Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Visit to Bartolo Mascarello

313.JPG
Maria Teresa Mascarello - Bartolo's daughter - who has been at the head of the Cantina for several years now.

308.JPG
The tasting room.

408.JPG
To me, it says something that this was the art chosen for the room. These are vineyard workers, and the style is rustic. There is an immensity to the size of the artwork that mirrors the immensity of the work these actors engage in.

404.JPG
A bottle of the hand blown style, the type common to this region back in the 1970's and before.

395.JPG

396.JPG

311.JPG
We taste.

304.JPG
There was a functionality as well as a stylishness about this setup that sort of summed up Bartolo Mascarello for me.

515.JPG
I believe this is sealing wax. I thought this was really beautiful in its way.

317.JPG
Maria Teresa leads us to the cellar.

319.JPG
Cement fermentation tanks.

324.JPG
A wooden wine press. This is the only time that I see one of these during my trip.

334.JPG
This isn't a Marcel Duchamp Readymade. This rack is in active use.

337.JPG

342.JPG

339.JPG

351.JPG
I believe this is Chestnut. I could be wrong about that.

348.JPG

346.JPG

347.JPG
Next year's Freisa offering. The 2009 was just bottled.

365.JPG

371.JPG

376.JPG

363.JPG

361.JPG

354.JPG

356.JPG

377.JPG
I don't believe these are still in active use. But to me, it was instructive that they had been kept here in the cellar. That seemed in keeping with the philosophy of the place, and of the continuation of a legacy.

306.JPG
The packaging room.

309.JPG
The cellarman. He seemed to me a gentle soul.

383.JPG
Creating these sorts of small decorations seems to be a kind of family trait.

390.JPG
A kindred spirit.

385.JPG
Carefully wrapping a bottle for future shipment.

410.JPG
Maria Teresa takes us for a drive out to the vineyards.

413.JPG
It becomes clear that Maria Teresa is a good driver, and also that she adores her tough old model Fiat Panda 4X4. This car was a trooper, let me tell you. All terrain, no issue. Alex at Brovia was also a big proponent of just this sort of Fiat. "The Panda can do it, no problem" he said more than once.

419.JPG
The Rue vineyard. San Lorenzo is in the distance to the right.

420.JPG
Rue, looking left. Cerequio and Brunate are in the distance. Gaja's Cerequio vines are laid out vertically against the slope. They stand out from the others pretty clearly.

424.JPG
Here are laid out some of the greatest vineyards of Barolo and La Morra.

425.JPG
A closeup of the vines at Rue.

430.JPG
Rue vine.

432.JPG
Maria Teresa seemed most comfortable when she was amongst the vines. Panda in the background.

434.JPG
You get a sense of the incline of Rue in this picture.

444.JPG
Maria Teresa stops to pull out a weed from amongst the vines. She did this a few times. For me it was a tell-tale gesture. Sure I'm giving you a tour, but it is the vines that take priority. That was the mind set. I can only applaud the sensibility. I honestly don't recall being in the past on any vineyard tour where someone pulled out a weed.

445.JPG
The San Lorenzo vineyard.

449.JPG
A closeup of San Lorenzo. You can see the missing vines in the rows. Maria Teresa said that she would rather not replant vines one by one. Rather, she will wait, and when the time comes, replant the entire parcel at once.

462.JPG
The Rocche vineyard (of La Morra).

457.JPG
Looking up the incline of Rocche.

459.JPG
That's right, it's steep.

466.JPG
A look down a vineyard row near the top of Rocche.

456.JPG
Looking down another Rocche vineyard row, this one closer to the bottom of the vineyard (near to the road).

470.JPG
Amongst these flowers there were crickets, and they spoke to each other as I approached. Think about that. There was life amongst these vines. We talk about biodynamic farming and cover crops, but for me I think it now comes down to whether or not there are crickets in your vineyard. As soon as I heard them, I knew I wanted to work a harvest here. Luckily for me, Maria Teresa said that I could when I asked her.

471.JPG
This little guy brushed my hand as he came out from the inside of the vineyard post. He startled me, but I was glad to see him (her?).

478.JPG
Welcome to Cannubi, one of the greatest vineyards on the planet.

479.JPG

481.JPG
The little hut is a tool shed.

482.JPG
This prime parcel of Cannubi once held very old vines. Maria Teresa removed them as they fell victim to disease, and planted these crops to reenrich the soil. Next year she will replant this parcel to vines.

483.JPG
A look up Cannubi. At the top of the vineyard there is a road that acts as a border.

485.JPG
Maria Teresa gives me this very fragrant gift, freshly plucked from the earth.

487.JPG
Maria Teresa planted these next to the shed. How many people take the space to do that sort of thing in a vineyard where every vine equates to real dollars (Lire, Euros, whatever)?

490.JPG
A Cannubi vineyard row.

491.JPG
There's the Panda. It wasn't so easy getting out of this vineyard using the road, let me tell you. But it was no problem for the Panda.

492.JPG
A look out from Cannubi and across the way. How cool would it be to live in that house and look out at Cannubi every day? This was the first vineyard to be recognized by name in all of the Piemonte.

493.JPG
Another Cannubi vineyard row. This one is fairly high up in the vineyard.

495.JPG
Yep. Steep.

315.JPG
We get back, somewhat exhausted, and Maria Teresa shares with us her favorite way of drinking her Barolo Chinato.

507.JPG
A little Chinato.

505.JPG
A little soda water.

509.JPG
Add a cube of ice. And drink.

511.JPG

514.JPG
Almost all gone. That was Yum.

403.JPG
I'd never seen a picture of a young Bartolo before I came across this one in the Cantina.

405.JPG

406.JPG

2 comments:

laugesen said...

Nice pictures, Levy. Such a short time since we left, and already nostalgia and a yearning to come back. See you in 2012. Best regards from Prague, Flemming

John Rittmaster said...

Well struck!