TN: 2018 Bartolo Mascarello Dolcetto

First time trying his dolcetto. Color was age and varietal appropriate. On the nose, fresh and vibrant, in an understated manner. Airy on the palate, with good cherry fruit and some acidic underpinnings to keep it lively. Balanced, well made and ultimately nice but I’m not sure I would be able to distinguish this aromatically or texturally from say a good cru Beaujolais, at about half the price. Will try a glass tomorrow to see if any different. Maybe expecting more given the label.

Only bottle I had was ~15 years ago. It was something like $40 at time, but figured I’d take it out for a spin.

Meh. Never bought another. Too many other good dolcettos out there.

The non-Nebbiolo wines from Bartolo, G Rinaldi etc are nice, but likely not worth the elevated price. Although the price is not the producer’s fault.

Yeah, I’ve had this exact bottle. It was really good. And at $37, I’ve had Dolcetto di Dogliani for $16 (Trediberri) that were just as good.

2018 is a pretty light / diluted vintage so it’s probably a below average vintage for this wine. I don’t drink a lot of dolcetto back home but I remember being pretty struck by the lightness of the Elio Grasso dolcetto tasting there vs. vintages '15-'17.

I think the Bartolo dolcetto is a good wine for what it is, but definitely not going to be super complex. The good thing about the bartolo dolcetto/barbera/etc is they are made in the style of simple and straightforward wines, whereas there are some dolcetto/barbera wines produced where I think the producer tries too hard to make it a serious wine.

1 Like

2018 is a light/diluted vintage? Just for Dolcetto? I thought it was a hot vintage.

Making a simple and straightforward vino tavola is all good. But with the retail market putting $37 on the Dolcetto and $50 on the Barbera? You can get some stellar wines in that range in (for example) Alto Piedmonte. If they are simple wines, they shouldn’t cost as much as “serious” wines. And I’ll repeat that there are some really lovely Dolcetto available for significantly less money. I think that is the bigger point.

Yes, agreed–my issue is with the value here. You can get same or better quality for half the money. If they are made in the “simple and straightfoward” style, as this clearly is, then it should be a $20ish bottle, not $48 which (IIRC) is what I paid at RWC. As Jon notes, though, probably not the producers fault.

I don’t think 2018 was that extreme in either direction in terms of temperature, but the rain was way above normal - most since 2002, and above 2014 levels.

Agreed that these are grossly over priced in the United States. However with Maria Teresa’s wines and G. Rinaldi’s wines, it is clearly not the producer making these expensive. These are actually very affordable ex cellar, the freisa and barbera are 14e and 16e ex cellar at both addresses. I don’t buy their dolcetto, but would guess it’s close in price to the freisa. Even the Baroli are relatively inexpensive ex cellar. This is the middlemen. Many producers have ex cellar similarly or a little bit less expensive dolcetto that is very good, and those prices of the United States are not as proportionately higher. Those are the ones I would buy stateside.

I think it’s important to understand, that Producers like Maria Teresa Mascarello and Marta Rinaldi still want to make wines for the table, and the non-Baroli are not supposed to be profound. They are supposed to elevate their food that they are being drunk with, and are not meant to be big lines. They serve that purpose very well; however, in the United States it’s at an unreasonable price.

If you are looking for producers who make larger scale dolcettos, I would recommend looking for producers in Dogliani. Chionetti and San Ferolo are excellent producers in that style. Brovia also makes one that is fuller bodied. These are not my preferred style of dolcetto, but are all quite good in a full bodied mode.

I wholeheartedly agree about Trediberri’s dolcetto. It’s Delicious and what I want in a dolcetto

Thanks for your TN.


Agreed. I also prefer the table wine versions for dolcetto as opposed to the Chionetti, et al–the leftover Bartolo did not gain any complexity 24 hours later, nor did I expect it to–but made my leftover braised lamb shoulder and mashed potatoes taste pretty darn good. Thank you for the Trediberri rec, have not tried that but will give it a swirl sometime. Thanks everyone for your comments. Greg

This year’s Dolcetto release was 11€, same as last year’s iirc.

I usually am with you on preferring a lighter style, but I was just given a 2015 Chionetti Briccolero to try and, while it was indeed fuller bodied, I found it to be very nicely balanced and quite easy to drink, very enjoyable. We had it with a bit of aged parm and it was delightful.

