Massolino G. - Az. Agr. Vigna Rionda


Massolino-Vigna Rionda
Founded: 1896
Franco and Roberto Massolino
Acres owned: 57
Annual production: 9,200 cases
Estate grown: 100%
Known for: Elegant cru Barolo from
Importer: Domaine Select Wine Estates
Website: massolino.it

Massolino’s enviable collection of vineyards is perched on the
slopes below the sleepy Barolo village of Serralunga. The family
has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the top growers in the area:
In 1896, Giovanni Massolino purchased a plot of hillside land, an
inheritance his descendants gradually expanded on to include three
prestigious crus, Margheria, Parafada and Vigna Rionda. Brothers
Franco and Roberto Massolino manage the estate today, with Franco
leading the efforts in the cellar.
The winery’s house style has always leaned towards
the traditional end of the nebbiolo spectrum,
with wines like Vigna Rionda (Massolino’s riserva)
vinified with a long fermentation followed by lengthy
aging in large casks. It’s an old-school approach that
works for the long haul, as shown by a recent tasting
of the 2000 Vigna Rionda Barolo. The ripeness of the
vintage is perceptible in its sweet cherry core, yet the
firm, minerally tannins exercise such grip that the wine
will easily age two decades or more. Given the wine’s
remarkable sense of balance, it would be impossible to
imagine without one or the other.
That graceful nature can be seen in Massolino’s
other Barolos. Margheria feels firm and savory in ‘05,
a tense, coiled wine that needs time. The ‘05 Parafada
combines the bright, high-toned character of nebbiolo with strong,
earthy tannins. Often the most forward of Massolino’s Barolos, Parafada
had been the wine to see the most time in barrique since 1990.
Beginning with the 2000 vintage, aging was evenly split between
barriques and larger tonneaux; from 2007 on, however, Parafada has
been made without barriques--a transition that Franco Massolino
feels reflects the estate’s traditionalist roots.
In both classic and ripe years, Massolino’s single-vineyard wines
need cellar time to reach their full potential. In the meantime, don’t
miss the Nebbiolo d’Alba. Made from declassified Barolo and a selection
of younger wines, it’s an affordable entry to some of Serraunga’s
best vineyards. --Wolfgang M. Weber