Cantina Mascarello: The Barolos of Bartolo & Giulio Mascarello 1952-1971
@ Bar Boulud,
Mannie Berk of The Rare Wine Co.
set up this dinner, which included a vertical of Cantina Mascarello Barolo
from 1971 back to 1952.
As the first flight (from 1970 & 1971) was being served, I was struck by the fact
that we were starting with 1971, then going backward in time.
Other wine geeks and I often debate whether a vertical should go oldest to youngest,
or youngest to oldest. I don't think I have ever started a youngest to oldest tasting
with a 40 year old wine. I mentioned this to the group at the time,
and there was a general murmur of
agreement, and a clear sense that we were about to experience something quite special.
The evening did not disappoint.
Here is the email announcing this dinner.
The food at Bar Boulud was very good.
The service was excellent.
All the wines were opened and double-decanted between 5 and 6pm, working from youngest to oldest.
The dinner started around 7:45 and lasted till around 10:30pm.
Cantina Mascarello is best known today as the winery of the late great Bartolo Mascarello
(who died in 2005). However, the name on the label of these wines was changed from
Cantina Mascarello to
Bartolo Mascarello only starting with the 1982 vintage.
The wines we tasted this night all predate that by quite a bit.
In fact, most of these wines were made by Bartolo's father, Giulio.
Giulio was active in the winery during all the vintages tasted here.
Bartolo only joined him during the 1960s. Giulio lived until 1981.
Much more information on Cantina Mascarello and their wines,
as well as detailed photos of many bottles
(including those from this dinner) can be found on the Fine Wine Geek
Bartolo Mascarello Barolo Page.
Some of these wines had the vineyard name
Cannubi at the bottom of the label, some did not.
I ignored this in my designations and descriptions because I believe it is meaningless.
All these Barolos were a blend from 4 vineyards (including Cannubi).
On the other hand, the designation of
Riserva found on many of these wines is meaningful.
Legally, it meant the wine had spent another year ageing before release.
It may have also been from the better barrels, but there is no confirmation of that.
On this evening, we had the good fortune to taste a non-riserva and a riserva side by side
in four vintages (1964, 1961, 1958, 1952).
In all but the 1952, the riserva was clearly the superior wine.
All the bottles in this tasting came from the cellar of Mannie Berk. Like other Rare Wine Co. dinners,
Mannie had meticulously collected these bottles over many years. Their provenance was impeccable.
A few of the bottles had labels in very poor condition. (See photos below.) These bottles were
purchased by Mannie many years ago from a cellar in Turin where they were stored buried in sand.
This was good for the wines, but not so good for the labels.
This is the first dinner I've attended focused entirely on Cantina Mascarello.
There was a flight of these wines at this dinner
and at this dinner.
For any image, click on it for a larger view of that image which may contain more picture.
The main room at Bar Boulud.
Empty bottles at the entrance to the cellar.
The main cellar & hall to our room.
The Sommelier room in the cellar ...
... where we will have dinner.
l to r: Attendee Jeff Joseph, Wine Director Daniel Johnnes,
Host Mannie Berk.
The menu and list of wines.
2002 Le Mesnil - Coop Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Le Mesnil
- France, Champagne, Le Mesnil Sur Oger
[A special cuvée created for Rare Wine Co. Served from magnum.
The official name of this producer is
Coopérative Union des Propriétaires Récoltants Le Mesnil sur Oger.]
Poured while we were standing around and chatting, but this was still quite notable.
A delicious, balanced, elegant Champagne. Great class and finesse.
Would have liked to have spent more time with this. (94 pts.)
Flight 1: 1971, 1970 Mascarello Barolos & Moresco Barbarescos
With Betteraves et Roquette: Roasted Red Beets, Baby Arugula,
Apple, Golden Beet and Goat Cheese 'Terrine', Spiced Pumpkin Seeds.
1971 Cantina Mascarello Barolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Gorgeous earthy cherry nose. Fully mature. Mulch and dried cherry fruit. Lovely.
1970 Cantina Mascarello Barolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Muted nose of dried cherries. Smoother and richer than the 1971. More youthful too.
Has that classic elegance typical of aged Cantina Mascarello Barolo.
Probably will continue to improve for several more years.
Wish I could follow this bottle over the evening. (95 pts.)
