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02.19.2005

2000 Massolino Barolo, Serralunga D' Alba (Piemonte), Italy

One of the first pieces of news that I related here at Vinography was the announcement by the Wine Spectator that they were rating the 2000 vintage in Piemonte, Italy a perfect 100 points.

As I've done my wine shopping over the last year, I've selectively grabbed some 2000 vintage wines and stuck them downstairs to pull out as occasion warrants and try them out. Tonight was just such an occasion. Most of these are not the $150 bottles that one should lay down for a decade, they're more in the $20 to $50 range and are probably best drunk now and over the next couple of years. A couple of friends came over and I thought I ought to pull one out and see what it was doing.

The first one that surfaced out of the jumble of my cellar was this wine from Massolino, a family run outfit in the town of Serralunga D' Alba, one of the five principal villages where Barolo is produced in this far northwestern corner of Italy. Winemaking runs in the blood of the Massolino family, as they The Massolino family has been making wine since 1896, and currently three generations are involved in the day to day winemaking activities.

The oldest generation continues to oversee the work of the two sons, Giovanni and Renato, who split responsibilities for the vineyards and the cellar management, while Giovanni's son, Franco, is the winemaker.

The family owns and works approximately 35 acres of prime Barolo vineyards, and was one of the first families in the area to focus on treating each section of their vineyards separately -- harvesting, crushing, fermenting, and barreling each according to its individual character and needs.

In addition to this wine, which is their "entry level" Barolo made from a blend of grapes from different vineyards, Massolino produces three single vineyard designate wines: Cru Vigna Rionda, Cru Vigna Margheria and Cru Vigna Parafada, all of which are significantly more expensive and more age worthy.

This wine was aged according to the regulations -- two years in oak barrels (I'm guessing French due to some of the aromatics below) and then another year in the bottle before release.

If you're interested in learning more about Barolo I can recommend this excellent piece by The Wine News.

Tasting Notes:
A medium garnet color in the glass this wine has a heady, high-toned nose of bright cherries and vanilla oak aromas with a hint of anise. In the mouth it is bright, with good acidity and primary flavors of cherry and pomegranate suffused with light tannins. The wine finishes strong and long, very long, tapering off into a sweet note that undoubtedly has again to do with the oak. This is a pretty, refined wine that is pleasant to drink, but is missing the real depth and complexity you want to get from a Barolo.

Food Pairing:
Despite my comments above, this is a wine that can pair well with hearty dishes, and like many Italian wines, has enough tannins and acidity to match against tomato based sauces. Try it with Castellane pasta with sausages, peppers, cherry tomatoes, and marjoram.

Overall Score: 9

How Much?: $29

This wine is readily available on the Internet.

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