Is this ex-cellar price or cellar door price? Because 14-16€ ExC sounds high to me, for example (well, a few years ago) Produttori’s Barbaresco was less than that.


I can’t give you a definitive answer, but am basing my ex-cellar/ direct price/ cellar door (all meaning the same to me) based on my main local source for wine in the area who has a flat % markup for all wines for me. He has had a consistent % markup for a decade plus, and when I could buy the wines from the cellar door (05 and 06 Bartolo IIRC were 40e direct), his prices were always a stable % markup from that. I think MTM’s Barolo is 75e now direct. I no longer am able to regularly buy ex cellar from some producers (MTM being one of them). His markup may have changed, but based on other wines I can still buy direct from other producers, his % seems stable. Tim buys direct from MTM and he says the dolcetto is 11e. Freisa is 14 and Barbera 16 based on my math. I would expect those varieties to be more than dolcetto. Tim would know for sure how much they are. All those prices are well below what the US prices are for the wine. US prices are unreasonably high for all of her wines now. Ditto for G Rinaldi. I agree that 14e is high for a dolcetto, with many delicious versions being in the 8-10e range, and evidently MTM’s being 11e it’s on the higher end of the price spectrum for dolcetto. I think that wine is well worth 11e, but I can think of others as good for my palate for the same or less. Many of those are much cheaper here in the US than MTM’s. That said, I think overall there has been some price creep in the Langhe with most producers the last few years, and the new normal is a bigger number across the board.


Ex-cellar (or EXW) and cellar door prices are different. Cellar door means the price you can buy straight from the producer if you’re visiting. Ex-cellar is the price the producer is selling the wine to a buyer without any taxes or delivery costs, usually used for wholesale and importers. I’ve never seen a producer selling wines at ex-cellar prices when visiting the winery, they’re always much lower. And very few producers sell their wines at ex-cellar prices for private customers - or then they might have multiple ex-cellar prices and the higher ones (often pretty much the same as cellar door price) are for private customer. I guess this is what you call “direct price”?

For example when I visited Produttori del Barbaresco in 2015, their cellar door price for the Barbaresco was 16,50€. When I was working for an importer in 2016 and requested a price list from Produttori, their EXW price for Barbaresco was 13€. Some other smaller Barbaresco producers had ex-cellar price noticeably lower, at mere 7-8€, even when their cellar door price was more or less the same as Produttori, around 15-17€.

Thanks for the education Otto. With that understanding, I was referring to cellar door price or what I would buy it for directly from the producer at the winery. Learn something every day. Thanks!

Yes, great. That’s why I needed to check, because I see the term “ex-cellar” thrown around a lot but with varying definitions. Although it is a non-official term, it is in pricing context always used as a wine-exclusive synonym for Ex-Works (EXW) pricing - which is basically the lowest price a wholesaler / importer can get the wine. Since it’s a price that excludes taxes, these prices are not accessible to a private customer. And contrary to what many people believe, EXW and cellar-door prices are completely unrelated to each other. Many famous producers might have surprisingly low ex-cellar prices (say, around 15-25€) even though the secondary market price might be close to 100€. Since the producer knows their wines retail at 100€, they might sell the wine from their cellar door at the retail price to the visitors - i.e. many times the ex-cellar price - and thus simply taking the opportunity to maximize profits by knowing that there aren’t any lower prices available anyways.

But all in all, ex-cellar 14€ sounds quite a lot for the Dolcetto, but nothing impossible, since the wine normally retails in Europe at around 22-26€, but 14€ cellar door price sounds very plausible and I think at that price the wine is a very good purchase.

Here is available 2020 Trediberri Dolcetto. I haven’t tasted this one yet, but the 2019 was a fantastic pizza wine.

1 Like

I visited the cantina in Barbaresco in 2018 and IIRC the prices weren’t that low and nothing seemed “cheap.” The cantina is supposed to sell each producer’s wine at the same price as the winery itself, so it’s not like they take a spread. Did prices jump a lot from 2015 to 2018?

I’m not sure if I understood your question correctly. Which place did you visit? Which producers are you talking about? And I haven’t been following other than market prices lately, as I haven’t been ITB for years.