Last month, I attended a virtual tasting via Zoom titled Barolo Crus – A Date with The MGAs.
Menzione Geografica Aggiuntiva – MGA – refers to specific sites and communes within the Barolo DOCG – Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita – which came into effect with the 2010 harvest.
There are currently 170 MGA sites and 11 communes in Barolo. The specificity accorded by MGA does not however suggests it is superior in quality to another Barolo without an MGA. The proof will always be in the tasting, not what’s on the label per se.
Barolo Crus – A Date with The MGAs was flawlessly organised under the ageis of Wine Safari Italia (Instagram: @WineSafariItalia), and helmed by Singapore Italian wine authorities CHAN Wai Xin (www.winexin.sg/author/chanwxin) and Jessica Tan (www.singapoured.com).
I often mistake mature – 30 or more years – Barolos as Burgundy in blind tastings.
Their colour is almost always bright ruby (even with the passage of time) and the fruit – tending red – is also reminiscent of evolved Pinot Noir although Nebbiolo does not usually – although it can – gravitate to “forest floor”.
Young and youthful Barolo also recall Burgundy. It was, therefore, gratifying to discover – during the Zoom tasting – many of the producers/representatives of Barolo MGAs associating their wines with Burgundy.
Castello di Verduno Barolo DOCG Massara 2016
Light ruby with a hint of brown/orange. Scented. Red fruit including strawberries and red cherries and a whiff of candy floss. A grip of tannins on the end. Elegant and balanced.
G.D. Vajra Barolo DOCG Bricco delle Viole 2017
Ruby/light red. Red/blue fruit with a hint of violets and candy floss. Freshness and balancing tannins with a lovely softness on the finish. Burgundian like. The vines were planted in 1931 and 1949 and, since 1971, the vineyard has been certified organic.
Terre Miroglio Barolo DOCG Cannubi 2013
Ruby/light red. Delicate strawberry/raspberry fruit and autumn leaves. The most Burgundy like of the trio tasted so far. Very fresh but a touch austere on the finish.
Conterno Fantino Barolo DOCG Ginestra “Vigna del Gris” 2017
Ruby. Red berry/cherry fruit. Medium-plus richness of fruit and tannins. Good persistence. Hallmark freshness of Nebbiolo. The wine recalls Burgundy again.
Achille Boroli Barolo DOCG Brunella 2015
Ruby. Floral, roses. Kirsch cherry fruit and spice. The tannins are rich. Very fresh. A dash of bitterness on the finish. Brunella is a monopole. The first vintage of this full-bodied Barolo was 2013.
Attilio Ghisolfi Barolo DOCG Bussia Bricco Visette 2016
Ruby. Raspberry fruit of intensity, persistence, and finesse. Ripe, long tannins. Aged in large Slovenian oak barrels – as big as 2,500 litres – instead of barriques. Very impressive Barolo which Burgundy would proudly claim.
Gian Piero Marrone Barolo DOCG Bussia 2017
Unlike in Bordeaux where it was challenging, 2017 was a hot vintage in Barolo. Ruby. Ripe fruit, including raspberries and violetty notes. Very fine and elegant. Seamless transition between fruit, tannins, and freshness. Family-owned with fourth-generation producing exemplary wines.
Ettore Germano Barolo DOCG Cerretta 2017
This was the most tannic of the line-up. Rich fruit – including cherries – and rich tannins. Apart from being the most tannic, this was also the most masculine wine.