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: 92 PointsWine Spectator Author: Bruce Sanderson
This red starts out with cherry, strawberry and floral notes, adding leather, underbrush and tobacco through the finish. Elegant overall, showing balance in a sinewy, tensile way. Best from 2022 through 2036.
Score: 93 PointsThe Wine Advocate Author: Monica Larner
The 2013 Barolo Sarmassa is a robust and juicy expression of Nebbiolo from a classic vintage. Aged in both barrique and botte grande, the wine is silky and smooth with bright aromas of wild berry, smoke, grilled herb and white truffle. These aromas are delivered with a steady hand. This is a finely textured expression that offers ample length and persistence.
Score: 93 PointsWine Enthusiast Author: Kerin O'Keefe
Black-skinned fruit, iris, espresso, dark spice and a balsamic note all meld together in the glass along with a whiff of chopped herb. The firmly structured palate doles out ripe black cherry, raspberry jam, toast, roasted coffee bean and a hint of oak-driven spice alongside fine-grained tannins.
Score: 93 PointsDecanter Date: Monday, May 1, 2017
Valentina Abbona describes the soil of the Sarmassa cru as 'strong'. Her parcel sits on a steep, heavily eroded slope leaving just clay and stone, which curbs vigour. Aged in a combination of French oak barrique and large Slavonian oak cask, it offers rose tea, black raspberry and grilled herb notes. Despite youthful austerity, the tannins are refined and supported by plenty of flesh, along with an appetising minerality and juiciness.
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