“The Fine Wine Review ” n° 107 2005 by Claude Kolm
Followers know that one of the great names across several decades has been Giuseppe Mascarello e Figlio. It was my great delight and privilege to attend a tasting at Mauro Mascarello’s cellar in Monchiero this past May of wines back to 1970. The estates dates to 1881. In 1904, Giuseppe’s son bought a farm at Monprivato in Castiglione Falletto. In 1918, the son moved the cellars to the present location at Monchiero in an 18th century building formerly used to store ice. Being underground and by the Rea River, it is naturally cooled and remains at a costant temperature year-round. In addition to the Monprivato vineyard in Castioglione, the estate makes wines from other prima vineyards such as Bussia, and Villero, and relatively recently acquired vineyards in Santo Stefano in Monforte, with blending taking place only in relatively lesser vintages such as 1991, 1992, and 1994… Vinification here is very traditional, with up to 25 days of maceration with fermentation in cement. Large (up to 100 hl) barrels of Slavonian oak that date to 1956 are used for aging. The wines have been vinified and aged by vineyard since 1970.
The 2001 Nebbiolo Langhe was aromatic with a touch of herbs in the nose. In the mouth, the wine was very young, deep and pure but ideally needs 8-10 years. (86+/B+)
The 2000 Barolo “Villero” showed white peppers, herbs, and pomegranate with lovely finesse and fine length. This is a wine that can be drunk fairly young. (91+/A-)
The 1999 Barolo “Villero” displayed elegant, deep, pure raspberry fruit with finesse, depth, and intensity on the palate but despite the complexity already displayed, this is still a very young wine. (93/A)
The 1998 Barolo “Villero”showed soy and porcini in the nose, and was pure, but less expressive on this day than the 1999 on the palate with great calm, depth, firmness, and smoothness. (93/A)
Next we move to the 2000 Barolo “Santo Stefano di Perno” which showed wild strawberries in the nose, and was salty and mineral in the mouth with dark fruits and still tannic. This wine is years away from maturity. (91+/A-).
The 1999 Barolo “Santo Stefano di Perno” similarly displayed a very pure nose of wild strawberries with some quince and vanilla, followed by strong strawberries with some quince and vanilla, followed by strong strawberry flavors with plenty of power and clarity. A great success! (94+/A).
On to the greatest holding, the monopole Monprivato vineyard in Castiglione Falletto. The2000 Barolo “Monprivato” is less powerful in the nose than the Santo Stefano, but the strawberry fruit is riper and less delicate. In the mouth, the wine shows fabulous depth, great calm, and fine lenght. This is still an extremely young wine. (94+/A)
The 1999 Barolo “Monprivato” is more closed but with depth, lenght, and a great finish. Just wait. (95/)
The 1998 Barolo “Monprivato” is more complex and darker in fruit than the 1999 with purity, elegance and density. (95/A)
In exceptional years, Mascarello makes a special selection of Monprivato, a Riserva Cà d’Morisso, representing about 20% of the total production of Monprivato here. The 1997 Barolo “Monpriva – Cà d’Morisso” is balsamic in the nose and mouth with length on the palate. And some elegance. As is the case with 1997s, it lacks freshness, but for vintage is extremely fine. (90/B+)
Moving back in time, the 1985 Barolo “Monprivato” displays violets and hint of black truffle plus a touch of iodide in the nose. In the mouth, the wine is full with violet flavors, power, and relative rusticity (we’re dealing with a wine made 20 years ago). Lovely as this wine is, it still is not a its peak and wil continue to improve. (94/A)
Taking a much more difficult vintage, the 1984 Barolo “Monprivato” shows some iodide and animal aromas, followed by violets and firmless in the mouth. The wine is less generous and long on the palate than the 1985, but is fine and surprisingly fresh. (90/B+)
The 1979 Barolo “Monprivato” showed ripe and round in the palate with orange zest and blackberry fruit. In the mouth, the wine was powerful but also with some elegance supporting its blackberry and violet aromas and flovors. This wine can still take many years of aging, although it is quite delicious already. (92/A)
Last, the 1970 Barolo “Monprivato” is a wine that was made without sulfur (as was the case here untill 1977). It shows iodide in the nose, and is ripe on the palate with violets flavors, showing the hotness of the year, somewhat like some 1970 Bordeaux. (92/A)