Massolino dirt

~ An up close look at the Massolino Terroir ~

Tuscan Snips Volume 10!  Wow,  that’s at least 60 reviews of wines including brief snippets of the estate’s history.  The last Tuscan Snips published in November, so it’s been a while.  For those wanting a bit of nostalgia, here’s the Inaugural version.  To begin this latest installment, I’m starting with a winery that first appeared in the original Snips.

Tenuta di Ghizzano lies in north west Tuscany close to Pisa. The estate sprawls for 180 hectares but most of that land is devoted to various agricultural crops. Only 18 hectares are devoted to vines and their entire production is bio-dynamic and certified organic.

~ Vines and Cypress on the Ghizzano Estate ~

The 2016 Tenuta di Ghizzano Veneroso is the flagship production of the estate.  A blend of 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cabernet that is  vinified in cement and then aged 18 months in tonneaux.  But what else you say?  Crushed old school, by feet!   The Cabernet is smoothly integrated here with notes of crushed cherry, rosemary, plums and mocha on the nose.  Flavors echo the aromas and lead to an enticing round mouthfeel.  It’s very pretty and perhaps a bit lacking in Tuscan terroir.  It reminds me of an excellent IGT blend from Bolgheri. 90 points.  Find this wine.

Veneroso Wine

~ The flagship wine of the Ghizzano Estate ~

When it comes to Barolo, few villages are more synonymous with the essence of the wine than Serralunga.  Poised within that valley is one of the greatest vineyards in the DOCG, Vigna Rionda.  Massolino is the largest owner of Vigna Rionda, but today, I’m looking at a Barolo from the nearby Margheria vineyard.

Massolino’s goal is simple and I love it.   Winemaker Giovanni Angeli presents it clearly.  “Wine is the ink with which we write an important page of history: for the territory, for our family, for those who choose a wine from our cellar and share it at an important time in their lives.”

The 2017 Massolino Barolo Margheria is special.   Of the family’s three Cru Barolo,  Margheria owes its approach ability to the volume of sand in the vineyard. The wine presents a medium violet color, but don’t be fooled!  After double decanting about an hour before dinner, the aromas were soaring. Crushed cherry, wild floral notes and hints of oregano and rosemary were wonderful.  On the palate, the fruit is sweet, ripe and fresh. Juicy cherry dominates from front to back with hints of mineral and mushroom in this dusty wine.  Tannins still shorten the finish considerably so in the grand scheme of things I’d cellar this 5 years before trying again.  But it’s so delicious now.  95 points. Find this wine and Support Tuscan Vines.

Massolino Barolo

~ The Massolino Barolo Margheria is the most approachable of their three Cru wines. That’s relative because this wine is substantial ~

The next wine remains a bit of a mystery.  I’ve not tried the instant wine in quite some time.  Here was my review on the 2004 which I aged until it was 15 years old;  mostly because I’ve come to believe this Cru needs substantial cellar time to show best.  That said, this wine has me second guessing that notion for two reasons.

The 2006 Felsina Rancia Riserva was recently shared by a friend.  As you can see, it was decanted for a lengthy amount of time to aerate and also remove sediment. It was pitch black in the decanter.  The wine was poured from magnum.   The aromatics in the glass were wonderful bottle sweet notes of leather, crushed raspberry, tobacco and spices.  It’s really attractive.  On the palate, the wine is soft and elegant. Tannins are fully resolved.  Rich cherry, worn wood, leather and mushroom are easily noted.  It seemingly lacks a bit of structure which makes it very ready to drink.  In the magnum format, I’d expect a more backward wine.  I can’t speak to the wine’s provenance but the cellar it was pulled from was impeccable.  Time to check in on this if you’ve got it.  90 points.  Find this wine.


~ The Felsina Rancia Riserva from Magnum ~

Fast forward to a new release of a favorite Gran Selezione.

The 2016 Famiglia Cecchi Gran Selezione hails from Castellina in Chianti.   A blend of 97% Sangiovese with small percentages of Canaiolo and Colorino, the color is a deep violet.  On the nose, with aeration, the wine displays deep aromas of black cherry, cured meat, dried herbs and a hint of vanilla.   Vinified in stainless steel, the wine is aged in a combination of tonneaux and cement vats before bottle aging one year.  The palate is fresh and lively with dried tobacco and salume providing contrast to the juicy cherry flavors.  It’s hard to go wrong here; especially at this price.  Impressive and artisan.  93 points.  Find this wine and Support Tuscan Vines.

Cecchi Gran Selezione

~ In the Gran Selezione category, this wine is a notable value ~

For the final part of this Snip, we’re heading back to Barolo and to a family whose wines I love for their approach ability and finesse.  Linked in my mind to Mosconi, which displays a powdery character I adore, I was curious to try this new release from the winery which is named for the winemakers Father, Armando.

Per Armando is a blend of grapes coming from the Cru vineyards of Mosconi, Bussia and Mariondino so it possesses excellent pedigree.  The wine spends 18 months in French barrique prior to release.

The 2017 Parusso Barolo “Per Armando” is a deep violet in the glass with a sunburst hue at the edge of the bowl.   On the nose, the wines is replete with cherry, raspberry, floral and fennel aromas.  In the mouth, the wine portrays a freshness that many presume are lacking in the 2017 Barolo but I haven’t come across that much.  Bright cherry flavors are juicy and dusty; traits undoubtedly coming from Mosconi and Mariondino.   There’s also cured meat and white pepper notes in this rather complex Barolo.  That said, the tannins are notable. Despite the large scaled fruit, the finish is really shortened right now.  Needs 3-5 years to begin to resolve.  93 points and a good value.  Find this wine and Support Tuscan Vines.


Parusso Barolo

~ The Per Armando is dedicated to the current owners Father ~

That’ll lower the curtain on Tuscan Snips Volume 10 – but stay tuned for much more new content coming soon.   Salute!

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