Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bartolo Mascarello 1958 - 2010: A Historical Retrospective (with Antonio Galloni)

I am a huge Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino fan and Bartolo Mascarello and Gianfranco Soldera, respectively, are in the top rank of quality producers in those regions. And London, due to its vivacity, culture, food and wine scene, and role as the locus of Europe (and that is not a political statement), is one of my favorite cities in the world. So when Antonio Galloni's Vinous announced back-to-back tastings of multiple vintages of these producers' offerings -- to be held in London on April 26th and 27th -- that was an alignment of all the stars and, hence, a no-brainer for me to sign up.

The first of the two events --- Bartolo Mascarello: A Historical Perspective, 1958 - 2010 -- was a tasting dinner held at the 28º - 50º Maddox Street location. The event was scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm and I was one of the first to arrive. Antonio was still opening wines but Jacquesson Cuvée 738 was available and the Head Sommelier, Louis Dufouleurand, poured me a glass. Accompanying the Champagne was a selection of Charcuterie; Crab Salad, Mango Avocado, and Coriander on Crouton; Mozzarella and Cherry Tomato Bruschetta with Fresh Pesto; and Parmesan and Truffle Arancini.

Crab Salad, Mango Avocado, and Coriander on
As the attendees filtered in, I was pleased to recognize a gentleman who had sat at my table in New York City at the Galloni 2010 Brunello di Montalcino tasting. We conversed animatedly for a while. As the room filled, I noted that a number of Americans had crossed the pond to attend the event, one person coming all the way from Los Angeles. At 7:00 pm sharp we were directed to take our seats.

In his opening remarks Antonio mentioned that we would be drinking 18 vintages organized into five flights, each flight with a theme. All of the wines had been sourced from a single owner so provenanace was assured.

He went on to say that Mascarello is a traditional Piemonte producer that had been producing wine in the region for three generations. The first flight -- themed "ready to drink" -- would clearly exhibit the generational shift from Bartolo Mascarello to his daughter Maria Theresa. In Bartolo's days, Mascarello blended vineyards, fermented the grapes together, and allowed the resulting wine to mature slowly. More recently, the aging time has been shortened, the winery (and the wine) has been cleaner, and they now have the equipment to do proper de-stemming. Maria Theresa got rid of the old barrels, she procured a modern de-stemmer, and the grapes are ripening such that it is easier to separate the Nebbiolo stem from the grape.

The two charts following illustrate the viticultural and vinicultural practices of Maria Theresa as she described them in TONG 16.

The flights and themes for the tasting were as follows:
  • Flight 1: Ready to Drink (2000, 2003, 2005, 1995)
  • Flight 2: Cooler Vintages (1997, 1998, 1999, 2001)
  • Flight 3: Classic Vintages (1986, 1989, 1990 1996)
  • Flight 4: Four Greatest of Recent Vintages (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010)
  • Flight 5: Because We Can (My characterization -- 1986 in Magnum, 1958 in Magnum).
I will report on the actual tasting in a follow-up post.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

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