Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2016
100 points - Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, July 2020
This is the stuff of dreams. Tasted so young, I did a lot of coaxing to nudge the wine along, thanks to a double decant and a few extra hours in an open bottle. I tasted both samples I had over the course of a few weeks. Those efforts served well, but the wine remains packed tight and full of nervous energy regardless, indicating that its true potential won't be seen for another 10 or 20 years, or likely more. The Bartolo Mascarello 2016 Barolo is a true icon of the vintage. The approach is elongated and silky, like lifting honey from a jar. The aromas are chiseled and focused with wild berry, licorice, candied orange peel, campfire ash, rusted iron, crushed graphite and pencil shaving. The wine's personality is downplayed, elegant and demure in one tasting but exuberant and expressive in the next. The tannins show snap and crunch, indicating they will drive the wine forward over many years of cellar age. This is one of those rare wines that is poised to improve with each increment of time. Structurally, it is perfect. If we were to create a template for an aspirational Barolo, this would be it.
The indomitable Maria Teresa Mascarello has finished building a new facility in the lower part of Barolo village, just a few hundred meters from her existing historic winery. The new space allows for greater temperature and humidity control for storage, and means that much of the vineyard equipment can be consolidated under one roof. Those who have visited this estate know how tiny the workspaces are in the village. However, fermentation and aging will continue in the historic cantina, and visitors will be welcomed to the same homey offices packed with books and paintings on Via Roma. Nothing will change in terms of winemaking, but more space is now available for storage, bottle aging, packing and shipping. As readers know, the Bartolo Mascarello Barolo is a blend of fruit from Cannubi, Rué and Monrobiolo della Bussia (in Barolo) and Rocche dell'Annunziata (in La Morra). These parcels are co-fermented.
- Monica Larner