Massolino Barbera d’Alba 2018


89 Points, Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate, “The 2018 Barbera d’Alba represents a very successful match between grape and vintage. The 2017 summer season was extremely hot and dry, but Barbera loves heat and sunshine. This is a wine of enormous richness and intensity, both aromatically and in terms of texture. The bouquet offers dark fruit, blackberry preserves, spice and moist chewing tobacco. This is a medium- to full-bodied red with chewy, succulent fruit flavors. Some 45,000 bottles were made.”

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Founded in 1896, Massolino Winery, is based in and around the town of Serralunga, one of the prime sub-zones of the Barolo DOC. Massolino’s vineyards occupy some of the prime “crus” on the slopes of this sub zone. They own 16ha here, which includes the three “cru” vineyards of: Margheria, Parafada and Vigna Rionda. Due to the complex terrain in Serralunga, each of these vineyards has markedly different soil composition, exposure and micro-climate. The Margheria vineyard is one of the most important and famous cru vineyards of Serralunga, purchased by the Massolino’s towards the end of the 1950s. The soil is calcareous with a good percentage of sand, adding elegance, mineral and spicy notes to the wine. Nearby is the Parafada vineyard with marl lime soils, where the wine is characterised by rich berry, leather and vanilla notes. With a similar soil, the vineyard situated in Vigna Rionda is the source of some of the greatest, most structured, robust and long-lived Barolo.

Here is a family that clearly “gets it”. They understand that modern technology is very useful when seeking wines that are clean, pure and not oxidised. And yet they also know that you can take modern techniques too far and lose any sense of place and any refinement in the finished wine. These are wines that walk the tightrope between the old world and the new: pure, precise and vibrant yet distinctly regional. Even in the 2003 vintage the wines show a rare elegance. And they are well priced in comparison with the other top producers of the region.

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