Giuseppe Mascarello

About the Producer: 
The French term cru sums up the elements of a vineyard: “site, soil, climate, grape varieties, techniques, quality, and reputation,” as the eminent enologist Emile Peynaud defined it. Since a precise equivalent doesn’t exist in other languages, the term has been widely adopted, though perhaps nowhere outside of France is the concept as deeply rooted as in Piedmont. Mauro Mascarello can show that his prime vineyard of Monprivato was recorded in the archives of Castiglione Falletto in 1666, almost two centuries before Barolo was conceived as a dry red wine by another French enologist, Louis Oudart . Renato Ratti in the 1990 edition of his respected vineyard map of Barolo rated Monprivato as one of ten “first category” sites. Mascarello, whose family had owned a part of Monprivato since 1904, first used the name on a label of Barolo from 1970, finally bringing his holdings to a mojor share of 6 hectares with the purchase of a second plot in 1985. He maintains that Barolo’s best vineyards produce wines that are intrinsically rich in flavor with softer, sweeter tannins than from lesser sites. But he insists that yields must be limited to extremes to show virtues that are best maintained by traditional methods of minimal intervention in the cellars. Monprivato, from a privileged position along Barolo’s central valley, shows rare splendor from superior vintages, when it seems to strike a median between the potency of wines from villages of Monforte and Serralunga to the south and east and the gentility of those from the towns of Barolo and La Morra to the west. Yet from minor vintages Monprivato sometimes fails to rise above the level of the ordinary. Mauro Mascarello, who owns 17 hectares of vines in the Alba area, has his main cellars at Monchiero west of the Barolo zone. Working with his wife Maria Teresa and son Giuseppe, he makes 40,000-50,000 bottles of wine a year, including Barolo Villero and Santo Stefano di Perno, and Barbera and Dolcetto d’Alba DOC.