Andrew Guard


Scarzello Giorgio e Figli is a small gem of an estate housed right in the middle of Barolo. It was pure serendipity that led me to their door this year and I feel very lucky.

This diminutive, traditional, Barolo domaine owns a mere five and a half hectares, nearly half of which are in Sarmassa, one of the region’s top crus. Aromatically enticing, bursting with juicy sweet red fruits and irresistible silky textures.

Federico and his father, Giorgio, took the bold decision to make a wholesale replanting in the late nineties. In 2001 Federico - after completing his studies in winemaking and agriculture at the Scuola Enologica (School of Enology) in Alba and the University of Turin - took over sole running of the estate and set about taking it to the next level, adjusting certain aspects of the winemaking whilst remaining greatly respectful to the family’s traditional ways.

Today the winery has five and a half hectares planted to Nebbiolo, including 2.5 hectares devoted to the production of Barolo, 2 hectares in the famed Sarmassa cru of Barolo, and another half hectare in Terlo and Paiagallo, both highly coveted sites.

Federico uses traditional long maceration and large cask aging — the hallmarks of traditional-style Barolo — to make these elegant and long-lived wines. The estate’s top label, the Barolo Sarmassa Vigna Merenda, can spend up to 30 months in 25-30 hectoliter Slavonian cask

This traditional estate is now fast on the rise. The vines may be young, averaging just above twenty years old, but they are in good health and planted densely to lower yields. Federico recently bought a plot of 100 year old Nebbiolo, not a prime site, but the plant material was of the high quality Michet clone. He intends to use cuttings of this for future replantings. The wines are fermented with wild yeast and undergo long elevage before a further three years ageing in bottle. Scarzello’s wines demand time and are usually released at least a year or two later than those of their peers. In fact, further to that, Federico releases the wines when he feels they are ready and not in succession.

The wines are full to the brim of site specific character, charm, and power in equal measure. Federico’s work hails the re-birth of a great, traditional Barolo estate. If you are a fan of traditionally made Baroli then keep your eyes open for the wines of Scarzello. They are very special indeed

Written by Andrew Guard — October 10, 2017