One of the first estates to release this year is Elio Grasso in Monforte d’Alba. Atlas has had an association with this prominent estate since we first set up in 2010. Not only do we champion their exceptional Barolo, but also the Barbera d’Alba, Dolcetto d’Alba and Langhe Nebbiolo, all of which deliver impressive value for money and which we will be offering in due course. What has always impressed us about Grasso is their understanding of the vineyards; at this address, there has always been a firm acknowledgement of the fact that wine is made in the vineyard. Gianluca Grasso often talks about the run up to harvest and the fraught few days he endures while waiting for the fruit to achieve optimum ripeness. Grasso harvest a touch later than other estates as the vineyards of Monforte are cooler and at an altitude that permits Nebbiolo a slighter longer hang-time. In 2015, Gianluca judged it perfectly.
Much will be made of the fact that 2015 was a warmer Piemonte vintage. This might be the case when compared to a ‘classic’ year, but 2015 is by no means marked by the heat. The balance of the two Grasso single vineyard Barolo is outstanding; the Casa Maté is the darker fruited, more brooding of the two, but I found a terrific energy to the 2015. The power and depth that is often associated with this wine is certainly on show, but so is an undeniable elegance. I cannot recall a vintage of Casa Maté that showed this same fluidity and persistence. The Chiniera reveals more of floral overlay to its juicy dark red fruit on the nose. A very sleek, effortlessly refined Barolo with a minty, leafy complexity already on show. The contrast could not be clearer.
The high point scores from Antonio Galloni of Vinous are sure to draw attention to these two stunning Barolo in 2015, but as those who have followed this estate are fully aware, the quality of the wines produced over the last ten years has been nothing short of exceptional. The quality of the 2015s comes as no surprise as Gianluca Grasso’s attention to detail drives this estate’s reputation further forward.
2015 Barolo, Vigna Gavarini, Chiniera, Elio Grasso
97 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous (February 2019)
£335 per 6 bottle case in bond
The 2015 Barolo Gavarini Chiniera is ample, full-bodied and rich on the palate, and yet retains its explosive floral lift and brightness, two of the signatures that are such calling cards of Barolos from this Monforte site. A rush of sweet red cherry, blood orange, chalk, mint and rose petal build in a super-expressive Barolo that hits so many high notes effortlessly. The Gavarini Chiniera is one of the wines of the vintage. Don't miss it. Drink 2025-2045.
2015 Barolo, Vigna Ginestra Casa Maté, Elio Grasso
96 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous (February 2019)
£335 per 6 bottle case in bond
Grasso's 2015 Barolo Ginestra Casa Matè is a dense, full-bodied Barolo that is going to need at least a few years to start unwinding. Dark fruit and a host of mentholated, balsamic notes all run through the 2015. Broad shoulders and tons of depth give the wine its distinctive feel. The Ginestra Casa Matè is usually more expressive at this stage than it is today. Time in the glass soften some of the edges, but the 2015 is a wine to cellar and then drink for the next 20-30 years. There is so much to look forward to. Drink 2025-2045.