Barolo lovers will need no reminding: 2016 was an epic vintage, producing a stream of breathtaking wines. First bottled as a single cru in 1982, 2016 marks the 35th vintage of Massolino’s benchmark Barolo, Vigna Rionda, and even those who know this wine intimately will surely not have tasted a greater expression.
The sheer quality achieved this this year has led Massolino to introduce a new, all-black label, which henceforth will only be used for very greatest years of Vigna Rionda. There has also been a price rise on this special release of Massolino’s premier wine. All we can tell you is that the wine is wonderful and worth every penny.
Most will know that Vigna Rionda is arguably the most revered vineyard of Serralunga, and the source of some of the greatest, finest and most long-lived Barolo of the region. The Massolino family took ownership of their first parcel in 1956 and new parcels were purchased in 1967, 1985, and 1987, taking Massolino’s holding to the 3.5 hectares of vines (two are planted to Nebbiolo) they own today.
Some of the oldest terrain in Barolo, the soil here is similar to the Parafada vineyard, yet it is deeper and more complex again, with more limestone (up to 13%) and a higher concentration of minerals and oxidised iron elements. The altitude is 330 metres above sea level, and south/southwest aspect offers protection from northern winds and frost.
All these factors combine to produce a terroir that generates wines with an optimum balance of perfume, finesse and structure rarely found elsewhere in Barolo. These factors also produce wines with excellent acidity and tannins that require longer aging in both botti and bottle. This is why Massolino’s Vigna Rionda is always released with a minimum six years of age.
This is clearly a very special Vigna Rionda. It’s a rich, layered wine of enormous depth and power, yet also great finesse. It’s unique, perhaps a little like 2010 or 2004, but with more structural power. The note below tells you all you need to know about the quality on offer.
“The 2016 Barolo Riserva Vigna Rionda is absolutely stunning. Deep and statuesque in bearing, the 2016 captivates all the senses from start to finish. A whole range of Rionda aromatics soars out of the glass. Silky and yet powerful, gracious and yet full of gravitas, the 2016 captures all the contrasts that make Barolo such an alluring wine. Rose petal, lavender, red/purplish fruit, spice and new leather lend striking nuance to this hypnotic Barolo from Massolino.” 97 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
“Packaged with a special black label, the Massolino 2016 Barolo Riserva Vigna Rionda is only released in the best vintages. Showing the power and the determination of Serralunga d'Alba, the wine is redolent of dried berry, lots of rusty earth and fragrant red rose. These are the typical aromas of this vineyard, and this wine presents them with impeccable integration. To the palate, this Riserva remains open-knit, tightly structured and broad in scope.” 97 points, Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate