Explosive and effusive, the 1989 Barolo (magnum) shows terrific density in its beautifully layered fruit. Time in the glass brings out that characteristic 1989 inner sweetness that is such a signature of the year. I especially admire the wine’s textural richness and energy.
Anticipated maturity: 2022-2034
Robert Parker 96
Bartolo Mascarello’s 1989 Barolo (magnum) is all freshly cut roses, plums, prunes and sweet spices. The aromas and flavors continue to emerge with notable vigor and intensity, framed exquisitely by firm, silky tannins. Grace and class come to mind as apt descriptors for a wine that balances exceptional depth yet also floats on the palate with ethereal qualities that are hard to do justice to on the printed page. The finish is long and wonderfully pure, with overtones of licorice and menthol that invite a second (and third!) taste. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2030. Sadly, Bartolo Mascarello passed away in 2005. Mascarello was one of the last staunch traditionalist producers in Piedmont, -the last of the Mohicans- as he liked to say. The wines were indeed very traditional, at times positively, and at others, less so. Mascarello’s Barolo was and remains one of the few wines still made from a combination of vineyards rather than a single-vineyard wine. The fruit, from holdings in San Lorenzo, Cannubi, Torriglione and Rue, was co-fermented in cement and then racked into large, neutral oak, where the wines aged for roughly three and a half years before being bottled. Although the wines sometimes show elements of rusticity that trouble even the most forgiving of palates, when the wines are on, they are sensational. At times powerful when young, the wines almost always age into soft, Burgundian examples of Barolo. Mascarello’s 1989 and 1990 Barolos, both of which I tasted from magnum, are still infants, but the same wines in standard bottles are equally magnificent.
Anticipated maturity: 2010-2030