1971 Giovannini Moresco Barbaresco Pajore
- Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
Dirty cherry nose. Surprisingly sweet in the mouth. Long finish.
A very impressive wine. (94 pts.)
1970 Giovannini Moresco Barbaresco Pajore
- Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
Beautiful Nebbiolo nose. Full and balanced in the mouth.
Lovely, with more body than I would have expected at this age. (92 pts.)
- Mannie decided to include these 2 Barbarescos from Enrico Giovannini Moresco on somewhat
of a whim. It was a great treat to try these classic wines, especially in the context
of these great Mascarello Barolos. These Barbarescos clearly held their own.
For more on these wines, here is a portion of Rare Wine's newsletter with
some history on the winery.
Flight 2: 1967, 1964
With Agnolotti de Porc: Braised Heritage Red Wattle Pork Agnolotti,
Morels and Spring Vegetable Ragu, Buttermilk Pork Jus.
1967 Cantina Mascarello Barolo Riserva - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Sour cherries. A little flat. Perhaps not a top bottle of this wine, but
others liked it more than I did. (88 pts.)
1964 Cantina Mascarello Barolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Bark mulch nose. Lovely in the mouth with just a touch of VA. Long earthy cherry finish.
Elegant and earthy. (93 pts.)
1964 Cantina Mascarello Barolo Riserva - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Muted nose of black fruit and licorice. Thick and still a bit tannic. Riveting long finish.
Will likely improve for several more years. A great wine. (96 pts.)
Flight 3: 1961, 1958, 1957
With Canard Rôti: Stone Church Farm Duck Breast, Braised Swiss Chard, Rhubarb Confit, Smoked Shallot, Duck Jus
1961 Cantina Mascarello Barolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Earthy cherry licorice nose. Sweet and tart cherries.
A little VA which blows off fairly quickly. (92 pts.)
1961 Cantina Mascarello Barolo Riserva - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Sweet red cherry nose. Gorgeous sweet red fruit in the mouth. Such incredible purity.
My WOTN. (97 pts.)
1958 Cantina Mascarello Barolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Red fruit and mulch nose, but very fragile and diluted sour cherry in the mouth. NR
1958 Cantina Mascarello Barolo Riserva - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Totally ethereal nose. Gorgeous sweet red fruit with a super long finish. Delicate now.
A great wine, but not as mind-blowing to me as the bottle I had in the early 1990s
(which I rated 100 points). (96 pts.)
1957 Cantina Mascarello Barolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Beautiful balsamic nose. Lovely, elegant. Medium length.
A lovely wine that has no right to be this good at this age from this vintage.
Degustation de Fromage (l to r): Fontina Val d'Aosta, Robiola Bosnia, Pleast Ridge Reserve, and
Candied Walnuts, Satsuma Marbalade, and Raisin Bread
1955 Cantina Mascarello Barolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
I expected more from this wine. Not bad, but should have been drunk earlier.
Sour cherries. Some elegance, but thin. (88 pts.)
1954 Cantina Mascarello Barolo Riserva - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Sour cherry nose. Still opening up. Smooth. Sweeter as it gets more air.
Not quite as good as the bottle I had a couple of years ago,
but still amazing for this vintage. (92 pts.)
1952 Cantina Mascarello Barolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Earth and cherry nose. Beautiful in the mouth. A truly lovely wine.
First non-riserva that is better than the riserva in the same vintage.
1952 Cantina Mascarello Barolo Riserva - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Light. Almost water. Hard to know what to make of this. NR
This was an extraordinary event. I doubt I will ever again get to taste so many vintages
from this great winery in this era in one tasting.
It was a very special experience which only increased my appreciation of what this
father and son did over the course of so many decades.
Many thanks to Mannie Berk for collecting these wines over the years
and putting on this great tasting.
There were some at this dinner that liked the last flight best and
said those wines were the most
I think I like my Cantina Mascarello Barolos a little younger than that.
My favorite flight was Flight 3, and my favorite wines from this tasting were
the 1961 Riserva, 1964 Riserva, 1958 Riserva, and the 1970 non-riserva.
So the good news for me is that I don't have to wait 50-60 years to drink my younger
Bartolo Mascarello Barolos, only 40-50. ;)
My notes posted from CellarTracker.
You can find
Matt Neel's notes on this dinner here
on CellarTraker as well.
All original content © Ken Vastola