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Everyday Piemonte

New and Current Dolcetto, Barbera & Nebbiolo from Massolino & Albino Rocca
Everyday Piemonte
At a time when wine lovers are more prudent than ever regarding their spending, Piemonte might have the antidote. We recently had the pleasure of visiting and tasting with each of our growers, old and new. Putting the coveted Barolo and Barbaresco to one side, we were particularly excited by the quality of the current and future release of our grower’s ‘little ones’, as Franco Massolino affectionately call his Barbera, Dolcetto et al. (Not to mention a little self-congratulatory with just how many great-value gems we have in our Piemonte portfolio).

Massolino’s little ones have never been in better form, and we asked Franco to tell us how his Barbera and Dolcetto, in particular, continued to scale new heights (from an admittedly strong base). First, he explained the importance of these varieties as the domaine’s calling cards—a Piemonte producer lives and dies by the quality of its Dolcetto!—so it was vital to take these wines as seriously as they do their Barolo or Barbaresco. Then, he credits the relatively recent purchase of the Cascina I Maschi vineyard in Monforte d’Alba, whose fruit now wraps depth and flesh around these wines’ chalky Serralunga spine. The sum is, indeed, more significant than the individual parts.

Across the Langhe hills, the Rocca family is another to prove Piemonte has so much to offer beyond the most highly coveted appellations. Daniella Rocca and her family have found another gear of late. Developments in the vineyard mean they are harvesting more pristine grapes than ever before, and the move towards ever-gentler and less-obtrusive winemaking shines through in the wines’ purity of fruit and sense of place.

Naturally, the quality of the vintages in play has also played a vital role. 2021 was an absolute triumph throughout the region, delivering gorgeously aromatic, vibrant and refreshing wines across the board, while the warmer ’22 vintage has bestowed the kind of lip-smacking succulence and lacy, old-world soul that makes the wines so food-friendly (and hard-to-stop drinking).

The Wines

Massolino Dolcetto d'Alba 2022

Massolino Dolcetto d'Alba 2022

Screwcap. Traditionally cropped from an ideally positioned 3.2 hectares within the Serralunga postcode, recent vintages also include fruit from Massolino’s Cascina I Maschi vineyard in Monforte d’Alba. The Dolcetto is raised entirely in stainless steel tanks. From a dry, yet classical vintage, this offers a touch more flesh and darker fruit profile than the 2021, yet it’s just as delicious. First produced all the way back in 1896, Massolino only uses its finest Dolcetto fruit for this bottling; the remainder is sold in bulk.

Massolino Dolcetto d'Alba 2022
Massolino Barbera d'Alba 2022

Massolino Barbera d'Alba 2022

Screwcap. Massolino’s two hectares of Barbera in a limestone-rich Serralunga vineyard are now complemented by fruit from Monforte d’Alba. The 2022 fermented for 10 to 12 days in cement tanks and was raised in the same vessels for a short period before being bottled and released. The palate is deep and pure, with some powdery tannins and vibrant acidity. The finish is tangy, perfumed and lingering. A super release and another super-value wine.

Massolino Barbera d'Alba 2022
Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021

Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021

Screwcap. This wine just gets better and better. Early vintages of the Nebbiolo were sourced exclusively from Massolino’s younger vines in Serralunga—a declassified Barolo, if you like. Today there are two more parcels in play: Monforte’s Cascina I Maschi (Massolino credits this cool, chalky site with giving the wine lifted perfume and freshness); then there’s a parcel in Alba on lighter, sandy-clay soils, which brings depth of fruit. The blend is roughly one-third from each terroir, and there’s little doubt the sum of these three sites has bought even more finesse and early-drinking appeal to what was already an outstanding Langhe Nebbiolo. The 2021 is a gorgeous wine. Ripe yet pure-fruited (mulberry, red cherry, anise) with fine, chalky tannins and a terrific, perfumed finish. Following very gentle extraction, it was aged in large Slavonian oak casks (like all Massolino Nebbiolo) for 15 months, as opposed to 24-plus months for the Barolo wines. To call this a bargain is to undersell what’s on offer!

“Cherry, red fruit, a little almond, light spice, a touch floral with some aniseed. Medium-bodied, fresh red fruits, understated, lively, a little new leather, and a bright finish of good length, with some chalky grip following. Charming. A little bit frisky. Good drinking.”
91+ points, Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021
Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021 (1500ml)

Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021 (1500ml)

This wine just gets better and better. Early vintages of the Nebbiolo were sourced exclusively from Massolino’s younger vines in Serralunga—a declassified Barolo, if you like. Today there are two more parcels in play: Monforte’s Cascina I Maschi (Massolino credits this cool, chalky site with giving the wine lifted perfume and freshness); then there’s a parcel in Alba on lighter, sandy-clay soils, which brings depth of fruit. The blend is roughly one-third from each terroir, and there’s little doubt the sum of these three sites has bought even more finesse and early-drinking appeal to what was already an outstanding Langhe Nebbiolo. The 2021 is a gorgeous wine. Ripe yet pure-fruited (mulberry, red cherry, anise) with fine, chalky tannins and a terrific, perfumed finish. Following very gentle extraction, it was aged in large Slavonian oak casks (like all Massolino Nebbiolo) for 15 months, as opposed to 24-plus months for the Barolo wines. To call this a bargain is to undersell what’s on offer!



