Rounding out the vacation wines here with the Marcarini La Serra 2010. I was excited to try this wine, as I have previously tasted the 1991 and 2003 versions. The 2003 was very much a traditional developed Barolo, showing the standard rose and tar along with notes of balsamic vinegar, plum and cherry. The 1991 was flat-out outstanding. The acidity was still very much present, keeping the fruit flavors alive with an intensity that made the wine seem 15 years younger than it was. A beautiful orange peel aroma and flavor complemented the cherry, strawberry and rose notes. The wine was well-balanced, richly layered and had a long lingering finish.
Marcarini unabashedly promotes themselves as adherents to the traditionalist ways of winemaking in Barolo. For Marcarini, and current winemaker Manuel Marchetti, traditional winemaking begins in the vineyard. The La Serra vineyard sits in the La Morra area of Barolo, with its more prominent calcerous marl soil. La Serra also sits at a higher elevation in La Morra (400 meters above sea level), which provides the vineyard with extra circulation of air and greater ventilation among the vines. In the winery, both the La Serra bottling and it’s sister the Brunate bottling undergo extended fermentation times (4 to 6 weeks) and the wines are then aged for at least 24 months in medium-sized oak casks.
Based on my past experiences with the Marcarini La Serra and based on Marcarini’s traditionalist ways, I assumed the 2010 would convey a sense of restraint and would not seem out-of-place, unlike the Ceretto I tasted just days before. My tasting would show my expectations to be justified.
As with the Rivetto, I was able to open the Marcarini in the afternoon after lunch, which let me enjoy a few moments with the wine on the balcony of the house we were staying in for the week. The wine had been kept on the counter for the past few days, but even then it was only a touch above the temperature I would have preferred. The first afternoon was a straight pop & pour.
- On the nose, the Marcarini was showing a medium intensity, still very much a youthful wine. Classic cherry, rose and some tar and cedar were prominent, along with some smokey and meaty notes.
- On the palate, the wine had a moderately high level of acidity, with complementing moderately high tannins. The tannins had a grippy and firm attack, but resolved themselves fairly quickly to a more silky texture. The alcohol and body were firmly middle of the road.
- The flavors in the mouth were of medium intensity and echoed the aromas, with some herbal and earthy elements being added to the cherry fruit. The finish had a surprising amount of length due to its acidity, not quite long but certainly close.
On the second night, after a recork and after keeping the bottle on the counter, the Marcarini picked up some tartness to the cherry, along with some balsamic notes.
Overall I think the Marcarini La Serra 2010 was quite good. The wine was proudly displaying its youthfulness, alongside a silky tannin base that reflects its La Morra heritage. A consistent cherry core showed nicely over traditional notes of rose and tar, with some herbal and smokey edges to give some pleasing complexity. While still a baby, the 2010 compared very nicely to the 1991 and 2003 and I can only hope that the 2010 achieves the heights which the other two, particularly the 1991, have reached.
Of the three vacation wines, the Marcarini was definitely the highlight. The wine clearly reflected a traditional winemaking mindset of restraint. The Marcarini was not heavy-handed in a way that the Ceretto was. Add to that the lack of balance issues that plagued the Rivetto, and the Marcarini shined above the rest.
It’s back to the grind next week as the vacation comes to a close. The weather was all but perfect and the family had a great time. And the wines weren’t too bad either.