Castello di Verduno Barolo Massara 2012
Winemaker: Mario Andrio
Region: Piedmont, Italy
Welcome to the home of Barolo. Castello di Verduno is a historic Piemontese estate that makes classic Barolo and Barbaresco wines of exquisite complexity and depth. Constructed in the early 1500’s by the Cerrato family, the castle sits in the centre of the medieval hilltop village of Verduno. Ownership changed in 1631 when it passed to Carlo Alberto, King of the House of Savoy. It was here in 1838 that Paolo Francesco Staglieno vinified the first Nebbiolo into the dry wine we call now Barolo. The current owners of the estate, the Burlotto family, purchased it in 1909. The estate is now managed by Gabriella Burlotto and her husband Franco Bianco. Theirs are traditional wines that speak of a sense of place. Farming is organic, vineyard work meticulous and only indigenous yeasts are used in the cellar. Barolo Massara 2012 is their signature wine; firmly traditional in style and always stunning, it is made entirely with Nebbiolo grapes from their 1.22-hectare Massara vineyard. This wine is elegant and pure with expressive aromas of rose petal, leather, ripe red fruit and tobacco that leads to elegant, rich and powerful flavours, fine tannins and a long, complex finish. Today we are pleased to offer this wine for the exceptional price of $83. This wine is not easy to find, and when you do it will cost more.
Gabriella Burlotto and her husband Franco farm 10 hectares, split evenly between Verduno and Barbaresco, including great vineyards in Monvigliero and Massara. Work in the vineyards is carried out in the least invasive ways possible and everything is done by hand. And although Gabriella and Franco own the estate, they have a very talented, young winemaker, Mario Andrion. Mario was trained in Italy but also worked in Oregon. He has run the cellar since 2000 and is a strict non-interventionist. In the cellar the wines see little in the way of technical manipulation; traditional methods are used including fermentation with indigenous yeasts, lengthy submerged cap macerations and aging in large Slovanian oak casks. The wines are not fined or filtered, only minimal SO₂ is added and the Barolos and Barbarescos are subjected to extended bottled aging before being released. These wines are traditional in style but never rustic. They are, in fact, the opposite, and are some of the most prized bottlings from the region, retaining poise, elegance and purity.
Because the village of Verduno is located in the northern most commune of Barolo and produces less than 5% of all Barolo and Babaresco wine it has flown under the radar for years. But as the popularity of these wines have soared the superb vineyard sites of Castello di Verduno have become recognized and have taken their place alongside the other great Barolo and Barbaresco producers.
Barolo Massara 2012 was made with 100% Nebbiolo grapes from 26 to 32-year-old vines grown in chalky clay soils at an elevation of 265 meters that face east, south east. It was vinified in wood vats for 35 days then aged in old Slavonian casks for 32 months. The wine was aged an additional 37 months in bottle before release. There are just so many enticing things going on here, it’s a wonder: succulent red cherry, leather, tobacco, cinnamon spicy aromas with rose petal and other floral notes give it a decidedly bright, lifted profile. On the palate it is elegant yet rich and powerful with cherry and spice, white pepper and fine, firm tannins that lead to a finish of great length. Serve at 16˚ in Bordeaux stems if you must, but I prefer Burgundy stems to enhance this wine’s already incredible aromas. This is a wine of great depth and more than enough tannin and overall structure to allow it to age brilliantly until 2030 and beyond. This wine can be enjoyed on its own but goes best with food, like a delicious wild mushroom risotto with red wine! 475 cases produced. 94 pts Kerin O’Keefe, Wine Enthusiast; 91 pts Vinous