“If you ask a resident of Serralunga to name the town’s three finest vineyards, one of the trio is sure to be Vigna Rionda … It is an historic vineyard. The quality of its grapes has been celebrated for hundreds of years and the greatest names in the Langhe have for many years made special efforts to acquire grapes from Vigna Rionda.”Slow Food’s A Wine Atlas of the Langhe (2008)
Vigna Riondais historically the most revered vineyard of Serralunga, the source of some of the greatest, finest yet most robust, and long-lived Barolo.The soil here is similar to Massolino’sParafadavineyard (limey/chalky marls), yet it is deeper again. There is more chalk and also a higher concentration of minerals and oxidised iron elements. The deeper soils, the altitude of 330 metres above sea level, and the protection from northern winds and frost that the south/southwestern slopes affords means thatVigna Riondahas a longer growing season than the other crus. 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. It also produces a wine with excellent acidity and tannins that require longer aging in botti and bottle. That is why it is released with a minimum six years of age.
The Massolino family are the largest holders in theVigna Riondawith 3.5 hectares (two planted to Nebbiolo) with vines in the 38- to 45-year-old bracket. The wines from this exceptional site begin life as a coiled spring, which is why Massolino releases it with extra age: at six years (for the standardRiservarelease) and ten-plus years for theDieci X Annirelease. With enough age,Vigna Riondablossoms into an intensely perfumed, ultra-fine, pure and succulent wine with very fine tannins. Galloni’s Musigny reference is very apt but forget about Bonnes Mares (that’s more theParafada!). We’re tempted to dig into a bag of superlatives here—and this is a release that would deserve every one—but let’s try to employ some restraint. Picking finished here on November 5, with the late harvest gifting a profound and powerfulVigna Riondaof intensity, lift and muscle. It’s exceptionally fine, with complex aromas of wild fruits floating over a dark, ferrous core. And yet it’s still so young—remarkable considering that it spent five years in large cask! Expect incredible purity and lift. Expect incredible and classical tannins. Expect incredible everything! If drinking now give it a good decant and serve it with appropriate foods. In the cellar, decades will not weary it!
“An embryonic, yet fascinating wine, the 2013 Barolo Riserva Vigna Rionda is both hauntingly perfumed and also massively tannic. There is no rush, as the 2013 won’t be bottled anytime soon. Nevertheless, it is fascinating to catch the 2013 at this early stage in its life. I have often written that Rionda is the Musigny of Barolo. In 2013, Massolino’s Rionda is like a top Musigny but with the tannic spine of a superb Bonnes-Mares.”93-96 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
“The Vigna Rionda in Serralunga d'Alba is measured at about ten hectares, and eight single-vineyard wines claim this provenance. Massolino counts a quarter of that total, making this estate the biggest landowner in Vigna Rionda. First produced in 1982, this is the ace in Massolino's rotation, and the 2013 Barolo Riserva Vigna Rionda is a true standout in the appellation. It is finer, more elegant and more compact than its peers, bringing a spicy personality that belies a profound and deep nature. It's still tense, a little nervous and has some cellar time ahead of it, but this is a beautifully precise wine. This cru site is composed of sedimentary layers of sandy, yellow and ferrous marlstone that absorbs the moisture well. The soils are poor in organic substances, and therefore, the vigor of the plants is naturally reduced, as are yields, resulting in extra concentration and richness. Vignarionda also reaches phenolic maturity earlier than other sites, but that does not necessarily mean that it is the first of the vineyards to be harvested. The wine is aged in very mild oak in order to maintain the purity of the fruit and the robust tannins that come naturally to it. This is a real treasure for your cellar.”97+ points, Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate #243