At a dinner a couple of years ago now we had this wine. In its youth, Ratti Marcenasco was ripe, mineral, stones and floral. Ratti Marcenasco was intense, young, attractive. The palate was silky, spicy and gritty. A ball of charm but we want to wait for the wine to loosen and unwind a bit. There is a lot more to offer in the core. Leave it until after 2022 or longer. At the same dinner, the 1996 Ratti Marenasco was still a baby. Barolo braised beef was a lovely match, so was Piedmontese cheese.
I re-tasted this Ratti Marcenasco 2012 this year (2020). I back up my comments above and overall feel the Ratti Marcenasco is powerful but drinkable. And it definitely has a lot of improving to go. If you bought 6 bottles of Ratti Marcenasco 2012 and drank one every other year, you’d be a happy Barolo drinker!
Ratti Marcenasco is a blend of fruit from their two grand Crus: The South-East facing Rocche dell’Annunziata at 400m above sea level and Conca @ 300masl, which is a SW facing amphitheatre. Ratti tends to use smaller and more new oak than the more traditional producers, which gives you more overt and immediate flavours.
Ratti Marcenasco 2012 Wine Notes
“Fascinating aromas of dried flowers, cherry and fresh spices. Very subtle nose. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and a long, flavorful finish. So pretty and polished. Harmony in the bottle. One of the best Marcenascos in memory.”
Renato Ratti revolutionised Barolo, and we all can appreciate his contribution. He has passed away now, but his winemaker and family carried on his legacy. The estate style is that of intensity and power. They pack in some alcohol and balance it with new French barriques. These are wines that don’t necessarily look their best young, but with age, the good old tar n roses come back.
Hear Importer Michael Trembath Talk about Barolo 2016.
Piedmont is one of the most significant wine regions in the world. Its name means the ‘foot of the mountain’. Piedmont is in the North-Western reach of Italy. There are a lot of parallels drawn between the best wines of Piedmont (Barolo and Barbaresco) and the wines of Burgundy. The region neighbours France and Switzerland with its border defined by the Alps to the North and west and Apennines to the South. These natural defences kept the Ligurians safe from Roman invasions. Luckily it didn’t work forever, as we may not have the wines that we cherish today.
Made from 100% Nebbiolo aged for least 3 years (5 for Riserva). Famous villages include La Morra, Verduno, Castiglione, Montforte, Serralunga and Barolo. Awarded DOCG in 1980.
They are famously producing long-lived red wines. Light of colour, but abundant in tannin. Barolo and Barbaresco are the pinnacles of Nebbiolo. But many local and international regions are catching up. Typical flavours include tar, roses, anise, cherry, blackberry and truffle.
There are 1000s and 1000s of grapes in Italy. There are sub-alpine cool-climate regions in the North, and Sun-baked vineyards in the South. Add to that, volcanoes and many cultures within one Country. You could struggle to find anything uniform about the wines. The best of the best include Tuscan reds from Sangiovese or Cabernet. Nebbiolo from Piedmont, especially Barolo and Barbaresco. The aromatic whites of NE Italy from Garganega, Pinot Grigio, and numerous crazy blends. The volcanic wines of Mt Etna in Sicily. And many more.
The only generalisation I will make is that a lot of Italian wine is undervalued when compared to a similar French style.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is special. It contains everything you need to make grape wine except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product, including the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. Terroir is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
Fun fact; most of the colour for wines comes from the skins. There are only a handful of grapes that have red juice. Alicante is the most well known of these grapes.
By macerating the juice on the skins, the wine gains tannins, and flavours. Certain compounds change the chemistry of the wine too.
Red wines tend to have higher alcohol. More tannin and more oak flavours compared to other styles of wine. But the thousands of grapes and terroirs they grow in influence this.