Soil: Barolo commune Vineyards: Clay with some Tufa and varying amounts of Sand. La Morra commune Vineyard: Clay with significant inter-fingerings of Sand
Viticulture: Traditional, conventional. Rows are spaced at 2.5 meters and plants at 90-100 cms. Average age of vines is about 25 years, ranging from 60-70 years old in the San Lorenzo to newly replanted plots in Cannubi. We do not use chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Composted cow manure is used for fertilization and mechanical mowing is used to keep cover plants under control. Sulfur and copper are used during the season to combat oidium and peronospora. Vines are unirrigated (by DOCG laws).
Vinification: The four vineyards’ production is co-fermented in 3-4 large concrete tanks. The tank does not have an internal temperature control system but fermentation temperatures are monitored daily and the must is cooled with a cold-water heat exchanger if it exceeds 31C. We do not keep each vineyard’s grapes separate during the fermentation; they are mixed together as they arrive at the cantina. No single-vineyard “cru” Barolo is made. The fermentation typically occurs from indigenous yeasts, but we will add yeast if necessary. Pump-overs are performed twice a day. Once fermentation is complete (typically 15-18 days), the wine is left to macerate on the skins (submerged cap) for an additional few weeks. The total length of maceration (including the fermentation time) is from 30 to 50 days, and is generally the only variable in the winemaking for the Barolo on a year-to-year basis and is based entirely on the qualitative character of the vintage. The cantina uses a gentle hydraulic basket press.
Aging: The Barolo is stored in large botti (casks) of Slavonian Oak for about 30 months in a natural ageing cellar. The wine is racked once each year, then bottled in late July three years after the vintage. Malolactic fermentation is not forced and occurs in the botti. The botti range from 25 to 50 hectoliters and average 10-12 years of age. The bottles are held for an additional year until the following September when the wine is released in the fourth year after the vintage.
he bottle, which I purchased at the estate recently, is remarkable itself. At Mascarello the 1.9 liter format was used prior to 1980. The bottle is covered by a layer of dust. There is no label per se, just the numbers “71” written on the bottle in chalk. An index card with the estate's information is tied and secured to the bottle with a wax seal. The cork is also covered with wax. Following Mascarello's suggestion, the wine was stored upright for several weeks prior to opening. The wine was decanted immediately prior to serving. Needless to say it was a real treat to drink a perfectly stored example of a great wine from a great vintage.
Medium ruby color with slight orangeish tones at the rim. The wine is somewhat cloudy. At first it shows overpowering aromas of barnyard. Fortunately that blows off with air and the wine opens nicely, with plenty of mature flavors of dried fruits, balsam, animal, leather and cedar. The finish is very long and persistent and the wine is exquisite with food. Tasted the next day the wine was more even complex and expansive on the palate. This Barolo has definitely reached maturity although it seems to have enough structure to keep for a few more years. The wines of Bartolo Mascarello represent the bastion of traditional winemaking in Barolo. (from 1.9 liter bottiglione)