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. Watch our 1min video reviews for each the 2013’s + Giovani’s vintage report and Cru tours below. I have offered my thoughts on both the 2014 + 2013’s just above the order form.
We are releasing the last of our 2013’s, very limited, with this offer + the 2012 and 2011 Vigna Rionda!
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 2014 Massolino Vintage
We’ll leave it to Giovanni Angeli of Massolino to explain the 2014 Vintage for you.
“Massolino has really been on a roll over the last few vintages. The 2014s are truly impressive wines that further solidify the estate’s place among the elite producers of Barolo. While these wines have been terrific for quite some time, in recent years Massolino has found an added element of finesse and nuance.” Antonio Galloni, vinous.com
Wine Decoded’s Chief Wine Hacker – Paul Kaan’s Thoughts on the 2014’s
There’s no Parussi this year. Like Vietti, Massolino is one of the success stories of the 2014 Barolo Vintage. The wines are elegant, sophisticated, with entrancing perfumes and lovely supple tannins. Giovanni really does raises such well rounded harmonious wines. Almost Burgundian in nature.
Barolo DOCG Beautiful wine. Lovely sophistication, elegance and power, super fine soft tannins, lovely élévage. Floral lift with a core of fruit, great balance just on the acid side of the equation. This has come together nicely.
Margheria Initially brooding it opened in the glass. Stepping up in depth and oppulence. Generous yet taught wine. Soft and supply with a lovely perfume. Long, fine, yet voluptuous. Lovely layering, looking forward to it in a couple of years. Again halmark Massolino sophistication.
Parafada Powerful, with great depth. The tannin structure is slighlty less even, a little edgy. Loads of complexing secondary characters, savour, earthy. Very tight at the moment. Time will reward you.
2012 Vigna Rionda Riserva Just a superb wine. Intoxicating, delicious, rich, oppulent, long, power with restraint. Velvety, plus tannins. Great generosity with a lovely line of acid. Roses, tar, savoury, earthy. Stunning. So very sophisticated. Vibarant. Delicious. Those two extra years for the Riserva make such a difference. I could get lost in this wine!
Below Giovani Angelli takes you on a virtual tour of the Magheria, Parafada and Vigna Rionda sites and explores the wines characteristics in relation to the geography and geology of the vineyards.
About the 2013 Massolino Vintage
Franco Massolino and Giovanni Angeli’s decision to allow the wines to rest an extra six months in barrel (30 months instead of 24) has proven to be a virtuous one. The vintage’s dense tannins have folded perfectly into the wine’s striking, pure fruit and forceful acidity. The result is a set of wine that will flatter in their youth, though are crying out for a good spell in the cellar (especially for the single vineyard cru). Speaking of cellaring, there is no Barolo Riserva Dieci X Anni offered this year – the 2007 was not considered compelling enough for the high standards set by this label. Instead, we focus on the 2011 Riserva Vigna Rionda, a wine that Massolino themselves believe is holding its own against last year’s release, the astonishing 2010.
Wine Decoded’s Chief Wine Hacker – Paul Kaan’s Thoughts on the 2013’s
The Barolo Classico and Cru Barolo’s from Massolino show great depth and length of fruit with the quality of tannin, key to any good Barolo. As you shift from the Langhe to the Barolo Classico DOCG, and then up to the Cru wines from the Margheria, Parafada and Parussi both the intensity of fruit and quality of tannin lifts accordingly. Massolino have managed to tame some very intense wines, in a large part through aging the wines for an extra 6 months in barrel prior to bottling. Each of the Cru’s show unique personality. The 2013 are very tight at the moment, brooding and will definitely blossom with another couple of years in bottle. In comparison with many 2013’s that I’ve tried they have a real harmony and show the hand of a winemaker that knows how to get the fruit to express itself to it’s full potential. All in all the wines are another triumph for Massolino.
Barolo DOCG poised and balanced with long even tannins. Trademark Massolino perfume, complexity and purity.
Margheria with more up front tannins, lovely perfume, delicacy, wrapping an increased intensity of fruit.
Parafada with an aroma of red fruit, bold front and mid-palate tannin and great complexity and layering of flavours. Having tasted the 2012 last week I can see this exactly where this is going.
Parussi an almost inky density of fruit on nose and palate, longer more even tannins, more typical of Castiglione Falleto.
2011 Vigna Rionda Riserva showing just how much difference an extra 2 years prior to release makes. Expressive, generous, elegant refined, with such poise and balance, the intrigue and complexity of the wine entice. It’s a triumph and is a great example of just how good many of the 2011’s from Serralunga were.
*We will only receive a few bottles of the Crus. 1st come 1st served.