Terroir: The southeast-facing Sarmassa vineyard is located on a hill with good slope. Despite the fact that the area is of Tortonian origin, there has been a significant amount of soil erosion, probably due to the steep slope of the hill. Since the erosion has been significant, the soil is calcareous and very compact. The soil is composed mainly of clay and limestone and has a very substantial percentage of stones. The high percentage of stones, combined with clay, limit the growth of Nebbiolo grape and allow the vines to react quickly to climactic variations, enabling clusters to achieve perfect ripening.
Vinification: Sarmassa is the last of the Cru’s to ripen and is usually harvested in the second ten days of October. Grapes are collected, exclusively by hand and quickly taken to the cellars for destalking and a soft pressing. The grapes then undergo a controlled fermentation in stainless steel temperature controlled tanks at steel temperature controlled tanks at 82-86°F.
Maceration of the skins lasts 10 days with regular pump-overs. The wine is racked into concrete tanks that are lined with fiberglass inside and insulated with cork where it rests at post-fermentation temperatures of 72°F and undergoes malolactic fermentation. Within two months, malolactic fermentation is complete and the wine is transferred to barrels. The wine is aged for two years, a part in Slavonian oak barrels (30 or 35 hl) and the other part in 225 L French medium-toasted oak barrique. The two parts are then blended in traditional big oak barrels and the wine completes its fining in the bottle before release.
The Barolo Sarmassa reaches maturity eight years after harvest. It continues to mature elegantly for a period of time and the between 8 and 30 years. The wine is, therefore, colorful, tannic and long-lived.
Deep garnet red. Intense aroma with clean scents of wild rose, vanilla, licorice and spices. Feather the resin of pine and tobacco. Taste is full and elegant, full bodied, with tannins in evidence, with recurring olfactory sensations. Enjoyable are the spicy and woody notes that blend perfectly.
With its big structure, this wine is particularly adapted to main courses of red meats, braised dishes and game in general. An ideal accompaniment for cheeses.
Score: 93 PointsThe Wine Advocate Author: Monica Larner
The 2007 Sarmassa 10 anniv is dark and thickly layered. It shows firm sense of structure that has not yielded despite ten extra years of cellar aging. This is another special anniversary wine release one decade after the harvest by the folks at Marchesi di Barolo. The bouquet reveals prune, dried fruit, iron and terra-cotta. Perhaps this Sarmassa is further along its aging trajectory compared to the Cannubi 2007 Anniv. For that reason, I have reduced the drinking window by a few years. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2028.
Score: 94 PointsThe Tasting Panel Author: Anthony Dias Blue
"Lush and rich with deep flavors of plum, tar and spice; smooth, precise and layered with a mineral-laced finish."
Score: 91 PointsWine Spectator Author: Bruce Sanderson
"Round and rich, offering cherry, eucalyptus and tobacco aromas and flavors. On the elegant side, with a base of solid tannins underneath. Shows fine length, with a tobacco- tinged aftertaste."
Score: 92 PointsThe Wine Advocate Author: Antonio Galloni
"The 2007 Barolo Sarmassa comes across as a bit more ethereal than the Cannubi tasted alongside it. It is a little less developed in terms of its depth and richness, but the aromatics are more expressive and the tannin is also finer. Sweet red berries, anise and mint are some of the notes that linger on the pointed finish. I especially like the freshness and energy here. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024."
Score: 94 PointsWine Enthusiast Author: Monica Larner
"The Sarmassa cru consistently delivers some of the best Barolos on the market, and this opulent expression from Marchesi di Barolo proves the point. The wine exhibits modern aromas of chocolate, black cherry, coffee and Spanish cedar. The mouthfeel is soft, plush and rich."
"The Barolo Sarmassa 2006 repeated last year's sucess and again won Three Glasses. This elegant wine has a lovely, shimmering ruby, juicy fruit up front with spice and sweet tobacco close behind, and a classic note of tar at the back. The attack and body are powerful despite the fact the tannins are still a tad grainy."
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