TN - 2017 Massolino Barolo + questions about their Vigna Roinda

On a random whim last night, I tried the 2017 Massolino Barolo and was beyond pleasantly surprised. Really lovely wine and I think my first encounter with this producer.

Here is the note,

2017 Massolino Barolo

medium red young color, right from opening the nose displayed a beautiful array of cherry, plums, spice, saddle leather and tea leaves, on the palate a medium-to full ripe cherry and dark berry fruit interlaced with delicate gravelly textures of spice and dried herbs leading into a fine fragrant finish with floral notes and of good length, with time clove notes and more intense spices developed while the fruit developed a lovely punchy character, harmonious- with all of its elements taking their proportionate role, classic and classy, a really lovely wine in its own right and a very strong QPR in a wine category that has been generally expensive for quite some time, drinking very nicely now but could definitely develop with a little bottle age.

****, now to 2032+

And now my question- my great experience with the above resulted in the purchase of some 2006 Dieci X Anni Riserva Vigna Rionda and 2013 Riserva Vigna Rionda. As I am new to this producer, would welcome thoughts on whether the 2006 will be ready soon and also if it would be worthwhile to open the 2013 purely as a tasting exercise (meaning I know it will not be mature- but I also do not want to open it if it is likely to be totally shut down.)

Haven’t had the 2017, but the 2018 is very nice.

Medium garnet with significant browning

No significant fruit noted. Damp tobacco, oregano, Leather, damp earth, Slight rubber, Some floral notes but not fresh

med+ acid, subtle tannins with some grip in the front of the mouth. Bright red cherry entry, expansive mid palate with fine mineral, savory, tertiary notes. 30+ second finish on earthy notes

Significantly more advanced and tertiary than we expected and a bit disappointing in that regard. Tasted with decanting over 4 hours and while it did improve, it never completely turned the corner. Still an excellent pair with braised short ribs and the food did bring the wine more into balance. (92 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Dunno if this was bottle variation, the vintage, or to be expected since this is the only Vigna Rionda I’ve had.


Pogo’s? I saw those 06s there yesterday and was tempted!

The 2017 is a nice wine, especially considering the vintage. The 2016 of the same wine was tremendous, no big revelation there.

I would wait on the 2006 VR. I own some that I tasted at the estate in 2016. It showed tremendous potential, but I don’t plan on touching a bottle until age 18 maybe?

I would also hold off on tasting a 2013 unless you own a case or a significant amount. Even on release the 2013 was a bit awkward and clumsy. I’m sure it will turn into a beauty

From Massolino the Margheria and Parafada Crus should not be overlooked either. Parafada is usually a more powerful Barolo and Margheria is more elegant. They sometimes get overshadowed by Vignarionda, but are worth exploring.

I think very highly of Massolino although I never really collected them. Vigna Rionda is a top-shelf Barolo in pretty much every vintage they do it. I also really like their Margheria. A producer with an emphasis on classical expression of Nebbiolo and some of the best aromatics and structure of any producer. It’s possible they’re not as hot a name because their style isn’t as concentrated as some of the more famous producers.

Haven’t tasted them, but both 2006 and 2013 were vintages of exceptional quality and many producers have made probably their best wines on this side of millennium on those two vintages. Most are really ageworthy stuff, so it might be that they are still pretty tough and unyielding - unlike the warm 2017 vintage, in which many producers made quite soft, sweetly-fruited and approachable wines.

Tasted 2013 last year. Don’t know the decant treatment. Gave a sense of the wine for sure, specifically the balance of the wine and coolness of fruit. But it was structured and needs a lot of time (I found it on the structured end of 2013s).

I haven’t had the '13, but the '14 was very closed off and hard to get a read on for me, other than the density and the elegance of the tannins. Clearly very high quality, but at least in my one tasting didn’t show as openly as the average young Barolo.

The '96 and '99, especially '96, are in great shape and still youthful. So I’m inclined to view these wines as being primed for very long term aging.

'06 is a vintage that is still very youthful and not very open in general, so combined with the above I probably would suggest waiting on that vintage of VR.

That all said - my personal philosophy at this point is I am always happy ‘sacrificing’ a bottle of anything to taste once when its young. Otherwise, you can’t have an independent view on the wine. So personally, if I had these wines I’d be opening up one of them.

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I thought that was you! I saw you in passing, but I know you live in Houston and so with the mask I assumed it was someone else. Let me know if you are going to be in town for a while- we can do a tasting.

Thanks everyone for the feedback. Sounds like I am best to lock the 06 and 13 up for a while, and so that is what I will do.

