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Barolo Massolino 2017
Barolo is becoming as desirable as top Burgundy and Bordeaux – it’s rare, it’s red and it’s really hard to drink when it’s young. So collectors like it as they can put it away and treat it as an investment, which I think is a shame, because it should be enjoyed. Admittedly a few years after it was made – the Nebbiolo grape from which Barolo is made is a thick skinned, tiny berried little chap, who takes an incredibly long time to ripen – it’s pretty much the last thing to be harvested in Piedmont. Because it is still ripening in September it has to be planted on south facing slopes so that it can catch enough sunlight (as the sun is lower in the sky), and both in Barolo and Barbaresco its near neighbour, there are natural amphitheatres of vineyards which provide just the right aspect and incline. We’ve seen these for ourselves on our various tours to Piedmont, and back in 2006 we actually visited Massolino whose family have been making wine since 1896. It was a brilliant visit, though our attention was somewhat affected by the consumption of an 11 course lunch (with lovely wine of course).
Curiously these thick skinned black grapes make very pale wine, which belies the intensity of fruit, the big tannins and as the wine opens out over time (Barolos aren’t released until nearly 4 years after harvest, and will have spent at least 18 months in oak – Massolino actually keeps their wines in large oak ‘bottes’ for 30 months, so they are more evolved and approachable), their amazing tar and roses aromas. This is elegance, power, delicacy and intrigue in a bottle.
This Barolo was one of the stars of my Northern Italian wine video tasting I instructed people who were tasting with me to decant the wine at least 8 hours before they tasted it. No fancy decanter required, a simple jug would do – the objective of decanting is to expose the wine to the air so that it evolves more quickly than it would in the bottle. With a wine as dense and complex as a Barolo this is essential. I proposed a food match with a wild boar ragù recipe, and my cheese pairing was with one of my favourites: Pecorino di Fossa, which I like to describe as ditch-aged, though it’s actually matured in straw lined pits for at least 90 days in Emilia Romagna.
Also available in half bottle.
Italy – North
|Food matching suggestions||
|Cheese Matching Suggestions||
Low moisture hard cheeses eg Parmigiano, Pecorino, Manchego