The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Fontodi and Bartolo Mascarello

Posted on | August 13, 2015 | Written by Will Di Nunzio | 1 Comment

will expertAlmost everyday I hear, “Will, what should I get?” or “There are just so many wines, I get lost, what’s good?” If you’re new to Italian wine, it’s completely normal to feel a little lost; the strange language, Italy’s 20 regions, its 3,000 different grape varietals, and then your own questions over whether you should drink or cellar wines can make choosing a wine feel overwhelming. It’s a lot to know and we too are constantly learning more and more about new wines being released and new ways of perfecting wines.

In the end, there are only a few wines that can consistently hold their own every vintage, just a few that can bring quality to the table every time, and even fewer that keep their estate’s traditions and show their maker’s passion. These producers’ wines are the ones that I champion and the ones that I urge my clients use as the foundation for their collections. Today are two examples of IWM staples, and these wines are always, always amazing!

Fontodi 2000 Flaccianello $169.00

Toscana – Sangiovese

In 1981, Giovanni Manetti, a talented winemaker in Chianti, made a very risky decision when he decided to bottle a mono-varietal Sangiovese wine and called it Flaccianello. Like Montevertine’s Le Pergole Torte, Flaccianello stood outside of the Chianti DOCG rules and regulations, but Giovanni was out to show just how impressive a pure Sangiovese wine could be. Over the years, Fontodi has revised Flaccianello’s vinification processes, and the quality of Flaccianello improved exponentially and, thanks to aging in barrique, the wine is smooth, round and rich—almost the perfect Super Tuscan. This wine is a real delight in the 2000 vintage, and it’s drinking right now. Only a few bottles remain in our cellar, if you are lucky enough to try it.

Bartolo Mascarello 2009 Barolo $129.99

Piemonte – Nebbiolo

Bartolo is the mecca of traditional Italian winemaking, and no producers have kept as firmly to traditional beliefs than Bartolo Mascarello did in his lifetime of winemaking. His daughter, Maria Teresa, has filled her father’s shoes quite nicely, and she is producing some of the best Barolo. She makes it, as her father did, in Slavonian oak casks—no barrique has ever or will it eve be used here—making for elegant, precise and beautiful wines meant to age a few decades. The advantage of a ripe vintage like 2009 is that it offers some approachability, which is a good thing especially for Mascarello because you normally can’t even look at them for 10 years. If you can resist a few more years and open this bottle towards the end of the decade, you’ll be blown away and will be glad to have saved a bit on the less popular vintages. Mascarello Barolos are all so great!


One Response to “Expert Picks: Fontodi and Bartolo Mascarello”

  1. Ted kramer
    August 13th, 2015 @ 1:44 pm

    2 of my absolute favorites. Cases of each in the cellar from the years my boys were born 🙂

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