Red, Ready, but will keep

2014 Langhe Nebbiolo, Giuseppe Mascarello

2014 Langhe Nebbiolo, Giuseppe Mascarello

Red | Ready, but will keep | Giuseppe Mascarello e Figli | Code:  39783 | 2014 | Italy > Piedmont > Langhe | Nebbiolo | Medium-Full Bodied, Dry | 13.0 % alcohol

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The Producer

Giuseppe Mascarello e Figli

Giuseppe Mascarello e Figli

Giuseppe Mascarello e Figlio surely ranks as one of Barolo’s finest producers. The family business dates back to 1881 & to Monforte d’Alba. Maurizio (Morissio) bought the Castiglione Falletto Monprivato vineyard in 1904, planting it with the Nebbiolo Michèt clone, before relocating the winery to Monchiero in 1919.

Son Giuseppe took over the business in 1923, abandoning the other family business of building materials to concentrate on wine. His son Mauro has been fine-tuning the estate since 1967, notably by lowering the yields, introducing a sorting table to ensure perfect bunches, and by releasing Monprivato as a single vineyard wine from 1970. Since 1996 he has been joined by his son Giuseppe, a wine technician. Mauro’s wife Maria Teresa looks after the books.

While the 12ha estate is dominated by vineyards in the commune of Castigilione Falletto, notably Monprivato at 6.20ha, in 1989 Mauro bought Santo Stefano, a single iron-rich vineyard in the Perno hamlet of Monforte d’Alba. All the wines are traditionally made using a combination of epoxy-lined cement & stainless-steel cuves, before being aged in large slavonian botte; capturing the vineyards' full expression

The Grape

Nebbiolo

Nebbiolo

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.

The Region

Langhe

Langhe is an all-encompassing zone lying due south of Alba and the River Tanaro in the province of Cuneo. Barolo and Barbaresco both lie within its boundaries.

Langhe is also the name of a regional DOC zone, which is used to classify wines made outside of the traditional Piemontese varietal scheme (Nebbiollo, Barbera, Cortese etc). Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc wines from the region are, for example, classified as Langhe DOC.


Langhe Nebbiolo
Effectively the ‘second wine’ of Piedmont’s great Barolo and Barbarescos, the Langhe Nebbiolo DOC is the only way Langhe producers can declassify their Barolo or Barbaresco fruit or wines to make an early-drinking style.

Langhe Nebbiolo can be released onto the market as soon as practicably possible either as a fresh, fruity wine made solely in stainless-steel, or later on having been aged in oak. The Langhe Nebbiolo DOC was created in 1994 along with a plethora of other Langhe DOC wines (so diluting their significance).

Unlike Nebbiolo d’Alba, Langhe Nebbiolo can be cut with 15 percent other red indigenous varieties, such as Barbera or Dolcetto. Leading, quality producers of Barolo and Barbaresco are more inclined to use 100 percent Nebbiolo, recognising its role as a stepping stone, using the fruit from vines that are either too young or poorly situated.

Larger producers tend to use the Langhe Nebbiolo DOC as a valve, declassifying wines destined for Barolo or Barbaresco when the market is difficult. Confusingly Langhe Nebbiolo can also be the declassified wine of Nebbiolo d’Alba.

Recommended producers: Giovanni Rosso di Davide Rosso Mario Fontana Ferdinando Principiano

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