in 2011 when the above picture was taken, this part of the Bartolo Mascarello parcel had lain fallow, and planted to a cover crop.
Now young vines pushed through the soil.
vineyards to walk. So I took my time in the rows there.
Near vines that wore their own rough quilt.
out of the wood that you choose.
There is no fining or filtering of wine at Bartolo, and everything is racked once a year with the exception of the Dolcetto, which is cold stabilized. When you think about it, one of the ways that the "style" of a Nebbiolo producer is determined is by the amount that they rack. Wines are exposed to a lot of air when they are racked. Exposure to air results in a different fruit character for the wine. A producer making the choice to rack less is also making the choice to preserve more primary fruit in their finished wines.
The fermentation typically takes place over 14-20 days, and generally the Nebbiolo is macerated for 30 days on the skins. Sometimes this takes a bit longer, as in 2010, when the Nebbiolo for the Barolo was macerated for 56 days. The Langhe Nebbiolo and the Nebbiolo for the Barolo are fermented and macerated in a similar manner and for a similar length of time, but the Langhe Nebbiolo grapes are harvested earlier from the vineyards and vinified separately. The malo happens in wood at Bartolo, and is not forced to start. They don't raise the temperature in the cellar to get it going. So usually the malo happens in the spring, as the temperature begins to rise naturally. The malo is not forced to finish, either. One vintage in particular was notable for a barrel that had a malo running for 3 years.
It was a good lineup of wine to taste as I settled into my seat and took the place in. A lot about wine is totemic. The way that we ascribe certain characteristics to a particular vineyard, or vintage, for instance, and then summon that totality to mind with a picture or a label. We let a part stand in for the whole.
But totems can work on a more personal level as well. There is a way that seeing a particular object can recall for you the whole of a place, its history, and your visits there. At least this is what I find happening for me.
There is a culture in that room.
And there are reminders of the people who support it.
People whom I feel lucky to spend time with.
On this visit Maria Teresa shared with me her frustration with a market that doesn't properly appreciate Dolcetto, a grape variety which "is delicate" and which "needs more work in the vineyard and cellar than Barbera or Nebbiolo even though it sells for cheaper." She also recommended decanting the Freisa off the sediment, which I will do the next time I am in Italy or Japan, the only markets it is sold in.