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Scarzello Giorgio e Figli
22 March 2017

Scarzello Giorgio e Figli is a small gem of an estate housed in the middle of Barolo town. This diminutive, traditional, Barolo domaine owns a mere five hectares, nearly half of which are in Sarmassa, one of the region’s top crus. My first encounter with the wines was very promising. It was in London with Federico Scarzello, son of Giorgio, who has been running the estate now since 2001. I tasted the wines with a mutual friend and loved what I saw. Months later, after a three day blind tasting of some of Barolo’s top 2013s, I discovered that out of all 162 wines my favourite turned out to be Scarzello’s Vigna Merenda, their special monopole parcel within Sarmassa. So I simply had to squeeze in a visit there before racing off home via Milan Linate. I was glad to have made the effort. Federico was generous with his time and his wine. I tasted the unique Barbera, one of the most serious examples you will find, and a flight of Barolos including 2009 and 2011 Sarmassa Vigna Merenda. Aromatically enticing, bursting with juicy sweet red fruits and to die for silky textures. This was the moment yet another Piedmontese estate had well and truly seduced me with its wines; a rare catch that I was determined not to let slip through my fingers. I am therefore delighted that Justerini & Brooks can now offer, for the first time, Scarzello’s wines – the new release 2011 Baroli and 2013 Barbera And yet Scarzello’s path to success was not always so clear. The disease-ridden plantings post world war two were dying off too fast for comfort, so Federico and his father, Giorgio, took the bold decision to make a wholesale replanting in the late nineties. A few years later and Federico took over sole running of the estate, in 2001, and set about taking it to the next level, adjusting certain aspects of the winemaking whilst remaining greatly respectful to the family’s traditional ways. This has now become a forward-looking domaine fast on the rise. The vines may be young, averaging just above twenty years old, but they are in good health and planted densely to lower yields. Federico recently bought a plot of 100 year old Nebbiolo, not a prime site, but the plant material was of the high quality Michet clone. He intends to use cuttings of this for future replantings. The wines are fermented (with wild yeast since the 2006 vintage) long and slow – sometimes up to 55 days depending on the vintage. They are then aged for around 30 months in large german and slavonian oak casks before a further three years ageing in bottle. Scarzello’s wines demand time and are usually released at least a year or two later than those of their peers.    Read More

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