Cascina Massara is one of the older wineries in Verduno, a township in the upper west side of the Barolo area, a little bit in a remote position. Less notorious than the other townships, but certainly worth some attention. First of all elegance is the middle name of most of the wines of Verduno. Not fully structured, a little more fruity or floral aroma’s but all with a great finesse. Secondly they have an appellation of their own, the Verduno Pelaverga, exclusively for the old authentic red Pelaverga grape, and thirdly for the nice village itself, absolutely worth a visit. The cantina is situated in the village itself and has a rather big cellar, built in 2007 according to modern standards. They use the more traditional way of creating a Barolo, with an ageing on “grande botte’s” in an underground area, where the naturally-conditioned climate preserves and improves its features. Gian Carlo has been working like this since the 1970ies and he and his son Gianluca are not planning to change this, and why would they? The wines we tasted were great.
One of the first wines we tasted was the autochthonous red grape Pelaverga with a pleasant, mineral taste and perfume, with some hints of white pepper, and a very orange colour. Riped in inox casks, this wine is perfect to pair with some antipasta or even with fish. They said some people have some difficulties to distinguish it from white wines when tasting it blindly. If you want to show off by having something special to pair with your fish dish, this is your wine. Especially with some oily fish, to clean the mouth. They also told us in ancient times this wine was an aphrodisiac and they had to send some bottles to the Vatican every month, except in Lent. We didn’t try that though.
The second wine worth mentioning is the Vino Rosso Carlin. We tasted the 2007 and 2009 and they gave the impression of … a real Barolo, and when they told us they call this wine ‘The lost Barolo’ we knew why. In these years they had some overproduction and they decided to bottle this overproduction as a Vino Rosso (every winery can create a maximum of Barolo each year). And with the typical orange fringed, floral nose and lots of tannines and pepper in the aftertaste this is a typical Barolo. We did already one blind tasting in which we could’t distinguish this one from other basic Barolo’s.
So Cascina Massara is definitely worth a visit: to taste these two special wines, but also to visit a more ‘classic’ winery, respecting the proven methods of former times, combined with a modern cellar. They have their own Cru Massara, close to the winery, but only create a general Barolo, nothing special. Like we said, the classic way.