The Project “Ca’ d’Morissio”
As the area of the vineyard marked “1N”, intended for the “Cà d’MORISSIO” selection at five years of age in its third year of production, began in advance in the 1992 vintage to offer grapes of good quality, I took the drastic decision to pass on to the second phase in the MONPRIVATO vineyard improvement plan, and in November I eradicated the part of the vineyard marked “2N”, of a surface area of 1.53.70 Ha.
This was not carried out due to the “old age”, unproductiveness or any disease of the vines, as they could have continued to produce grapes for at least another ten years; it was purely in order to replace the Rosé with the Michét clone.
In the spring of 1993 I began to select the best of the Michét vines planted on site “1N” in 1988. The selection took three years, until the winter of 1995, when I collected the buds of the vines that had given the best ongoing results over the entire period of three years and in all the vegetative phases of shooting, flowering, setting, veraison and ripening, grafting them onto not very vigorous or productive rootstock which had almost been forgotten, and planting them in a nursery for reproduction, just as I had done in the first step of the MONPRIVATO vineyard improvement project for site “1N”.
Site “2N”, from which the Rosé had been eradicated, was then subject itself to the same work carried out previously on the other site:
- breaking up and moving of large masses of earth in order to extract, and bring to the surface from a depth of four meters, the unexploited, virgin soil that still had a very high content of the natural macro and micro-elements – limestone, boron, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, etc. – which are essential to the vine for high quality production;
- constructing of drains to convey any underground water and keep the soil free of erosion.
It was then left completely uncultivated for four years, with the mechanical and manual work required to preserve it from weeds carried out annually, and airing of the virgin soil to help it mature. Not until the spring of 1996 were the Michét of which I had begun the selection in 1993 finally planted on site “2N”. On this occasion too, stones appeared during the digging from a depth of four meters with the imprints of seaweed fossils, the largest of which – along with some shells – is displayed in our cellars in Monchiero.
During the 1993 vintage the Nebbiolo grapes produced by the Michét clone on site “1N” – six years of age and in its third year of production – were looking very good, and were sound and ripe, with encouraging analytical data. Vinified separately following the usual traditional method with 28 days of maceration, on racking they produced a lovely ruby red-colored Barolo with excellent structure and complexity, and a remarkable supply of tannins, immediately identifiable as a Barolo destined for long development and lasting stability, even though the grapes had been grown on a very young vineyard.
After three years of maturing in Slavonian oak casks holding 27 hectoliters (this is the quantity obtained from one hectare of the “1N” site), three quarters of the wine went into the making of the Barolo MONPRIVATO 1993, while the remaining quarter – six hectoliters – continued to mature in used casks of Slavonian oak of medium capacity.
In August 1999 this Barolo, which by then had been patiently “refined” for six years, was bottled as Barolo MONPRIVATO “Cà d’Morissio” Riserva 1993.
The result was a lovely, bright, deep ruby-colored Barolo, with an outstanding bouquet, considerable tannins supported by good extracts, complexity and intensity on the nose and in the mouth, and a long, lingering aftertaste. As of today – February 2001 – the Barolo MONPRIVATO “Cà d’Morissio” Riserva selection vintages waiting to follow on from the 1993 are the 1995, 1996 and 1997.
“Cà d’Morissio” is a selection which was begun in the early 1980’s using an old clone of the Michét subvariety of Nebbiolo which was already present in the MONPRIVATO vineyard, having been derived itself from a previous selection carried out by my father Giuseppe at the end of the ’50s on a Michét clone planted by my grandfather Maurizio in the early twenties. A clone of Michét with more than half a century of acclimatisation to the particular terroir and microclimate of the MONPRIVATO vineyard.
I dedicate this Barolo to my grandfather Maurizio (“Morissio” in the local Piedmontese dialect), who was the first to sense the outstanding wine-making properties of the MONPRIVATO vineyard. He acquired a part of the vineyard, beginning the production as early as 1904, and had the inspiration to plant this clone of Michét. To distinguish this selection of Barolo MONPRIVATO, I have used the name of the farm, “Cascina Mascarello” in the Commune of Castiglione Falletto, as it appears in the Piedmontese dialect on Sheet IV of the Land Registry Map, Parcel 99: “Cà d’Morissio”, as it is traditionally referred to in the village.