“Cherry, red fruit, a little almond, light spice, a touch floral with some aniseed. Medium-bodied, fresh red fruits, understated, lively, a little new leather, and a bright finish of good length, with some chalky grip following. Charming. A little bit frisky. Good drinking.”
91+ points, Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021 (1500ml)
Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021 (375ml)

Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021 (375ml)

This wine just gets better and better. Early vintages of the Nebbiolo were sourced exclusively from Massolino’s younger vines in Serralunga—a declassified Barolo, if you like. Today there are two more parcels in play: Monforte’s Cascina I Maschi (Massolino credits this cool, chalky site with giving the wine lifted perfume and freshness); then there’s a parcel in Alba on lighter, sandy-clay soils, which brings depth of fruit. The blend is roughly one-third from each terroir, and there’s little doubt the sum of these three sites has bought even more finesse and early-drinking appeal to what was already an outstanding Langhe Nebbiolo. The 2021 is a gorgeous wine. Ripe yet pure-fruited (mulberry, red cherry, anise) with fine, chalky tannins and a terrific, perfumed finish. Following very gentle extraction, it was aged in large Slavonian oak casks (like all Massolino Nebbiolo) for 15 months, as opposed to 24-plus months for the Barolo wines. To call this a bargain is to undersell what’s on offer!

“Cherry, red fruit, a little almond, light spice, a touch floral with some aniseed. Medium-bodied, fresh red fruits, understated, lively, a little new leather, and a bright finish of good length, with some chalky grip following. Charming. A little bit frisky. Good drinking.”
91+ points, Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2021 (375ml)
Albino Rocca Dolcetto d'Alba 2021

Albino Rocca Dolcetto d'Alba 2021

Albino Rocca’s Dolcetto d’Alba is drawn from a single vineyard in Barbaresco, a first-rate location with an east to south-east exposure for the most part. The vines were planted in 1960 and 1978. Thanks to the maturity and sensible yields they provide, this wine displays more intensity and texture than many a garden-variety Dolcetto d’Alba. The 2021 was raised in stainless steel for six months.

What a cracking Dolcetto. It's a riot of zest and energy, opening with a lovely interplay of summer berries, violets and spice before intensifying on the palate with a plush texture, deftly partnered with perfumed, juicy tannins and mouth-watering freshness. “Lights out”, indeed.


What a cracking Dolcetto. It's a riot of zest and energy, opening with a lovely interplay of summer berries, violets and spice before intensifying on the palate with a plush texture, deftly partnered with perfumed, juicy tannins and mouth-watering freshness. “Lights out”, indeed.

“The 2021 Dolcetto d'Alba captures all the elegance of this late-ripening vintage. Fresh and aromatic, with striking depth, the 2021 is lights out. A burst of dark red cherry, plum, rose petal and lavender lingers on the impossibly long finish. The 2021 is the best Dolcetto here in recent memory.”
91 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
Albino Rocca Dolcetto d'Alba 2021
Albino Rocca Barbera d'Alba 2022

Albino Rocca Barbera d'Alba 2022

The lion’s share of this small-volume cuvée is drawn from a single parcel of vines planted in 2004 in the clay and limestone soils of San Rocco Seno d'Elvio—just outside the Alba township, on the edge of the Barbaresco area. More recently, a parcel of 20-year-old Barbara from Castagnito on the opposite side of the Tanaro River has joined the party. The resulting wine, raised entirely in tank, is bursting with mouth-watering red and blue fruit flavours framed by tightly wound tannins and lip-smacking acidity.

“The 2022 Barbera d'Alba is another delicious entry-level wine from Albino Rocca. It captures notable freshness and energy. Dark red cherry/plum fruit, spice, leather and blood orange and all dialed up. Vinification and aging in steel keeps the flavors vibrant.”
90 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
Albino Rocca Barbera d'Alba 2022
Albino Rocca Langhe Nebbiolo Rosso di Rocca 2022

Albino Rocca Langhe Nebbiolo Rosso di Rocca 2022

Rosso di Rocca is 97% Nebbiolo with a smattering of Cabernet Franc. The Nebbiolo hails from a vineyard at Magliano Alfieri in the first hills of the Roero region. The vines were planted in 1967 and 2002, and the parcel was purchased by the family in 2016. The Cabernet Franc comes from 20-year-old estate vines in Barbaresco.

Roero’s sandy soils gift a lighter, brighter, earlier-drinking wine than the Rocca Nebbiolo d’Alba—a Nebbiolo party in a glass. The wine’s upbringing (solely in tank) and early bottling helps keep to this theme, and 2022 is another cracking rendition.

It’s super-bright, perfumed and crackling with energy, with a swish of blood orange in front of blue fruits, steely minerality and savoury spices. Succulent and structured, it’s an approachable and harmonious Nebbiolo with fresh acidity, powdery tannins and impressive fruit concentration. A fabulous introduction to the beautiful world of Piemonte Nebbiolo, and superb value to boot.


Albino Rocca Langhe Nebbiolo Rosso di Rocca 2022

“Piedmont is full of excitement these days, more than I have ever seen in 25 years of visiting the region. The rapid escalation of prices and dwindling availability of the region’s top wines can be discouraging, but it needn’t be, as Piedmont has so much to offer beyond the most highly coveted Barolos and Barbarescos.” Antonio Galloni, Vinous

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