2005 G. Mascarello Barolo Monprivato
Rich Monprivato Echoes the Powerful 1999
Special Pre-Arrival Pricing...
"The best 2005s are exceptional and aren't too far off the levels top producers achieved in 2004."
- Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate
Mascarello's Monprivato is one of the greatest expressions of Barolo; it is also perhaps our favorite. Few achieve the Burgundy-like finesse that Mauro Mascarello coaxes from this top site.
Though long considered one of the great traditional Piedmont reds by insiders, it is really only in the last five years that this bottling's reputation has exploded. Make no mistake about it, Mascarello's Monprivato is now one of the most collectible Barolos, right up there with the top wines of Giacomo Conterno, Bruno Giacosa and Bartolo Mascarello, though at a fraction of the price.
And while the 2005 is a powerful Monprivato, a wine that reminds Galloni of the 1999 (more on how and why below), it is also one of the greatest "new release" deals to come around in a long time.
Consider that while the 2005 is truly not far off the 2004 in terms of quality, today we can offer the 2005 Monprivato at as low as $75 on the case purchase - that's roughly 25% below the release price of the 2004. Single bottle purchases, at $83.95, will save nearly 15%!
So what's going on? Two factors are driving the deal here. First, the 2005 vintage was trickier than 2004. While the quality at the top levels for both vintages is comparable, 2005 was not as easy as 2004. More importantly, the 2005 vintage does not lend itself to the easy, quickly digestible synopses that drive consumer demand and pricing. (See below for a detailed discussion of the 2005 Barolo vintage.)
It's counter-intuitive, but as is noted now and again by wine writers, it's often the more challenging vintages that bring the most impressive raw material. (Case in point is the coming 2002 Monfortino, considered by many who have tasted it to be potentially the greatest ever made.)
In some ways the 2005 is a Super-Monprivato. First of all, the wine benefits from the inclusion of juice from the vineyard's sweet spot, normally held back to make their reserve bottling, the Ca d'Morissio. Additionally, in 2005 Mauro and his son Giuseppe were absolutely ruthless with the selection - only 50% of the fruit from the Monprivato vineyard made the final cut!
Galloni has compared the 2005 Monprivato with the 1999 edition, a wine he believes may some day be considered "one of the great Monprivatos of all time." Interestingly, the 1999 also enjoyed the addition of the Ca d'Morissio fruit and is a notably rich and powerful Monprivato.
The result, in 2005, is a wine that simply shatters the expectations of the vintage. Whereas 2005 in general produced lighter, more classic Barolos, the 2005 Monprivato is a rich and textured Barolo with amazing power and finesse. The hallmark of the 2005, however, is its incredible purity of fruit, striking aromatics and wonderful harmony. This is a serious Monprivato with incredible potential. (See the full tasting note below.)
Indeed, even at this early stage, the expectations for the 2005 Monprivato and the top Barolos from this vintage are continually rising. Galloni has written: "The more I taste the 2005 Barolos, the more I like the vintage." I think it's safe to say the 2005 Monprivato may very well progress from very good to great as it develops and begins to show the quality of the raw material from which it was fashioned. As with all the top Monprivatos, this bottle will need a few years to come into top form, at which point it should improve for several decades.
The pricing, however, will not remain so reasonable. In fact, the second factor that is driving today's deal is a combination of our long-time support for the wine (we have proudly been offering Monprivato on release since our doors first opened) and the current economic condition, which is putting downward pricing pressures on all wines.
This pressure will not last forever. In fact, it is already showing signs of waning and when things return to normal, the pricing for top bottlings such as the Monprivato is likely to increase quickly and substantially.
The savvy buyer would be well advised to take advantage of the current buying environment. This special pricing will not last. To order, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Crush Wine & Spirits
Special Bottle Price: $83.95
Normal Retail Price: $95-$112+
Special 6-Pack Price: $479.94 ($79.99/btl)
Special Case Price: $911.88 ($75.99/btl)
Wine Advocate: "The 2005 Barolo Monprivato is a very pretty, harmonious wine endowed with tons of purity in its fruit. All of the telltale aromas and flavors of Monprivato are there – geraniums, roses, spices and flowers – but backed up by quite a bit of heft and body as well. Today, the 2005 Monprivato is quite tannic, but it should come around with a few more years in bottle. In some ways, the 2005 reminds me of the 1999, another vintage in which the Ca d’Morissio was not produced. Monprivato is typically one of the hardest wines to accurately assess when young, and only time will tell what heights it ultimately reaches. For now, the future certainly seems bright. This is a mysterious, seductive Monprivato that will be fascinating to follow. Mascarello was especially selective with his Monprivato and only bottled about 50% of his production. He also blended in the juice kept separately for the Ca d’Morissio, which in this vintage is about 20% of the final blend as opposed to the more typical 10% in vintages when the Ca d’Morissio is produced."
NET | No Further Discounts
Wine available for delivery January 2010
The defining event of the 2005 Barolo vintage was without a doubt the October rains. As has been pointed out, as little as 15 years ago this vintage would have likely been a disaster. However, technological advances in weather forecasting and the rapid dissemination of information essentially gave growers two options: 1) Pick before the oncoming rains or 2) risk waiting through the rains in the hopes of suffering only minor losses and advancing the grapes' ripeness at harvest.
Most growers chose to harvest before the rains and this seems to have been the wise choice - in many cases the October rains lasted a week or longer, severely affecting the fruit left hanging.
Because for most growers the harvest was determined by the oncoming rains, the ripeness of the fruit in 2005 was more dependent on the quality of the site than is normally the case. The title of Galloni's 2005 vintage report suggests as much: "Location, Location, Location!" Only the top sites were capable of truly ripening the fruit and in this regard, obviously the Monprivato fared well. This has long been considered one of the Piedmont's greatest sites, a true "Grand Cru."
The last factor determining quality for the 2005 vintage comes down to the vineyard work and the severity of the selection. In this regard, as stated in the email itself, there can be no doubt that the 2005 Monprivato is in elite territory. Fruit from the site's sweet spot (usually reserved for the Ca d'Morissio bottling) was used in the regular bottling and yields were cut almost 50%. The 2005 Monprivato is a wine that transcends the challenges of the vintage.
The Mascarello's pride and joy, the Monprivato vineyard, lies just outside the village of Castiglione Falleto and is about 15 acres in size. The Monprivato vineyard is one of the best in the Piedmont - this is most certainly a Piedmont "Grand Cru." It is also planted with the Michét clone, believed to be one of Nebbiolo's best. The winemaking here is extremely traditional - very long macerations (up to 30 days), aging in old botti (no new wood) for over 3 years, and the wines are always bottled unfined and unfiltered.