I’ve not done one of these before but since it’s about a quarter to midnight on the west coast–and thus just under deadline–what the hell? At the moment I’ve got a raging fire to my left and a glass of riesling in my hand. But this post isn’t about that wine, but instead the 1999 Barolo Massara from Castello di Verduno, a traditionally-minded producer located in the commune of Verduno at the northern end of the Barolo appellation, just before the Langhe hills stop at the Tanaro river.
Massara is a relatively young cru of nebbiolo, planted in the late 80s and early 90s in calcareous sand and limestone laden clay common to this Barolo subregion. Nebbiolo from here is often more approachable at an earlier age than say, Serralunga or Monforte, although we’re not talking about lightly structured wines. This is drinking well now, and you can get it for the relatively inexpensive price of around $40 at Arlequin Wine Merchant in San Francisco (about the only place in the US to carry this wine, or at least this vintage).
(Silly me, that’s the label for the ’01 vintage…)
Anyway, a tasting note: Aromatic, with notes of dried rose and cherry, this feels fine and elegant on the palate, with a lasting stony quality. It finishes bright and firm, the structure there for another 4 or 5 years in the cellar. Although it kicked ass with fresh potato gnocchi (gotta love my new potato ricer) topped with a wild mushroom ragù. Yum.
Arlequin has more of this by the way…