Doug Polaner actually tweeted about this about a month ago but it’s now official: Rare Wine Co. in Sonoma has become Bartolo Mascarello’s U.S. importer. (I’m a trade wine buyer in California and so I receive price lists and today, I received a pre-offer for B. Mascarello.)
This is SUCH great news.
Historically, Bartolo Mascarello was imported by a wine trade dinosaur, who, by employing a form of racketeering, withheld the wine from scores and scores of honest buyers. You couldn’t just buy Bartolo Mascarello from him: you had to buy other lots that he selected himself. And in many cases, he blacklisted buyers. As a result, it became nearly impossible to obtain the wine in certain markets. Sadly, it would take me more than two hands to count the number of leading wine professionals in Texas who have never tasted these iconic bottlings.
The unmentionable importer was also notorious for trying to get journalists not to talk to winemakers he represented.
One of our country’s highest-profile wine writers recently wrote me that she was “one (of the many) constantly confounded by” him.
When I ate lunch at Maria Teresa Mascarello’s house in November, she still hadn’t decided who the new importer was going to be and I’m thrilled to learn that it will be Rare Wine Co., a liberal, forward-thinking company that treats its clients respectfully and caringly.
And I’m overjoyed that the wine – however expensive — will be readily available to the current generation of Italian wine lovers in our country.
This is great news.
Here’s a thread of my most recent posts on Bartolo Mascarello.
And that’s Maria Teresa below, posing for my camera in her home and “speaking” Barolo.