1998 Bartolo Mascarello tasting notes (no cause for alarm)

When I tasted the 1998 Bartolo Mascarello last month in Houston, I was frankly disappointed by the amount of sediment in the wine, probably due to recent diassociation rather than issues at bottling. I’ve followed the wines for years now and have visited and tasted with Maria Teresa Mascarello on a number of occasions. These are wines conceived and produced for long-term aging and my suspicion is that the wine I had tasted in Texas had been damaged in some way (possibly heat exposure?).

When I went to California in August, I grabbed one of the few bottles of 1998 Bartolo Mascarello that I have in my cellar (I keep my wine locker in San Diego, where it’s less expensive to store wine and where I have access limited by distance, thus precluding and preempting impulsive visits!).

I’m happy to report that the wine (as can be seen in the photo above) showed beautiful and is still very young in its evolution. No issues with sediment whatsoever.

I snapped the above photo when I visited the winery a few years ago. In my view of the world, Bartolo Mascarello’s wines are a benchmark in Langa wines, where steadfastly traditional growing and winemaking practices align seamlessly with elegance and depth.

The 1998 is still very tannic in character but is already revealing some of its gorgeous fruit. I plan not to revisit my remaining (and sadly dwindling) allocation for at least another five year.

But no regrets here, coyote. Just keeping the world safe for Italian wine… thanks for reading…

4 thoughts on “1998 Bartolo Mascarello tasting notes (no cause for alarm)

  1. This is a major gap in my wine resume, J. Never had a Bartolo M. I have a bottle of 2005, which brings me two questions: 1) We’re talking years down the line, no? And 2) How much has changed since the great man passed away?

  2. Here are my tasting notes on the 1999 tasted blind:

    Clear and bright with pale ruby orange core out to a orange watery rim. Clean with aged aromas of seeder and loamy undergrowth and older oak. Dry with medium plus to high tannins and cranberry and orange peek and some cedar. Excellent acidity and a long finish. 1980’s Barolo and maybe older? Soft but hard.

    1999 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo – this one was nailed by a group member as a “banker” or a wine that is so iconic that you need to get it immediately. Maybe not the vintage or the producer, but definitely region. I thought it was older than it was but definitely thought it was from a traditional producer and would probably have said Mascarello given the choice. A true and perfect expression of nebbiolo that could go for another 20 years, easy.

  3. Evan, I’ve followed the wine for many years now and I think that most would agree that Maria Teresa has done a superb job of taking over the winery without losing the continuity with her father’s vision. The joke they tell when you visit the winery is that the only difference between the era of Bartolo and that of Maria Teresa is that now there’s a telephone (it’s her name, she points out because her father would never install a phone in his own name; when I write to her, I have to send the emails to her cousin at the Hotel Barolo who prints the emails out and walks them over to her).

    The 2005? A ripe, warm vintage for Piedmont… Personally, I wouldn’t begin touching the 2005 until 2015-2017… It’s been a while since I’ve tasted it (at Vini Veri) but definitely a 20-year wine if not longer…

    Justin, our palates align almost seamlessly… thanks for sharing this…

    Vinogirl, I’m pretty sure that the bottles I opened (at a wine dinner) in Texas had been heat damaged. It was as if the wine’s aging had been accelerated. Honestly, the wines were gorgeous and they tasted more like 30 or 40 year old Barolo… they were stunning in fact…

    thanks for reading and commenting yall! :)

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