It’s always a special treat to dine at Bacco Ristorante in Southfield, Michigan, and it’s all the more memorable when flights of brilliant Italian wine are included on the menu. I’ve had the good fortune to attend three such events, the most recent being a presentation of most of the selections currently available from the Piemonte producer Massolino.
Franco Massolino was in the neighborhood for two days prior to the event, working the market and promoting and selling his family’s wines with our good friend, Anne Keller, Midwest Sales Manager for Vineyards Brands. I was quite jazzed to be included in a select group of invitees to taste these wines in the best possible setting, with great food. (Click images to enlarge.)
The family estate was founded in Serralunga d’Alba in 1896, by Giovanni Massolino, and successive generations have carried on by continuing to expand vineyard holding and refining oenological and agronomical techniques that make these wines truly superb. Besides producing great Barolo, including three single cru vineyard selections tasted on this occasion, Massolino also makes terrific Chardonnay, Dolcetto, Barbara and Moscato.
Upon arriving, we were greeted by Franco and Anne with glasses of some delicious Chardonnay.
2013 Massolino Langhe Chardonnay, $29.99: Sleek and lean, with a nice kiss of oak gracing the bone dry Chardonnay fruit; rich and focused, more in the yellow spectrum than green, and showing excellent minerality. With great acids and very good length, this opens nicely, delivering more of everything as long as there is some left in the glass. 2,000 cases produced. Click here for technical information. Find this wine
2013 Massolino Dolcetto d’Alba, $21.99: Rich dark cherry, tobacco and mineral nose; sleek, rich, full bodied and bone dry, with earthy mineral. Generous and not bitter like some, due to the removal of up to 78% of the seeds during vinification. A great match with the quaglia (grilled quail, zucchini flan, Brussels sprout salad vin cotto, apricot gelee). 17,500 750 ml bottles produced annually. Click here for technical information. Find this wine
2013 Massolino Barbera d’Alba, $26.99: Dark plum, berry and cherry nose; big and very round, with earthy flavors that echo and expand on the promise of the aromas. Really nice now, and even better in a few years. 20,000 750 ml bottles produced annually. Click here for technical information. Find this wine
2012 Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo, $32.99: Pretty, earthy cherry aromatics follows through in the mouth with evident tannins that will take it some years down the road, yet don’t keep you from enjoying it today, especially with the marvelous spezzatino (grilled New York strip, roasted parsnips, tri-colored carrots, fingerling potatoes, vidalia onions, natural jus, sunchoke chips, pictured to the left). Produced from younger vines and declassified Barolo that isn’t quite so concentrated. 10,000 750 ml bottles produced annually. Click here for technical information. Find this wine
2011 Massolino Barolo, $52.99: Smoky dried cherry flavors and aromas; the gorgeous rich fruit is more than approachable, but this has a very fine future ahead of it. About 38,000 750 ml bottles and 500 1.5 L bottles produced annually. Click here for technical information. Find this wine
2009 Massolino Barolo Margheria, $93.99: The most elegant in its youth of these three single vineyard Barolos, according to Franco; tea and roses on the nose and gorgeous in the mouth, with wonderful balance. So nice now, yet so much promise. Vines average from 35-40 years of age. 5,500 750 ml bottles, 100 1.5 L bottles, 50 3 L bottles and 30 5 L bottles produced annually. Click here for technical information. Find this wine
2009 Massolino Barolo Parafada, $93.99: Very concentrated and chalky, with earthy red and black fruit on the nose. Deep, dark and earthy on the palate, with a note of tar that emerges with air. Vines average from 55-60 years of age. 4,500 750 ml bottles, 100 1.5 L bottles and 50 3 L bottles produced annually. Click here for technical information. Find this wine
2009 Massolino Barolo Parussi, $93.99: Perhaps the darkest in color of these three, if only a little. Lovely aromatics, almost floral, with black cherry, tobacco and tea that follow through beautifully in the mouth. Big and earthy, with a bright, long future ahead of it. Vines average 40 years of age. 4,000-5,000 750 ml bottles produced annually, depending on vintage . Click here for technical information. Find this wine
2013 Massolino Moscato d’Asti, $21.99: I don’t drink much Moscato d’Asti, and I almost never eat Crème Brule (Tahitian vanilla bean), but the pairing of these two is the proverbial “match made in heaven.” The wine is lovely, balanced and not at all cloying, a delight by itself, and paired with the marvelous dessert, it reaches a whole ‘nother realm of deliciousness. Yum! Vines average 18-22 years of age. 15,000 750 ml bottles produced annually. Click here for technical information. Find this wine
Many, many thanks to Anne Keller, Franco Massolino and Bacco’s Luciano DelSignore for an amazing food and wine experience.
Reporting from Day-twah,