100% Nebbiolo. These wines are most certainly worth the search, and are “must haves” in the cellar of any Piedmont lover.
The Cantina Bartolo Mascarello is one of the legendary and historic producers of the Barolo appellation. The winery has stood as a beacon of staunch Barolo traditionalism since its official inception in 1918. Wines up until 1980 were labeled 'Cantina Mascarello'. Since 1982, the wines have been labeled with the name 'Bartolo Mascarello.'
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."
Critic Tasting Note: "This is a superbly delicate and carefully finessed wine that interprets the growing season with its alternating cold and hot intervals in an impeccable manner. The Bartolo Mascarello 2018 Barolo puts Nebbiolo and the vintage seamlessly together like lock and key. It opens to a beautiful drinking experience. The bouquet shows detail and finely tuned aromas of redcurrant, violet, rusty nail and blood orange. On the palate, this Barolo is so shiny and polished that it feels like silk. Without a doubt, this is one of the top wines of 2018 (ML)" - 97 pts, Wine Advocate (1/2020)