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Bartolo Mascarello is one of the top Barolo producers from the Piedmont region, and the story of this winery is one of the most unique and intriguing. Bartolo Mascarello joined the family wine-making business in the 1920s, learning from his father who had learned from his father before him. Bartolo defended the local lands against the occupying Germans in WWII, before dedicating his life to his winery. His 5 hectares are situated in Cannubi, San Lorenzo and Rué in Barolo, and Rocche in La Morra.
Mascarello espouses local winemaking traditions and is known for its non-conformist approach and its appetite for disruption. Bartello Mascarello himself was dubbed ‘the Last of the Mohicans’, along with fellow producers Teobaldo Cappellano and Giuseppe Rinaldi, for their refusal to move from traditional Slovakian barrels to the new voguish French barriques. This refusal brought an onslaught of criticism from the wine establishment in the 1980s and 1990s, as it went against the new trend for lighter wines that the barriques produced. His stubbornness paid off as today the wines are seen as iconic.
There was still more room for controversy when the winery started using ‘No Barrique No Berlusconi’ hand-painted wine labels. This anti-Berlusconi sentiment led to a much-publicised raid on a shop stocking Mascarello wines in 2001, for ‘displaying political propaganda’.
Bartolo Mascarello also espoused blending grapes from their various plots to guarantee consistent quality, rather than using grapes from a single vineyard only, stating ‘No single vineyard performs exceptionally every year, so it’s important to have vineyards in different areas for aroma, complexity and balance.’
Daughter Maria Teresa took over upon her father’s death in 2005 and continues to serve his legacy, making this much-revered classic Barolo.
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