TN: Day 1 in Piedmont - Vietti, Prunotto, & Bartolo Mascarello


We arrived in Piedmont on Sunday afternoon and began our tastings the following morning. Our three tastings were all very nice and very different, in a good way. We ended the day cooking dinner at our AirBnB.
Tasting with Vietti
Our first stop on the trip offered us the opportunity to taste through the impressive 2013 lineup from Vietti. Luca’s wife, Elena provided us with a very nice tasting and with some details on their recent sale to American businesman Kyle Krause. Her perspective on the sale is that nothing at the winery is going to change, but with the availability of capital, buying vineyards/fruit more aggressively is more likely now.

Elena spoke passionately about their family history at the estate and how much tradition and family mean to them - which felt at odds with their sale to the Krause family. Regardless, it was a very nice tasting with some very nice wines. A great start to our trip.

  • 2016 Vietti Roero Arneis - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Roero
    Palate was lean and energetic with lots of florals and spice. I have not drank a lot of Vietti’s Arneis and much prefer it to the version from Bruno Giacosa - this one is much more crystalline with less sweetness. Very good. (89 pts.)
  • 2013 Vietti Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza La Crena - Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza
    This showed some cherry & strawberry on the nose with bits of oak peeking through. Palate was edgy, showed a bit of oak influence, & offered a fair bit of tannins. Give this another year or so to unwind, but should be an enjoyable wine. (88 pts.)
  • 2014 Vietti Langhe Nebbiolo Perbacco - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
    Showed really nicely. Aromatics of roses, cherries, and crushed stone were very inviting. Palate was open and fresh with great concentration and balance…a great value and will continue being a “buy” for me. (90 pts.)
  • 2013 Vietti Barbaresco Masseria - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
    Small production with only 3,900 bottles being produced. This was one of the darker wines of the Vietti tasting - more firmly grounded in blackberry/plum than with cherry/strawberry. Despite the darkness, I felt this was still very elegant. The palate was very structured with a lot of tannin still in place. Acidity was in a great place with kept the concentrated violet/blackberry notes in balance. Give this time, but it should be quite nice. (91 pts.)
  • 2013 Vietti Barolo Castiglione - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Loved the nose on this wine. Had the classic tar and roses that lots of Baroli offer - beautiful bouquet. The palate was very elegant…its tannins were silky and did not distract from the wine. There was also a neat iron/meaty note on the palate that reminded me, a bit, of something from Burgundy perhaps. Very good wine that should age nicely. (91 pts.)
  • 2013 Vietti Barolo Brunate - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Definitely a tightly wound Barolo at this point, but there is a lot to like. Aromas of sweet oak, meat, strawberries, and florals were very dense and beautiful. The palate was rigid and firm but offered beautiful fruit - primarily currant and cherry at this point. Undertones of meat, spice, & even some earthy notes made this a pretty exciting wine. Will need time, but should be great. (92 pts.)
  • 2013 Vietti Barolo Lazzarito - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Red-fruited nose with light, airy floral notes, some spice, & hints of iron. Palate was very nice - grippy like the Brunate, but much more juicy. Seems like it offers the same level of enjoyment of the Brunate without the firm structure - perhaps a wine that matures earlier? (92 pts.)
  • 2013 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Lovely floral nose with hints of spice, tar, & cherry. The palate is very well structured, but the tannins are very silky and additive to the wine. Great balance, and great concentration. A very elegant wine that should mature incredibly well. (92 pts.)
  • 2013 Vietti Barolo Ravera - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    My notes read, “this is a goldilocks wine - blending the structure of the Rocche with the approach-ability of the Lazzarito”. It also combined red and dark fruit very nicely along with a concentrated floral bouquet. My wine of the tasting. (94 pts.)

Tasting with Prunotto
I didn’t have much familiarity with Prunotto prior to this tasting, but tasting the mini-vertical of Colonnello was a great primer. To me, there seemed to be whisps of tradition baked into their more modernist wines. It seemed that, as a producer, their reliance on oak/barrique has been diminishing over the years - a trend we saw at another winery - so perhaps the pendulum is swinging again.

