Andrew Guard

2016 Barolo Sarmassa 'Vigna Merenda', Scarzello Giorgio et Figli

The four small plots of Vigna Merenda that produce this wine come from the best part of Sarmassa. This 2016 is a majestic vintage; powerful and soil driven with a hint of iodine and tar with lots of chalky minerality. Very poised and composed with really lovely purity of fruit in the mouth. Suspended from a firm but lacy structure that lends this lovely texture and a real transparency here. Tobacco aromas emerge as well and on the palate there's really super ripeness here, layered, with later arriving cherry and dark plum fruit with a complex and sensual finish. This is a seriously great wine from a famous Cru.

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.

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.

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.