2020 Barbaresco, Massolino, Piedmont, Italy
The 2020 Barbaresco is a terrific follow up to the 2019. A wine of nerve and grace, the 2020 sizzles with energy. Finely sculpted red/purplish fruit, lavender, spice, crushed rocks and orange zest all grace this super-expressive, mid-weight Barbaresco. An explosion of sweet floral and spice notes lifts the gorgeous, beautifully perfumed, vibrant finish. I love the classicism here.
Drinking window: 2025-2040
Antonio Galloni, Vinous (Nov 2022)
About this WINE
Based in the heart of the village of Serralunga, Massolino is a historical estate now managed by Franco Massolino. The estate was established in 1896 by Franco’s great-grandfather, and its running has been deeply interwoven throughout different generations. Charming and open yet reflective, Franco combines a willingness to challenge assumptions with a deeply-felt sense of responsibility to his family legacy. This legacy, in his view, is to faithfully represent the wines and unique heritage of the region. To give the purest expression of the grape, vinification is traditional, with fermentation and maceration for around 21 days in temperature-controlled, open oak fermenters called tini. The wine is the aged in large Slovenian oak botti – no oak toast, just steamed – for up to 30 months before being left to mature in bottle.
Franco Massolino feels that 2019 is a more traditional vintage: one with complexity, powerful tannins, lovely purity, and one capable of great longevity. He is not concerned about the level of the tannins, feeling that they are “smooth” and “like china”. He observes that even with excellent ripeness analysis, a late harvest always gives more tannic power. Franco is not a commentator drawn to hyperbole; his communication is measured and thoughtful. But, a twinkle in his eye betrays that this is a style of vintage that appeals to him very much.
Nebbiolo is the grape behind the Barolo and Barbaresco wines and is hardly ever seen outside the confines of Piedmont. It takes its name from "nebbia" which is Italian for fog, a frequent phenomenon in the region.
A notoriously pernickety grape, it requires sheltered south-facing sites and performs best on the well-drained calcareous marls to the north and south of Alba in the DOCG zones of Barbaresco and Barolo.
Langhe Nebbiolo is effectively the ‘second wine’ of Piedmont’s great Barolo & Barbarescos. This DOC is the only way Langhe producers can declassify their Barolo or Barbaresco fruit or wines to make an early-drinking style. Unlike Nebbiolo d’Alba, Langhe Nebbiolo can be cut with 15% other red indigenous varieties, such as Barbera or Dolcetto.
Nebbiolo flowers early and ripens late, so a long hang time, producing high levels of sugar, acidity and tannins; the challenge being to harvest the fruit with these three elements ripe and in balance. The best Barolos and Barbarescos are perfumed with aromas of tar, rose, mint, chocolate, liquorice and truffles. They age brilliantly and the very best need ten years to show at their best.
Add to wishlist
Massolino’s 2020 Barbaresco is a blend of all three Barbaresco crus and made similar to their Barolo, with very delicate vinification and attention to detail. While the 2019 vintage was more tannic and tense, the 2020 has an ethereal restraint and is slightly more approachable.
For fourth-generation winemaker Franco Massolino, this is only his second vintage but his preferred style. The nose is spectacular, brimming with fresh red fruits and sweet perfume, and the palate is well-balanced with charming berry fruits, fresh acidity and crushed velvet tannins. This is a classic and expressive Barbaresco to cherish.
Drink 2026 - 2040
Katie Merry, Assistant Buyer, Berry Bros. & Rudd (April 2023)
wine at a glance
Delivery and quality guarantee