We began the evening as we usually do with a bottle of bubbly. Michael treated us to NV Egly-Ouriet Grand Cru VP. V.P. stands for Vieillissement Prolongé, or extended aging. In this case the wine was aged 84 months on the lees, contributing to its unique character, and was disgorged May 2015. The wine is crafted from 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay of which 90% is from Grand Cru Ambonnay with the rest coming from Grand Cru Verzenay and Bouzy and is made up of equal parts from the 2007, 2006, and 2005 harvest. I loved the yeasty bouquet, crisp and complex palate and bright, lengthy finish. This is my third or fourth bottle of Champagne from Egly-Ouriet and I have been impressed each time.
Each of us brought along a bottle of Bartolo Mascarello Barolo to the tasting. The wines which were separated into four flights ranging from oldest to more recent vintages. Although not planned, the wines spanned three generations of winemakers at the estate, Giulio, Bartolo and Maria Teresa. All the wines were open around noon and allowed to breath for 5 to 6 hours before being transported to the restaurant.
The wines of Bartolo Mascarello were my epiphany regarding how good wine can be and the pure elegance of the Nebbiolo grape when put in the hands of a master. The wine making principals established by Bartolo’s father Giulio have never changed and continues today under the very capable direction of Bartolo’s daughter Maria Teresa. The estate owns vineyards in four of the most prestigious crus in Barolo…Cannubi, San Lorenzo, Rué and Rocche dell'Annunziata. The fruit from these holdings is co-fermented in cement and then racked into large, neutral oak, where the wines are aged for roughly three and a half years before being bottled. Until 1982 the wines were labeled Cantina Mascarello when Bartolo changed the name to Bartolo Mascarello. For more comprehensive information regarding the estate, complete with great photos, visit Ken Vastola's blog Visit to Cantina Bartolo Mascarello.
1955 Cantina Mascarello Barolo Cannubi Riserva. Ken was given this bottle as a gift on his trip to Piedmont last month and he generously brought it along. We thank you Ken for your generosity. The wine displayed a brackish-red hue in the glass with a smoky old world bouquet. We were all amazed at how youthful the wine was. It was a joy to drink.
1958 Cantina Mascarello Barolo Cannubi. Like the ’55 this was made by Giulio and it too was a joy to drink. It was similar in appearance and character to the ’55 but took a bit more time to open in the glass. When it did open it was glorious and a match for the ’55. I enjoyed them both immensely.
1982 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo. Made by Bartolo, this was pure elegance and finesse in a glass. A darker and more translucent red hue than the ’55 or ’58, the wine soared from the glass with each ship in perfect balance marked by fantastic depth and complexity. The finish was lengthy and pure feminine elegance. It was my WOTN and has the stuff to continue to drink well for many years to come.
1990 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo. Like the ’82 this had a darker and more translucent red hue than the ’55 or ’58. It too soared from the glass with an amazing youthful energy and tremendous balance and a long elegant finish. This should easily last for another few decades.
|L to R: 1955; 1958; 1982; 1990|
1995 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo. I have been enjoying this beautiful wine since my first bottle in 2009. It is a daunting wine possessing a fabulous bouquet; pure fruit on the palate and a lengthy, velvety finish. I thought it was clearly the wine of the flight.
1996 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo. From a legendary vintage, the pedigree of this wine is eminently apparent with its deep and enticing bouquet and full-bodied palate. I found the fruit to still be a bit tight and tannic however. I’d give this another 4 to 5 years of cellar time.
1997 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo. This was the surprise of the night for me. I gave up on the ’97 vintage of Barolo a few years ago after numerous oxidized bottles. Tonight’s bottle was really good. While not in the class of the others in the flight, the fruit was alive, the tannins soft and there was more than a bit of complexity on the palate and finished with elegant notes. It reminded me of earlier bottles I had the pleasure to drink.
1998 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo. Like the others in the group, this bottle was a bit off. Perhaps a damaged bottle. A bottle last year was much better.
1999 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo. This was superb. Classic Bartolo. Gorgeous translucent red hue with a wonderful bouquet of earth and fruit. Well balanced and pure on the palate. The wine evolved with each sip and finished with terrific length and elegance. Easily the wine of the flight for me.
2001 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo. This wine, like many of the vintage, is beginning to wake up after being asleep for the past 5 years. In my opinion it still needs cellar time.
2005 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo. Made by Maria Teresa, this is a beautiful wine and drinking beautifully and should continue to do so for another 10+ years. Enticing Piedmont earthy bouquet. Balanced and focused palate and a monster finish.
2006 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo. A prodigious wine that underscores the amazing wine making talent of Maria Teresa. Many believe, myself included, that she has taken the estate to a new level of excellence in the world of traditionally made Barolo. This is a big, powerful wine with fantastic potential. The wine has all the makings of a great Barolo; depth, complexity, balance, energy and elegance. My favorite of the flight. Give this another 4 to 5 years of cellar time and then enjoy it over the ensuing 3 or 4 decades.
2007 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo. I was surprised that this did not show as well as I thought it would, given the excellent vintage. It possessed a lovely nose and soft palate, but the fruit I felt was hard. The underlying pedigree is evident, but either it was a slightly off bottle or is simply going to require more cellar time.
2009 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo. I liked this a lot. The wine had a gorgeous bouquet and a graceful and focused palate with an elegant finish. I look for this to age gracefully over the next 10+ years.
This was truly a remarkable evening. I am honored to be a part of this NY Vinous group. A group of generous and knowledgeable guys who's contributions to the experience of great wines is second to none.
Please check out Eric Guido's notes on the tasting at his blog The Cellar Table at Morrell Wine.