There’s a bottle of wine that is among the most sought after in the world, not just for the quality of the product itself (that is also extraordinary). We are talking about the legendary Barolo of the great Bartolo Mascarello, who in the last years of his life used to spend his time painting by hand some of the labels of his precious Barolo. Some of the labels from the vintage 1999 are painted with the famous sentence “No Barrique, No Berlusconi”, a short manifesto that in two words contains both the political view and winemaking philosophy of one of the most celebrated winemakers in the Langhe area.
Bartolo, who passed away in 2005, went through different periods of the history of Barolo. His dad, Giulio, who was son of Cantina Sociale di Barolo’s director, established his company in Barolo in 1919, starting to bottle part of his own production, while all the other small producers kept selling for cheap their grapes to the few big companies in the area. Giulio made a key investment in 1930, buying plots in the well-known Cru Cannubi, San Lorenzo and Ruè.
When World War II ended, Bartolo started to work alongside with his father in the winery, continuing and improving the tradition in the production of a Barolo of great intensity, structure and finesse. According to the tradition of house Mascarello, Barolo has always been produced using the grapes coming from the different vneyards, in order to obtain a complex but balanced wine, although in the 80s the main trend was the production of “single-Cru” wines. In fact, during the 80s and the first years of the 90s, great changes occurred to this historical region. Many young producers started their own fight against the “traditional Barolo”, proposing wines that are more concentrated, soft and with an excessive vanilla flavor deriving from the process of ageing in new French oak barriques.
Obviously, Bartolo proclaimed himself the defender of Barolo tradition, together with Giuseppe Rinaldi and Teobaldo Cappellano. The three of them nicknamed themselves “The Lasts of the Mohicans”.
Anyway, Bartolo never let the fleeting trends influence him and for his entire life he kept producing the great wines that made the history of the Italian wines.
Today his daughter Maria Teresa carries on the family tradition with great ability, determination and passion. She has the same combative character that was typical of her father and she demonstrates it with her brave defense against the law that in 2011 wanted to enlarge the Cannubi denomination.
Maria Teresa’s approach to winemaking is the same of her father: low yields, the use of ripe grapes coming exclusively from their own vineyards, no chemical intervention in the vineyards, long maceration, and use of big Slavonian oak casks for aging the wines. The wines obtained are always characterized by a superlative finesse.