Barolo Masters

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The title says it all - four producers who made great wine then, and who still do now.

Plus a special dinner: Francesco Rinaldi and Giuseppe Rinaldi, side-by-side tastings of 1964, 1967, 1971, 1974, 1978, and 1985; February 16th, 7pm, at Maialino, $650 includes dinner, wine, service, and tax.

 

 

From "A Top Ten Wine List Built on Memories", in Eric Asimov's The Pour, December 8, 2016, The New York Times:

"10. Great wine stirs the emotions. I am particularly susceptible to wines that coincide with historical moments, either personal, like 1929, when my father was born, or global, like 1964, a year suffused with turning points in civil rights, war and popular culture. To drink a great wine, made from grapes that shimmered those dewy mornings in ’64 is, for me, a penetrating thing.

I was a small boy then. Fifty-two years later and feeling old, I was drinking 14 Barolos from the ’64 vintage at Maialino, a restaurant facing Gramercy Park, in November. One wine stood above the rest, the ’64 Barolo from Cantina Mascarello, an estate run by a father, Giulio Mascarello, who would hand it down to his son, Bartolo, who in turn would hand it to his daughter, Maria Teresa.

The wine was pale, yet fresh, deep and soulful, younger than its years with miles to go. It was not just a survivor but a thriver, and it sent a message that I needed to hear."

PS: We expect at least some of these wines to sell quickly. To help avoid the frustration of ordering something that is already sold, please click-through to the website where you can see live inventory (whenever you refresh the page).

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Rinaldi, Giuseppe 2011 Barolo Tre Tine

Formerly labeled Cannubi San Lorenzo - Ravera, this is close to same blend / same wine. Early on (from barrel in 2014) the Tre Tine seemed closer in style to Brunate than usual, sharing a dark core of ripe fruit, and very ripe tannin. A year later there was more obvious difference, with the elegance of Cannubi beginning to shine. Out of about 120 Barolos, this is one of the very best 2011s we've tasted. Jamie Wolff

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Mascarello, Bartolo 1954 Barolo (vintage label handwritten)

A note about hand-written labels, and other variables in wine packaging:

My parents traveled a lot in Europe in the 1950s and ‘60s, and I remember that even in the 1960s they would remark on how signs of the war lingered – bomb damage and other un-reconstructed traces, of course, but also shortages of some basic consumer goods, like soap and toilet paper. Not surprisingly the difficulty in finding supplies extended to wine making; for example you couldn’t count on getting all of the same type of bottle every year. Add to this a farmer-wine maker’s natural and sensible frugality and you get further explanation about why some wines are not always packaged the same way. I’m not talking about First Growth Bordeaux, but in a place like Barolo, that was actually poor, and where selling wine was by no means a certainty, you made due with the materials on hand, including recycling last year’s bottles and labels when you could. For the most part wine was bottled on demand, and so the same vintage might be bottled over several years and might incorporate a variety of materials, including different bottles, corks and capsules, a variety of labels, handwritten details, or perhaps one vintage crossed-out and another written in its place – thus not wasting a perfectly good label. As related to us by Maria-Theresa Mascarello, this practice was certainly true for her grandfather and father, who until the 1980s sold almost all of their wine from the cellar to people they knew well, who were buying for their homes or restaurants, and who no issue with some mix of packaging. Even now this kind of thing happens: at another cellar my wife and I were given a bottle of the new vintage, but the vintage tags hadn’t arrived, so the wine maker wrote the year on a label from the previous year. In a sweet way that bottle is now an extra-special souvenir, and of course we have no intention of ever selling it. We just need to wait about 20 years… Jamie Wolff

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Mascarello, Bartolo 1988 Barolo

This wine is so good! At dinner in October '08 it was a great surprise that it showed so well (alongside some serious competition). This is by far my favorite 1988 to date — a vintage with a lot of good wines that are just beginning to open up a bit. This had lots of lovely raspberry fruit, mushroom, stone, and baking spices on the nose; opening up considerably with some time. The wine is fresh and lively on the palate, with good length and complexity. Like all of Bartolo's wines this requires both time and thoughtfulness. I would buy our stock if I could... JW

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Rinaldi, Francesco 1964 Barbaresco (2 with torn labels)

Lovely wine with a deep penetrating nose of leather, spice, mineral, cherry and chestnut. Palate has great inner mouth aromas and nice juicy fruit. Great ripeness with good chewiness. Lovely stuff!

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Rinaldi, Francesco 1974 Barolo

This bottle is drinking so well right now. If you can spare the money, please do your self a favor and grab one while you can. Poised on the brink of maturity, the wine offers savory, tertiary aromas of earth, roasting meat, and mushroom along with delicate, mouth-filling dried cherry flavors. Really, this is the kind of beautiful, masterfully wrought wine that defies description and lingers in one's memory for years. Make sure to give the wine ample time to decant; it will take several hours of air for it to show all it has to offer. -msb

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