vintage

Giovanni sums up the wines as being vibrant, with bright acidity, balance, complexity, power, with finesse of fruit and tannins.

“Brothers Franco and Roberto Massolino turned out a gorgeous set of 2015 Barolos. The Massolinos gave the 2015s about 21 days on the skins. Both primary and secondary fermentation were done in cement, and the wines were aged in cask. More than those details, though, these Barolos stand out because they are very expressive to site, something that was not easy to achieve in 2015.” Antonio Galloni, vinous.com

🎧 Listen as Giovanni introduces the Wines and Vineyards

2017 Langhe Nebbiolo & 2015 Barolo DOCG


Langhe Nebbiolo is a combination of younger vines where root penetration is less deep and they have less access to water and microelements that are important for the quality of fruit. DOCG fruit that hasn’t reached appropriate quality to move into DOCG. Soils for the vineyards supplying these wine are good for water retention for vine growth and acid retention for wine balance. Langhe Nebbiolo sees 1 year in large casks up to 10,000L. Large cask size helps the wines retain freshness and does not impart any oak character. Classic Barolo, warm dry summer, with good water availability from the good winter snow providing water reserves. Early picking 29 September, normally, mid-October. They had phenolic ripeness, good sugar and fruit.

Using shorter maceration to retain finesse and balance. Gentler handling of the fruit. Have introduced oak fermenters for fermentation, providing micro-oxygenation to stabilise tannins. We have explored this in the Wine Decoded Bathtub Wineamaking Project.

2015 Cru’s Magheria, Parafada and Parussi


In the Vineyards

Detailed viticulture has become much more the norm over the last few decades. The efforts in the vineyards making them more sustainable with chemical usage dropping. In response to a warming climate many practices are employed to help water retention in the soils and additional of natural nutrients. Mustard cover crops with deep root penetration help oxygen and water make its way into the subsoil. Pea add nitrogen. Candling or wrapping of the excess shoot growth instead of mechanical trimming, giving the vines a hair cut, helps with water and acid retention. In turn the acid retention helps keep fruit flavours fresh. Combined this making wines that are much more approachable in their youth yet still have great ageing potential.

Overall seeking a more balanced vineyard to give more balanced wine.

Margheria – Serralunga. Atypical Serralunga soil. Less clay, a little more sand. Makes for a wine that is much more expressive and approachable even at release. Giovanni suggests it is more similar to the wines of western Barolo with softer tannins.

Parafada – Serralunga. Soil with lots of clay and more compact soil. Typically shows much of tannin and masculinity. More typical of Serralunga. Giovanni feels the vines have really found a balance over the last few years and the resulting wines are good drinking even in the first few years.

Parussi – Castiglione Falleto. From the north side. Lighter soil with less clay and more limestone, silt and sand. Tannins are raw and rustic in the beginning and take more time for the tannins to become as elegant as the tannins of Serralunga.

2013 Vigna Rionda


Incredible variation in aspect over short distances across Serralunga. This results in the possibility for diversity of styles across the region. Vigna Rionda is one of the special sites, very complex soils, Giovanni considers 2013 a classical vintage similar to those both the 1990’s. Cooler vintage than 2015. Long slow maturation. A short winter resulted in earlier bud-burst, a long slow maturation, cooler temperatures offering more rustic tannins. Nebbiolo finished picking on the 5th of November 2-3 weeks after normal. The rustic tannins demanded additional oak maturation. Extending from the typical 3½ years to 5 years in oak to achieve balance and integration between acidity and tannins. 2013 will overall requires a little more time.

2006 short and dry with little water available. Vines were stressed for a few days. Wine is very concentrated, powerful and rich. Typical of a vintage when vines are stressed. In these circumstance, vines produce polyphenols to rippen seeds to reproduce and survive. 2006 Barolo are very rich in polyphenols (tannins). Normally 3-3.5 grams per liter polyphenols in 2006 levels reached 6g/L.

2001 perfect weather conditions, good water reserves, no temperature peaks. Picked by 15 October. Very complete wines, good power, great acidity, fresh and vibrant with fine and elegant tannins.

Wine Decoded’s Chief Wine Hacker – Paul Kaan’s Thoughts on the 2015’s

The 2015’s area great set of wines. The quality in the DOCG Barolo or Normale alone is exceptional. The 3 Cru’s are stunners. 3 unique personalities. All with great complexity and layering. The wines are elegant, sophisticated, with entrancing perfumes and the tannin profiles of each are individual. The vibrancy and energy of the wines with their trademark line and length of acid shines through. They are all of exceptionally high quality, layered and just divine. Giovanni raises such well rounded harmonious wines. Almost Burgundian in nature.

Barolo DOCG Tasting this yesterday, my first thoughts were this was the best DOCG I’d had from Massolino. Thoughts echoed shortly after by winemaker Giovanni Agnelli. The wine has a lovely line and length. Great purity, initially it seemed tightly coiled, opened quickly to reveal an enticing perfume, generosity of fruit, layering and savouriness. Add to that a little liquorice and tar. The wine has great harmony, depth and length. Just delicious.

Margheria – Serralunga d’Alba. A beautiful expression of Nebbiolo. Precise, you see a jump in depth, length and layering for the Barolo DOCG. The signature texture of this and all the Baroli is beautiful, natural, layered grape tannins. In the case of Margheria they are incredibly supple. The core of fruit is exceptional with ripe, mid to dark sour cherries. It almost feels a little bit more like something from the Commune di Barolo. It draws you into the glass, one of those wines that sees your heart flutter a little on smelling it.

Parafada – Serralunga d’Alba. These are Massolino’s oldest vines. The wine is much tighter than the expressive Margheria at the moment. The tannins bolder and firmer, and, of incredible quality and depth. Again the core of fruit is exceptional with great depth and length. In a straight jacket at the moment, it is just waiting to explode! And, undoubtedly will.

Parussi – Castiglione Falletto. Excellent energy in the Parussi, great to see it back in the line up after a hiatus in 2014. Immediately more open than the Parafada. Powerful and bold, yet sophisticated at the same time. Again great depth and length. Exceptional core of fruit. Those tarry characters and line and length of acid showing again.

2013 Vigna Rionda Riserva What a difference a couple of years makes. The 2013 Vigna Rionda saw 5 years in Botti compared to the normal 3 ½ followed by time in bottle. Loads of intrigue. Expressive perfume. A little lift. It has such a powerful persistent core of fruit. The 2013 reveals slightly more rustic, edgy tannins. They’re playful, and, I like them! The layering the wine lifts another notch compared to the ‘standard’ Cru’s. We also tasted the 2006 and 2001 Dieci Anni releases. 2006 showing a bold, dark and brooding, moving into that third phase of development with loads of truffly secondaries. The 2001 perhaps at it’s peak, quite developed, elegant, delicate, and fun. Loads of complexity, leather, still a lovely core of fruit and fine acid. The fruit building on the plate after swallowing!

If you’ve got any questions, drop us a line in the comments and we'll get back to you.

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