|~ Marcarini is located in La Morra, Piemonte ~|
6 generations. 1 singular purpose. And that is making excellent wines using modern methods, but conforming to the traditional time honored techniques of the Langhe.
The debate between the traditionalists and the modernistas has never really ceased in Piemonte. However, the ferocity with which the debate is engaged has lessened – coincidentally – as the string of exceptional vintages in Barolo has lengthened.
The chief departure between the two ideologies is generally viewed as how to best utilize oak; specifically, the size of the vessel employed. However, I submit that that’s more of a complimentary facet of the ideology, whereas the main driver of the decision is maceration time.
|~ Some of Marcarini’s seriously sloped vineyards ~|
Modernistas will use shorter maceration times, days or a week at most, which allows them to run off juice that is less impacted by Nebbiolo’s often significant tannins. This juice is then aged in smaller barrique and picks up tannins from the wood. Traditionalists extend the maceration time for weeks, perhaps as long as a month or more and extract every bit of tannin from the Nebbiolo grapes. As a result, they choose the largest barrels possible for aging, since the Botte will impart the least amount of character to a wine that is already full of tannin. It’s a matter of philosophy and style.
I enjoy both styles, within reason, and today’s reviewed wine falls in the more traditional camp, though not completely. In fact, Marcarini refers to themselves as a “modern, yet traditional, winery”.
The Marcarini estate covers 25 hectares and is situated in La Morra in Piedmont. In sourcing fruit for their Barolo, the family owns vineyard plots in La Morra comprising two of the areas finest vineyards, Brunate and La Serra. Each are bottled separately. The family practices organic viticulture and utilizes green manure and cover crop practices between vine rows to ensure the healthiest possible grapes which are strictly selected for their Barolo.
|~ Here you can see some grasses and cover crops beginning to emerge between the vine rows ~|
Brunate is one of Barolo’s most prized vineyards and is located on the border between the towns of Barolo and La Morra, although most of the vineyard is considered to belong to La Morra. Brunate features mostly southern exposure although some portions face southeast. The vineyard is about 25 hectares and sits at altitudes that range from 239 to 350 meters above sea level. It’s a large vineyard and plots are owned by some of the regions most notable winemakers including Vietti, Voerzio, Ceretto and Michele Chiarlo.
|~ We paired the Marcarini with Osso Bucco over risotto with porcini mushrooms, topped with slivers of Piedmont’s signature cheese, Taleggio ~|
Recently we tried one of the latest releases from Marcarini; the 2011 Barolo Brunate.
Given the youth of the release, I decided to double decant the wine about 60 minutes before dinner and I’m glad I did. That said, even from the outset, the aromatics from this wine are absolutely amazing. Loads of fresh cut flowers exude from the glass which are followed by crushed cherry notes, intense anise and soft worn leathers traits.
The delicate almost “thin” looking color of the wine should not mislead you. This Barolo is full bodied, with ample red fruit notes on the palate that blend with spice, tobacco and fennel notes throughout. The acidity is well balanced and the wine is more approachable than one would expect from Barolo in general and Brunate in particular; a nod to the openness and fleshiness of the vintage which reminds me a lot of the lovely 2008s. Yes, it’s tannic on the back end, but not intrusively so, and those fade away with the osso bucco. Will not be the longest aging Barolo, but there’s certainly no rush. 93 points and a nice value at $44.
|~ In traditional fashion, Marcarini macerates their Barolo for “at leat” 4 weeks, however their aging vessels, 20/40 hectoliters, are not as large as most traditionalists. Wood aging last 2 years ~|
May 3, 2016