  • 2011 Prunotto Barolo Bussia - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    A very lush and dense wine. The red fruit was juicy and rich but I did not find it too captivating. (86 pts.)
  • 2011 Prunotto Barolo Riserva Bussia Colonnello - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Drank alongside the 2011 Prunotto Bussia. This was far more interesting and captivating than the Bussia from Prunotto - despite being divided by only a couple hundred of yards. The variance in location along with the soil composition of the subplot play a role in the Colonnello’s freshness and complexity. Thought this was very elegant with a nice combination of florals and red fruit. Palate was very nice…good integration of spice/fruit/florals. (90 pts.)
  • 2010 Prunotto Barolo Riserva Bussia Colonnello - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Lots of elegance and freshness. This was more floral than the 2011 Colonnello and had a really nice core of cherry/blackberry/lavender/spice. We debated whether this would eclipse the 2008 Colonnello and the general consensus was that it probably would not. That said, this was very good. (90 pts.)
  • 2009 Prunotto Barolo Riserva Bussia Colonnello - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Round fruit, nice concentration, and good structure. Felt that this was the least memorable of the Colonnello’s I tried. (86 pts.)
  • 2008 Prunotto Barolo Riserva Bussia Colonnello - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    In a nice spot. Drank alongside the 2009, 2010, & 2011 Colonnello, this was my favorite. Age may have helped, but this certainly had a cool fruit elegance to it that distinguished itself from its peers. Palate had very nice tension too. (91 pts.)
  • 2005 Prunotto Barolo Bussia - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    I was not too enamored with this wine. This was the final year that Prunotto used barrique and it was abundantly clear. Lots of espresso and charcoal notes on the nose with some lingering plum notes. The palate was tannic…and it was probably oak tannins as they were bitter and very drying. (75 pts.)
  • 1989 Prunotto Barolo Bussia - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Gorgeous nose with soaring aromatics of leather, tar, dark cherries, and mushroom. The palate was in great shape with some herb/spice notes, lithe florals, and silky tannins. Palate still had great tension, and concentration. A real testament to the wonders age can have on Barolo, this was thoroughly enjoyable. (92 pts.)
  • 2014 Prunotto Barbera d’Alba - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Barbera d’Alba
    Despite the somewhat challenging vintage, this wine came out pretty nicely. Dark cherries, violets, and spice on the nose with a nicely balanced palate of florals and red berries. Its tannins were in a good spot. Felt like a really nice burger wine. (87 pts.)
  • 2014 Prunotto Barbaresco Bric Turot - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
    Very nice! This had an elegant nose with great florals and cherry fruit. A juicy wine that retained its elegance. Could be a good buying opportunity as consumers look past the 2014s. (90 pts.)

Tasting with Bartolo Mascarello
We had a great cellar tour at B. Mascarello from Alan Manley. He was incredibly engaging and thoughtful and provided us with great background on this mythical producer. Talk about traditional…wine making decisions are made here by asking the simple question, “what would Bartolo do?” Such small production, it was an absolute pleasure to learn more about the estate and sample a couple wines.

  • 2015 Bartolo Mascarello Dolcetto d’Alba - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Dolcetto d’Alba
    Really nice nose of dark cherries, blackberries, violets, & spice. Its palate was spicy with plum, violets, and spice. Still very angular and edgy at this point - I would advise holding for another 1-2 years before digging in. (87 pts.)
  • 2015 Bartolo Mascarello Langhe Freisa - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
    1,800 bottles made.

A fizzy Freisa that has gone through subtle secondary fermentation. Some years, their Freisa does not go through secondary fermentation, but this year it had due to the sugar levels in the juice. Lots of cranberry, and sour cherries in the wine with loads of acidity. Very refreshing…a perfect pool wine. (87 pts.)

  • 2012 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    In 2012, fruit was lost from the Rue vineyard - a primary source for their Barolo. This is significant because the Rue is has a heavy clay composition which, typically, yields fruit that provide weight & concentration to their Barolo. Given the loss of fruit, the 2012 barolo is a light vintage. Loved the aromatics - strawberries, roses, some tar, bits of mushroom, & some darker floral notes. Its palate was so silky and refined, and while it may not have the weight of many other baroli, its flavor is still concentrated. Very impressive wine. (94 pts.)

Dinner at the House
After our first full day in Piedmont, we went shopping in Monforte for some food and cooked at home. Marc & Izzy whipped up a great meal which was paired with a bunch of wines - some were great, others weren’t. It was a great end to our first day in Piedmont.

