M. Marengo Barolo Bricco Viole 2014
I believe Marco Marengo is the happiest man in the world.
True, he owns several vineyards in Barolo, so he should be one of the happiest men in the world. But it’s more than that – he is one of those people who is just happy, always smiling, able to graciously laugh his way through any conversation no matter the language, even though he only speaks Italian.
The morning we met him, he cheerfully told of how he drove his son up to a football game the night before, read a book in the car while his son partied at the bars, and then drove him home at 4 in the morning. This all while smiling, waving and leaning out the tower of his tiny vinicola at 8 am the same day.
And I also have something very special laid away for you – the single vineyards (cru Barolos) of Marengo’s production – Barolo Bricco Viole, Barolo Brunate, and old-vine Brunate Riserva. Here is how this works:
In the old days (pre-1980), most Barolos were blends of many different vineyards. This was probably because nobody really had enough money to have a significant amount of any one single vineyard. They’d been passed down for generations, but usually just a couple of rows of vines here, some there, etc. In fact, most wineries didn’t really exist – everyone brought their grapes to the central crushing facility in the village and cooperatively made Barolo. Everyone in Barolo always knew which vineyards were the best, but hardly anyone bothered to ever make them the best.
With the advent of the Barolo Boys post-1980, things changed. Among many dramatic changes were the separation of vineyards into finished wine. Now, most producers, including Marco, follow this nearly Burgundian pattern. There is a “classic” Barolo, which is a blend. Then there are the single vineyard Barolos. Here, a vineyard is known as a Cru.
In addition to having a classic Barolo, Marco has two Grand Cru Vineyard Barolos as well – Bricco Viole and Brunate. Here they are:
Bricco Viole is on the geological epoch in Barolo that is rich blue clay soils. This matters (and is intensely noticeable) because of the perfume. There is something about Nebbiolo that loves to grow on blue clay. When you open a bottle of the Bricco Viole, it practically explodes with so much dark cherry fruit aromas. It is like the classic Marengo Barolo, but turned up to 11. The Morello cherry character is so intense it fills the nose. Layering in is this stunning array of red flowers, starting with violets but ranging to whole fields of wild roses. The palate is not sweet, mind you, but perfectly balanced fruit character backed with ultra-fine silky tannins. It’s a gorgeous Queen of a Barolo, regal in every way.
Maybe the best way to think of Brunate Barolo is that it plays the King to Bricco Viole’s Queen. Here the soil is Rocche – full of rocks – and exists in a much more granitic geological epoch. The result is a Barolo of power and structure. Whereas Bricco Viole has intense perfume, here the sensuality is on the palate – a finely woven web of Barolo’s structural elements creates a mouth-filling, savory richness of flavors that is gorgeous to experience. Even after you swallow, the wine goes on and on into a minutes-long finish. For years Brunate has been the wine that exemplifies the traditional saying that Barolo is “the wine of Kings and the King of wines.”
And the Riserva? Marco owns a plot of very old vines within Brunate. In specific, i.e., great, vintages, he will bottle these vines separately and age the resulting wine longer – a true Barolo Riserva. As great as his Brunate is, the Riserva amplifies it in both depth and richness. It is stunning Barolo.
And hey! This offer gets even better. We will be doing a “study-hall” tasting of these wines on Friday March 29 – at both locations. The Brady Street location will host the wines from noon until 4 pm, Delafield from 5 – 7 pm. Cost for the tasting is $10
credited against a purchase. We will see you there!
Or, if you like, you can just purchase them straightaway, right now! Cheers.