2013 Massolino, Barolo DOCG Riserva, Vigna Rionda, Serralunga d’Alba, Piedmonte, Italy.
Massolino’s Vigna Rionda Riserva 2013 is remarkably involved and tight as nails, more like a 2010, than what I expected from the more generous vintage, but that said this bottle is outstanding Barolo that will cellar another 25 years and will prove rewarding to those that have hit tucked away. So shy and austere to start, once opening up this pure Nebbiolo takes you on a journey in the same vein as a Grand Cru Burgundy in terms of class and depth, gaining in all areas from nose to finish and everywhere in between with a powerful structural presence in the glass to go with this wine’s dark garnet hue, this is very serious stuff. The mouth and full bodied impact are clearly terroir influences, with Vigna Rionda’s signature intensity, this vintage shows damson plum, black cherry, currant and mulberry fruits along with hints of tar, briar, anise, grilled orange, dried flowers, chalky earth and sandalwood. The tannins are drying and add a taut backbone, this Barolo is very classic and old school without the more modern luxurious smoothness that some Barolo show off these days. The 2013 Massolino Vigna Rionda Riserva is capable of greatness, best to give it another 3 to 5 years at least, but if you do pop the cork here I highly recommend an hour or so in the decanter and serve it with a robust meal and or meaty dishes to get the very best experience. Coming from 50 year old vines set up at over 300 meters above sea level the Vigna Rionda is a complex, ripe and concentrated wine, making it one of the region’s biggest and most coveted stars!

Sometimes overlooked, Massolino is one f the elite producers in the Langhe and have a long history, dating back to 1896, in making Alba’s famous Barolo and the family was instrumental in forming the establishment of the Consorzio di tutela Barolo e Barbaresco in 1934, as well as recognizing the quality of Dolcetto in Dogliani. In was also, according to the winery, that in 1934 that they started bottling small amounts of estate wines. Massolino first acquired their flagship parcel of Vigna Rionda back in 1956, with Giuseppe, the grandfather of the current Massolinos, falling in love with the cru Vigna Rionda, which at that time was lesser known. Massolino is all about the Serralunga d’Alba region and their holdings and wines represent this area to perfection. The first Barolo DOCG Vigna Rionda Riserva was back in 1982 and remains the most collectable wine in the Massolino collection, and not wanting to rest on their laurels they continued to buy up plots in the Vigna Rionda, adding more vines in 1985 and 1987. In recent years, Massolino have built new cellars and have purchased hillside vines in Barbaresco to expand their Nebbiolo offerings. The Vigna Rionda, which dales back 1340, got its name from the rounded shape of the hill where it is located, near Serralunga d’Alba and is set on clayey marl mainly with classic limestone and sand, being formed from ancient seabed and millions old year old marine sediment. The Vigna Rionda Riserva, a blue chip wine for collectors, was made with a long fermentation and maceration in oak vats and then aged in large Slavonian oak barrels for up to 42 months, as the winery notes, after which this Barolo saw a further 24 months in the bottle, allowing for a wine of awesome potential as this one certainly has.
($189 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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