  • NV Jacques Selosse Champagne Rosé - France, Champagne
    A stunning bottle of rose - as you come to expect from Selosse. Aromas were concentrated and deep with strawberries, cranberries, and mushroom. The palate was exotic and stylish with bright red fruit along with some of the classic Selosse oxidative charm. After a long day of tasting Barolo, this was the perfect palate cleanser! (94 pts.)
  • 2007 Domaine Roulot Meursault Les Meix Chavaux - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault
    One of the finer Roulot I can remember having. Everything seemed to be in harmony with this bottle - the aromas of sea salt, lemon, lime, & pear was exotic and crisp. The palate was so lithe and elegant, it reminded me (somewhat) of drinking mineral water. This, however, had much more going on than mineral water with kaleidoscopic tones of citrus, mineral, & fruit woven together. Delish! (95 pts.)
  • 2010 Domaine Ramonet Montrachet - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Montrachet Grand Cru
    A really special wine. My first time with a Ramonet Monty and I can clearly see its allure. Drank this following the 2007 Roulot Les Meix Chavaux, and while the Roulot was excellent, this was in a different league. A big and powerful wine, this had wonderful lime, lemon, & flint notes on the nose with a wonderfully density to the palate. Despite the density and concentration, it was insanely silky and elegant. A monument to Chardonnay. (99 pts.)
  • 2002 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut - France, Champagne
    Great champagne with lots of power and elegance. Love the toasty notes and the buzzing acidity to the palate. If you’re a fan of the Krug style, you’ll really like this vintage. (94 pts.)
  • 1981 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
    Corked. NR (flawed)
  • 1982 Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru
  • 1969 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino Speciale - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Brought from the States. Poured a dark brown color and had some sweet balsamic notes on the nose. We let this stand on the counter for a while, but it never turned the corner. NR (flawed)
  • 1966 Château Lafite Rothschild - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    Not a great Lafite, but a correct Lafite. Had echoes of its past self with subtle dark berries, graphite, & earth…but this was a tired wine. Basalmic and soy were present and most of us felt that this was a number of years on the downside of its arc. (86 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Ouch to have brought the Monfortino home for burial.

I had no idea Prunotto had a colonnello bottling - I vaguely knew they did a Bussia. A shame they didn’t show the Costamiole and Pian Romualdo Barbera wines. I do like the former.

Has Prunotto not use barriques on the Barolos since 2005? I haven’t really followed their wines.

Fantastic 1st day Matt. Try to find an 89’ Vietti Rocche you’ll love it.

2010 Ramonet Monty! Holy schisse.

Trip looks awesome Matt. Keep the notes/photos comin’

Just wondering - How did u get the vietti appointment? I emailed and got a 70 euro option which gives you a tasting of 2 barolos.
I’m just wondering if it’s an industry tasting you had (which is great but good to know) :slight_smile:

I wonder if that is a recent change? I just tasted out there in April. I emailed and set up a visit for tour and tasting. The fee was waived on purchase. My tasting was similar to Matt’s above.

Yah i just go to their website and emailed. their website outlines 2 options… i’m hoping it’s just a ‘formal’ setup… but when there it’s more casual… thank you for the note tho.

5 wines, of which one Barolo: €25 (per person)

6 wines, of which one Barbaresco and 2 Barolos: €70 (per person)

New American owner → the Napa model.

In nine visits to the area, the only producer I’ve ever encountered who charged was Cogno, €25.

Yah on Sunday there isn’t a lot of places open. Otherwise I probably pick somewhere else. Ah well no biggie

1966 Château Lafite Rothschild - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Not a great Lafite, but a correct Lafite. Had echoes of its past self with subtle dark berries, graphite, & earth…but this was a tired wine. Basalmic and soy were present and most of us felt that this was a number of years on the downside of its arc. (86 pts.)

Also a 1966. Sounds like me.


How were those old wines not like milkshakes with the sediment and travel? I can’t imagine traveling with an old red like that and expecting it to show well…

Why would you drink all that French wine in Piedmont?

Ditto in Piemonte - ours was Marchesi di Barolo, a sentimental visit because their’s was the first Barolo the brains of the operation tasted. No tour, just a tasting of some (IMO) fairly average wines, though credit to their person who noticed we were pouring dregs away after tasting (rather than skulling the wines), and brought a couple more bottles out. There will still be some sentiment for the wines, but they really need to up their game before I’ll buy any more.

The odd thing is that charging for tastings rarely means the wines are great, rather IME it indicates a larger / more commercial setup, where they are employing people from outside the family to run the tastings / tours and want to make money back on that. Even then places like Ratti don’t charge, and I sensed they were just proud to show off their space-age (for the region) cantina.

In many ways I’d prefer to pay a modest fee for tasting & tour, especially as baggage restrictions mean I’ll often only be able to buy a single bottle. The guys who deserve the fee don’t want to charge and would never accept an offer of one!

Strange, in exploring and setting up visits for my trip in a few weeks, it seems like tasting fees are more the norm than the exception.

Last time I was there nobody charged, but that was quite some time ago.

Where are you trying to go? I’m curious.

The Langheroero site used to list which charged tasting fees & how much they were. Worth checking if they still do.

Was it only a one day trip? [wink.gif]

I was there last week and, despite many wineries noting they charge a fee, only one did - Ettore Germano. Not sure if the others waived the fee because I bought a bottle or two, but I did not buy everywhere. We visited Oddero, Aurelio Settimo, Fratelli Allesandria, Schiavenza, Germano, Vajra, Cavallotto, Rizzi, Produttori del Barbaresco, and Cascina delle Rose.

Especially if carried from USA :astonished: