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Massolino: 2018 Barolo and the "Absolutely Stunning" [Galloni] 2016 Vigna Rionda

Massolino: 2018 Barolo and the "Absolutely Stunning" [Galloni] 2016 Vigna Rionda

During last year’s Massolino masterclass, Giovanni Angeli promised us a special 2022 release. He wasn’t kidding. This year would see the release of what Angeli describes as one of the greatest wines Massolino has ever produced—the 2016 Vigna Rionda Riserva. Then, there is the not-so-small matter of the estate’s 2018 Barolo, which seems like an excellent place to start.

Cutting to the chase, Massolino bottled just a single Barolo in 2018. As you can read below, this was a challenging year for Barolo’s growers. In the end, Franco Massolino and Giovanni Angeli did not feel the vintage justified a release of their single-vineyard bottlings. As a result, the entire harvest from Massolino’s great cru vineyards—Parussi, Margheria, Parafada and (for the first time) Vigna Rionda—was declassified into the single, supercharged Barolo (in quality, if not style) that we offer below. The result is a wine of beauty and grace that not only outperforms this vintage but also that of many ‘superior’ years.

Now a drum roll, please. The first-ever Massolino Barbaresco wines have landed in Australia. Franco Massolino had been looking to get his foot into Barbaresco for at least a decade and, in 2018 he finally secured a long-term lease of four hectares in the commune of Neive. The vineyards, owned by the freshly retired Bernardino Gastaldi, are found in the three crus of Serraboella, Starderi and the famous hillside vineyard of Albesani.

What took Massolino so long to discover a route into Barbaresco? Simply, the team couldn’t find vineyards that came up to their high standards, until they inspected Gastaldi’s outstanding holdings, that is. The inaugural release from the 2019 vintage is comprised of a Barbaresco blend (of all three sites) and a single-vineyard Albesani, which the Massolinos feel offers the most elegant expression of the three sites. To quote Galloni, “The 2019s are stellar wines done in the classic Massolino style. Best of all, the 2019s have that immediacy and allure that makes Barbaresco so charming.”

Finally, Barolo lovers will need no reminding that 2016 was an epic vintage that produced a stream of breathtaking wines. First bottled as a single cru in 1982, 2016 marks the 35th vintage of the benchmark Barolo Vigna Rionda, and even those who know this wine intimately will not have tasted a finer expression. Those attending our masterclass last year would have witnessed Giovanni Angeli almost lost for words when trying to describe what could be his career-defining wine. Franco Massolino was hardly more restrained, limiting himself to describing it as “simply extraordinary”. What we will say is that it is a truly beautiful wine, a wine not easily forgotten. To mark the historic nature of the release (in more ways than one), Massolino has introduced a new label that will commemorate only the finest releases from this vineyard—Etichetta Nera, or ‘black label’.

Due to limited volumes, please contact you account manager if you are interested in an allocation of any of these wines.

The Wines

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