Book Excerpt: Alessandro Masnaghetti’s Barolo MGA Vol. 1 – Third Edition
BY ALESSANDRO MASNAGHETTI | OCTOBER 04, 2023
In this excerpt from the third edition of his book Barolo
MGA Vol. 1 - The Encyclopedia of the Great Vineyards of Barolo, Alessandro
Masnaghetti shares some of his extraordinary research on the nuances and history
of Barolo’s great vineyards. Beautifully illustrated, with dozens of detailed
maps and graphs, the third edition is an essential resource for readers who
love the great wines of Piedmont.
According to the local people and local history, the area
known as Gattera covers both sides of the hill with the famous Lebanese cedar
tree at the top, which for more than a hundred years has been associated with
the Barolo hills and their image more than anything else.
The west-facing side, with its gentler slopes and deep,
evolved soils, now falls within the Annunziata MGA and is known for the quality
of its Dolcetto. The opposite slope faces the direction of Castiglione Falletto
and falls instead in the Gattera MGA. It was mentioned on Renato Ratti’s map
under two different names: Le Turnote, to the left of the Cordero di
Montezemolo winery, and Monfalletto, which refers to the hill with the Lebanese
cedar on it and the south-facing slope immediately below the road, also known
as Turna Lunga.
As is more easily visible on www.barolomga360.it, within the
Gattera MGA are more specific areas like Bricco, Gorette, Muscatej, Cà Veje,
and finally Funtanin, which as the name suggests is known for its good water
availability. Within Funtanin is an even more specific vineyard, now officially
demarcated and known as Vigna Bricco Fontanile, from which the Angelo Veglio
winery produced the Barolo of the same name between 1990 and 2009 (though I’m
not certain on this final year). The same vineyard is now a single-MGA wine,
under the name Barolo Gattera.
Lastly, Cordero di Montezemolo’s Barolo Monfalletto also
deserves a mention, which in theory should not have a place on the table below
since it’s been produced for several vintages now with a blend of the Gattera
and Bricco Manescotto MGAs. That said, it remains in my opinion one of the most
symbolic wines of this area and for this reason I decided to include it. The
savory tannic structure and even more so the unmistakable truffle note that
develops with age is typical of this and other Barolo wines from this MGA.
This is perhaps the most important news in the world of
Castiglione Falletto’s MGAs while simultaneously being one of those cases where
adequate insight is actually difficult to provide.
There are in fact few historical references relating to this
area, whose name (probably derived from a person’s name) first appeared around
the mid-1800s in connection with a vineyard cultivated in this area by a family
living in the Codana hamlet.
Since then, we must go back to 1998 to find another significant
event relating to it, namely when the commune of Castiglione Falletto
deliberated the first subdivisions of its vineyards into separate zones from
which the MGAs would later emerge in 2010. Among these was Valentino, whose
boundaries have remained unchanged since then, also because they are very easy
to trace both on paper and on the ground: on one side Brunella, on the other
Monprivato and on the other Fiasco and Codana.
Its position is therefore rather cool and closed off and, in
the past, has always boasted quite a wide spectrum of varieties, from Dolcetto
to Grignolino (Francesco Sobrero) and Freisa (Giuseppe Mascarello e Figlio).
The latter is the only grape variety for which consistent traces still remain.
In recent years, there has been a surge in Nebbiolo plantings, particularly
destined for the production of Langhe Nebbiolo which is now largely in the
The most recent and most important news to which I alluded
earlier, is the fact that from the 2020 vintage, Mario Cordero (previously of Vietti)
his sons will release a Barolo Valentino for the first time. Subsequent
vintages seem to express the character of the area even better, with the
emphasis on an agile, dynamic structure. Before this, Vietti’s Barolo
Castiglione was the only Barolo which considered incorporating a small
percentage of Valentino in the blend, followed more recently by Francesco
Sobrero’s Barolo Ciabot Tanasio and Achille Boroli’s Barolo del Comune di
Barolo MGA Vol. 1, 3rd Edition - The Encyclopedia of the
Great Vineyards of Barolo is available through The
Rare Wine Co and Alessandro Masnaghetti's website.
© 2023, Vinous. No portion of this article may be copied, shared or re-distributed without prior consent from Vinous. Doing so is not only a violation of our copyright, but also threatens the survival of independent wine criticism.
You Might Also Enjoy
Book Excerpt from Alessandro Masnaghetti’s Chianti Classico: The Complete Atlas of the UGA Vineyards, Alessandro Masnaghetti, July 2022
Book Excerpt - Barolo MGA Vol. I: The Barolo Great Vineyard Encyclopedia, 2nd Edition, Alessandro Masnaghetti, September 2018
Book Excerpt: Barolo, MGA Vol. II, The Birth of an Appellation, Alessandro Masnaghetti, February 2018