“International Wine Cellar” N° 93 – November/December 2000 Stephen Tanzer.
MAURO MASCARELLO, MONCHIERO
Following my tasting of current and upcoming releases with the Mascarello family, Mauro Mascarello staged a vertical tasting of his great Barolo Monprivato, covering all of the great vintages back to 1970; I’ll publish the results of this impressive vertical in an upcoming issue. Among Mascarello’s current wines, I was especially taken with the quality of his new Cà d’Morissio bottling, from Monprivato vines replanted in 1988 with a selected clone of michét. Thanks to the very low crop levels, I would never have guessed that the recent vintages of this wine (it has been made in ’93, ’95, ’96 and ’97) were from young vines. Interestingly, Mascarello prefers ’97 and ’96 for nebbiolo; he feels that ’98 and ’99, perhaps due to the larger crop levels, were less powerful and dense and therefore more successful for barbera and dolcetto. (Ex-Cellars Wine Agencies, Solvang, CA)
1998 Barolo Villero : Moderately saturated reddish-orange. Perfumed aromas of redcurrant, orange peel and wood spice; a bit diffuse. Nicely perfumed in the mouth thanks to juicy acidity, but a wine of limited body and flavor intensity. Tannins are not harsh but come across as a bit dry, as there appears to be modest buffering middle palate material. 86-88.
1998 Barolo Bricco : Red-orange color. Autumnal aromas of roasted plum, cherry, loam, leather and spice. A bit fruitier and more intensely flavored than the ’98 Villero, but does it have enough middle to support its big, chewy tannins? 87-89.
1998 Barolo Santo Stefano di Perno (from iron-rich red soil): Full medium red. Aromatic nose of cherry, raspberry, minerals, tar and mint; distinctly cooler than the Villero and Bricco. Then dense, fat and backward in the mouth, but with the sweetness of the ’98 vintage. A rather masculine style of Barolo, but because the tannins spread out nicely on the back end, there’s little evidence of dryness. 89-92.
1998 Barolo Monprivato : Medium amber-edged red. Aromas of rd cherry and flowers, complicated by exotic peach and quince notes. At once penetrating and chewy; comes across as less thoroughly ripe than the Santo Stefano, but offers very good balance and purity of flavor. Here the chewy tannins are a bit less thoroughly buffered by mid-palate material. This very backward wine will need patience. 89-91
1997 Barolo Villero : Good full red. Flamboyantly ripe aroma of dried flowers, roasted plum, leather and milk chocolate. Concentrated and sweet, with insinuating acidity framing and extending the flavors. Finishes with sneaky length; the big but even tannins turned slightly dry with aeration. 89-92.
1997 Barolo Bricco: Good medium red, with a trace of amber at the rim. Reticent nose hints at currant, cherry, prune, leather and mint. Less sweet and delineated in the mouth than the Villero; comes across as less thoroughly ripe and textured, with more spice and herbal character. Finishes with somewhat astringent tannins. 88-90.
1997 Barolo Santo Stefano di Perno : Good medium red. Complex, subtle aromas of sour cherry, faded rose, mint, chocolate and clove. Densely packed but rather folded in on itself today; still, this wine offers compelling vinosity for the vintage, and a long, subtle finish that avoids tannic dryness. Here’s one ’97 that will require at least a few years of bottle aging. 90-93.
1997 Barolo Monprivato : Good saturated full red. Jammy, liqueur-like nose offers a red berry and floral perfume. Very concentrated, dense and silky, with penetrating, deep fruit that really builds on the back half. Already offers compelling inner-mouth perfume. Finishes very long, with big, tongue-dusting tannins. This big boy rather gracefully carries its 14.8% alcohol. 92-94.
1997 Barolo Monprivato Cà d’Morissio :Very good full red. Deeply pitched, highly aromatic nose combines raspberry, truffle and tar, along with hints of meat, leather, marzipan and milk chocolate. Huge volume and thickness in the mouth, and an utterly seamless texture of liquid silk. Explosive red fruit and chocolatey flavors. This has a completely different texture from Mascarello’s other ’97s, and finishes with thoroughly buffered, lush tannins and superb sweetness and length. The yield was just 20 hectoliters per hectare, according to Mascarello. Wow! 93-96.
1996 Barolo Villero ($35): Good full red. Subtle aromas of currant, cherry, celery seed, dried flowers, mint and spice. Dense but backward, with the wine’s strong acidity currently suppressing its flesh. Almost painful to taste today, and in need of considerable aging. Finishes with big, chewy, ripe tannins.
1996 Barolo Bricco ($35): Good full red. Quintessential Barolo aromas of cherry syrup, camphor, loam, leather and mint. Comes across as less ripe than the Villero, but quite concentrated and powerful. With its tougher, slightly drier tannins, this is very much a classic, more austere style of Barolo. 89(+?).
1996 Barolo Santo Stefano Perno ($35): Full medium red. Redcurrant, plum and mint aromas complicated by a note of clove. Quite backward and dominated by its strong acidity, but dense and concentrated. Shows a strong minerally quality. Finishes with big, chewy, toothcoating tannins and a youthful hardness. 89(+?).
1996 Barolo Monprivato ($60): Medium-deep red, with a soupçon of amber. Expressive aromas of roasted strawberry, dried rose and brown spices. Quite silky for a ’96, but also possesses superb grip and thrust thanks to strong but ripe acids. In fact, this powerfully constituted wine will probably need a good dozen years of bottle aging. The tannins coat the teeth, gums and cheeks. 92+.
1996 Barolo Monprivato Cà d’Morissio (still in tonneau): Full deep red. Deeply aromatic nose combines plum, chocolate and menthol. Dense, chewy and powerful, but strong acids currently restrain the wine’s underlying sweetness. Already perfumed in the mouth, but this wine’s powerful structure will require extended aging. Finishes with strong tannins and sneaky persistence. 93-94.
1995 Barolo Monprivato ($60): Medium reddish-orange color. Flamboyant aromas of red berries, tar, leather and marzipan. Sweet and silky in the mouth; not as dense as ’96 or ’97 but offers lovely fruit and balance. Finishes with big but lush tannins. 92(+?).
1995 Barolo Monprivato Cà d’Morissio : Very good full deep red, darker than the “regular” Monprivato. Penetrating but less expressive aromas of wild plum, red berries and marzipan. Fatter, sweeter and thicker than the Monprivato, with more volume. But comes across today as less shapely and elegant. The ripe but more obvious tannins really spread out to coat the palate. 92+.
1993 Barolo Cà d’Morissio ($75): Medium red with faint amber at the rim. Ripe aromas of spice cake, marzipan and loamy earth. Sweet, lush and spicy in the mouth; red berry flavors enlivened by a minty edge. Nicely buffered tannins. A superb ’93, and quite a performance considering these vines were just five years old. 91.