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 PointsWine Review Online Author: Michael Apstein
Sarmassa is a well-regarded cru located in the village of Barolo itself, an area where the wines are allegedly more delicate, relatively speaking (this is Barolo, after all) compared to those from Serralunga dAlba or Montforte dAlba. Marchesi di Barolos fine Sarmassa has a bit of Montforte-like structure to accompany its floral aspect. Almost chewy with firm, fine tannins, it remains incredibly elegant, capturing the best of both worlds. Its charms appeared sitting it the glass for a couple of hours over dinner, surprising me at how enjoyable it was to drink now. With a seemingly endless finish and balance, it will reward a decade or so of cellaring.
Score: 93 PointsWine Spectator Author: Bruce Sanderson
This is opulent, boasting cherry, licorice, leather and spice flavors embraced by a fleshy texture. The sweet fruit carries through to the long finish. Best from 2020 through 2033.
Score: 93 PointsJamesSuckling.com Author: James Suckling
Sarmassa cru made beautiful wines in 2012 and this is very aromatic with rose petal and raspberry aromas. Very subtle aromatically. Full-bodied, chewy and tannic, yet has a pretty dusty texture giving the wine a softness at the end with bright acidity. Better in 2020.
Score: 92 PointsThe Wine Advocate Author: Monica Larner
The 2012 Barolo Sarmassa delivers a healthy quota of muscle and brawn. Despite its power, it also shows deep inner elegance that does not go unnoticed. This Barolo still needs time to find its footing and it requires five or more years of cellar ageing before it reaches a better place of integration and balance. At this stage, it shows depth, austerity and a promising succession of dark fruit, cola, tar and toasted spice.
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