Robert Parker 96
Showing a light ruby shine that radiates from the glass, the Bartolo Mascarello 2017 Barolo proves once again that elegance can be achieved, despite the many challenges of an extreme vintage, when worked by the right hands. In this case, the hands are those of Bartolo’s daughter, the legendary Maria Teresa Mascarello. This celebrated Barolo boasts a silky sheen and glossy character that transcends bouquet and mouthfeel. Wild cherry, lilac, iron ore and candied orange peel are revealed softly on the bouquet. The wine takes a few minutes to open before all those pretty little details come into view. Acidity is an important component of this graceful Barolo, as it ties together the fruit and heightens that sense of electricity and liveliness. This is a collectors’ bottle to keep safely in your cellar.
Anticipated maturity: 2025-2050
The 2017 Barolo is gracious, perfumed and very nicely lifted. An effusive, floral bouquet opens first, followed by a rush of red berry fruit. Nervous, a bit wiry at this stage, the 2017 is going to need at least a few years to fully open, but all the elements are in place to allow that to happen. Maria Teresa Mascarello’s Barolo is one of the most elegant and restrained wines of the year. It’s not an immediately impressive or captivating wine at this stage. The purity of the flavors is just striking, though. Give it a few years to blossom.
Anticipated maturity: 2025-2042
‘We didn’t do any [prolonged] maceration, we racked off after three weeks on the skins, which was the time it took for the alcoholic fermentation to end, and not the 45 days we normally do.’ Fermentation took place in two 50-hl vats and concrete tanks both without temperature control. ‘When it is as hot as it was in 2017 we harvest only in the morning, or we leave the grapes overnight under the portico outside to let them cool off. But you can only do this if the grapes are perfectly healthy.’ Palish ruby. Subdued, subtle fragrant and savoury nose. With aeration increasingly complex and deep. Dark stalky/spicy notes. Compact and still firmly curled up, but with great fruit focus. A frightening amount of tannins reveal themselves on the finish but matched by great depth of fruit. Not to be approached right now. This will be slumbering for quite a while before it will show its wonders. (WS)
Anticipated maturity: 2025-2038