Massolino’s VR is definitely one to put away. I concur that the 1996 is beautiful right now, so take that as a way to think about how long they age and improve. As to vintages, 2006 was fairly highly rated at first (so you will see high scores from reviewers at the time) but has IMO ended up being so-so. I personally would not buy the 2006 unless the price were right. I would buy 2013s, but those need to rest even longer than normal. But if you are looking for Massolino VR in general, you might keep an eye out for 1996, 1999, 2004, and 2010. 2014 was highly rated despite a warmer year, but I have not had that one yet. These wines are not big-production wines, and they get much more distribution in Europe than the US, so finding back vintages here can be hard. It is, however, worth the patience to wait for the good vintages.

Good luck!

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Ryan, may I ask what you think about the 2016 vs 2013? Upon tasting the 2013, my thought was I may prefer 2016 for having more fruit. However, alc levels for 2016 as a vintage as a whole have been a bit eye popping, and makes me consider just going after more 2013. Curious if you had a view?

1998 Massolino Barolo Riserva Vigna Rionda
$20.00 in a closeout bins in 2010. MN used to have the best deals on the planet when Big Top Liquors was in full swing.

I love Massolino. Can we please stop talking about it?

You just talked about it!!! [cheers.gif]

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Barolo Massolino Vigna Rionda Riserva 2009 : 17/20 – 10/6/2017
Très typé Barolo avec des odeurs de camphre, d’herbes aromatiques macérées (vermouth, Amaro, chinato). Matière exigeante, un peu rêche (les congruents tannins du cépage, sur Serralunga) ; lui accorder encore 5 ans de garde.

Visit at the domain in november 2015 :
Massolino Barolo Vigna Rionda Riserva 2009 : 17,5/20+
Nez racé, complet : châtaigne, accents balsamiques marqués. Bouche ample, charpentée et en même temps d’une folle élégance. Elle reste très compacte donc la patience s’impose encore.

Massolino Barolo Vigna Rionda Riserva X 2004 : 18/20
Version « gardée 10 ans au domaine » avant mise en vente. Méticuleusement servi au Coravin par notre hôte. Magnifique évolution aromatique ayant déployé des parfums de viande rôtie, de tabac, d’herbes aromatiques multiples. Bouche puissante, encore mâcheuse. Grosses saveurs. Imprégnation et fraîcheur orangée. Splendide vin de classe mondiale.

Unfortunately a flawed Rionda Riserva 2009 in July 2021.

I recently an excellent/great Elio Sandri Barolo riserva Perno Vigna Disa 2013.
I think you can try your 2006 and 2013. They should be great.

Hoping it can help …

I haven’t had either, but, on pure speculation, basically what Otto said above PLUS the fact that Vigna Rionda, at least in my experience, tends to produce powerful and structured wines even for Serralunga standards.

Other than that, I’ve lost count of the times I opened a bottle of wine, including Barolo specifically, that, according to conventional wisdom, should have been completely unyielding, but was instead perfectly open and showing great, even if on the early side. Generally, I think questions about whether a particular bottle of wine is “likely” to be shut down at a given point in time invariably lead to little more than guesswork. Sure, such assumptions about a group of wines (“Barolo”, “traditional Barolo”, “modern Barolo”, “Serralunga Barolo” etc.) are often based on extrapolations about some perceived general tendencies. More often than not, though, even these extrapolations are, at best, very loose (“xyz Barolo tends to shut down very hard between age 5/6/7 and age 15/20/30/40” ). Only one way to really find out :slight_smile:.

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I fully concur. While every now and then I come across a Nebbiolo that feels very shut down (with a label / vintage I haven’t had previously, it’s hard to assess whether it’s the style or just a phase), but more often than not I’ve had wines that were drinking wonderfully, no matter the age.

I really don’t mind even if a wine is aggressively tannic and I can happily drink a just-released Nebbiolo from a very tannic vintage, so I really don’t have any problems opening up very young bottles. The only thing that keeps me from doing that is knowing how extraordinary an aged Nebbiolo can be. And I don’t talk about wines that are 10 years old (for some reason I see and hear quite often that Barbaresco would be at its best at around 8-10 years of age and Barolo at 10-12), but instead wines with 30-60 years under their belt. Although most likely I won’t be aging any of my recent purchases for that long, I’m still going to try to age them for as long as possible, because I know that opening them now would only let me see the tiniest glimpse of the wine’s full potential. And in the meantime try to source / taste as much old Nebbiolo as possible!

I had an excellent Barolo Marcarini 2017 in magnum last friday, ripe and softly firm, very approchable …

Well that just sounds like a typical 2017.

“Ripe”, “soft” and “approachable” are really not terms I want to hear in Nebbiolos I drink, which is why I’ve been avoiding 2017.