This estate might as well have taken the entire 2002 growing season off, as ultimately they made only a bit of dolcetto and a bit of nebbiolo but no barbera or Barolo. "It was almost a lost year," said Maria-Theresa Mascarello. Of the three vintages I tasted, I liked the 2001 best; it was showing well after the recent bottling. The '99, which was a bit stunned by the bottling when I tasted it two years ago, still retains a dry edge and is not yet showing the richness of the best examples from this vintage. According to Maria-Theresa, nothing has changed here, except for the fact that the family did a light eggwhite clarification in 2000 and 2001 for the first time. (Robert Chadderdon Selections, New York, NY)
($110) Medium red with an amber edge. Aromatic nose combines strawberry, plum, tobacco and resiny oak, along with a whiff of dried flowers. Sweet on entry, then offers good cut in the mid-palate thanks to firm acids. Quite floral and aromatic through to the ripe but firmly tannic finish. A distinctly leaner, classic Barolo that appeared to grow drier with aeration.
($110) Good medium red. Complex aromas of dried fruits, leather, smoke and marzipan; less floral and more rustic than the 1999. But also sweeter and fatter in the mid-palate, with more tex ture and depth but less thrust than the '99. Offers a near-decadent sweetness that carries through on the back end, where the tannins are similarly sweet and broad. This was aged in four very old 25-hectoliter casks. According to Maria-Theresa, this wine was higher in dry extract than the '99.
Medium amber-tinged red. Highly nuanced nose combines plum, marzipan, leather, flowers, spun sugar and nutty oak. Concentrated, juicy and bright, with lovely sweetness buffered by firm but well-integrated acidity. Gripping and tightly wound; in fact, this quickly went into a shell in the glass. But this perfectly combines the sweetness of the 2000 and the structure of the 1999. Finishes with big, chewy, ripe tannins and notes of leather and tobacco.