The Wines of Giuseppe Mascarello

Tasting notes from a 2010 visit with the Barolo master


I consider myself very fortunate for getting to meet with Mauro Mascarello and his son Giuseppe each year, though Giuseppe was absent this year due to a miserable tooth. Not only are the wines at Chez Mascarello always a treat to experience, the company is second to none.

The Azienda Agricola Giuseppe Mascarello e Figlio, named for Mauro’s great grandfather who started the firm in 1881, produces wine in typical Piedmontese style, which is to say that there is a complete line-up of wines that range from basic bottlings of all the main local varieties, as well as single vineyard examples.

The undisputed star here, and one of the greatest wines of Piedmont, is the Barolo from the Monprivato vineyard, which was originally purchased by Mauro’s grandfather. This is classic Barolo; it's slow to mature, incredibly coy in its youth, often looking far too pale and seeming far too frail to amount to much.
Related Imagery

Mascarello labesl through the years

Soon to be released 2003 Ca d'Morissio Barolo Riserva

But given the benefit of time in a proper cellar it emerges after a decade or two as a gorgeous example of Nebbiolo at its finest. Complex, both gentle and stern, perfumed and with an elegance that tends to set it apart from all but the finest Barolo.

Mauro is always striving to improve on his wine, whether by slowly adjusting maceration times for the wine, or painstakingly selecting the best genetic material to replant the vineyard, the efforts have always been and continue to be focused on producing the purest example of each varietal without leaving too much of a winemaker's mark.

These are all wines that speak as much about their vineyards as they do about the grapes used to make them. The truth is that that hands off approach taken by Mauro, and increasingly by Giuseppe as he slowly takes over more responsibility in the winery, is not without risks, but they are risks worth taking. They seem to have resulted in a long line of exceptional wines, though every now and then a wine fails to meet the lofty expectations the Mascarellos have created for themselves.

This year’s line-up had a few misses among the wines, but the greatest wines of Giuseppe Mascarello continue to be among the best in the world. While prices have been creeping up for these bottles, and in particular for the Reserva Ca d’Morissio, the Barolo Monprivato continues to be one of the world’s greatest wine values.

Read the wine reviews, after the jump.

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  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 4,999

    I really do envy you the chance to taste all these truly lovely wines so frequently, Greg.

    Any recommendations on when these would be best to drink?

    And any spare Monprivato or Riserva Ca d'Morissio hanging about? ;-)

    Aug 09, 2010 at 4:11 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,748

    I get lucky, sometimes.

    When you are in my environs there will be spare Monprivato hanging about.

    As far as drinking windows go i thinkt he 2003 Ca d'Morissio should probably be put down for about 8 years and then enjoyed over the following 25 or 30.

    The 2003 Monprivato might benefit from 3-5 years and I would probably opt to drink them over the ensuing 10-15

    2005 Monprivato will need 5-8 years in the cellar and will probably age slowly, high acid and slightly harder tannins.

    2004 Monprivato should benefit from 5-8 years as well and drink well for another 25-30.

    Aug 09, 2010 at 6:46 PM

  • Snooth User: rnellans
    499608 6

    Greg, I think I met you at IPNC. My wife will be visiting Piedmonte in late september. She speaks pretty good Italian and is a lover of wines from the area. We have several wines of Mascarello in our cellar. Is there any chance she could visit while she is there?
    Roger Nellans

    Aug 10, 2010 at 10:02 AM

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