This traditionally styled winery is currently run by Mauro Mascarello, who is the fourth generation of the family to head the domaine. The estate’s origins date back to the mid-1800s, when Giuseppe Mascarello made a name for himself managing the vineyards of other landowners. He ultimately purchased his own vineyards and cellars in 1881, in the village of Monforte d’Alba. Over the next three generations, the estate expanded, contracted, and expanded again, with the most prized piece being what eventually became and remains a monopoly of the great Monprivato vineyard.
Not only is the Mascarello Monprivato renowned for its great terroir, but much of it is also planted to one of the finest strains of Nebbiolo, the Michét variety, which was first introduced into the vineyard by Maurizio Mascarello in 1921. The soils of Monprivato, coupled with the haunting refinement found in Nebbiolo Michét, produce one of the most compellingly complex and elegant interpretations of Barolo to be found.
Mauro Mascarello is often described as “an enlightened traditionalist” when it comes to his winemaking approach, and he is now assisted ably by his son Giuseppe. There are no new French oak barrels or roto-fermenters to be found in the Mascarellos’ cellars, as the wines continue to be made in the old Slavonian oak botti (very large casks) purchased by Mauro’s father in the 1950s. The Barolos (there are now a handful of different vineyard-designated bottlings) are macerated for about 30 days during fermentation (down from 60 back in the old days), raised for approximately three-and-a-half years in old wood, and then bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Besides the flagship Monprivato, Mascarello produces a Barolo “Villero” (Castiglione Falletto), a Barolo “Bricco” (Castiglione Falletto), and a Barolo “Santo Stefano di Perno” (Monforte d’Alba). In addition, Mascarello produces bottlings of both Dolcetto and Barbera (also from Santo Stefano di Perno); a Langhe Nebbiolo (declassified Barolo), which offers stunning value; and a traditional Freisa. All in all, there are very few great names in Piemonte that can match the breathtaking quality of the wines of Giuseppe Mascarello e Figlio, and none that can surpass this fine old estate for commitment to excellence up and down their quality hierarchy.