Day 5 started out with a simply terrific vistas at Burlotto. I am happy to call Fabio Alessandria a good friend, and I mention that just because I am such a fan and proponent of the wines that, in the spirit of full disclosure, it's worth sharing.
Fabio is working on the finishing details of a cellar expansion and restoration that has been going on for the past three years. Nothing is really changing regarding the winemaking, though there is more space for bottle storage and the like so perhaps there might be some incremental improvement of the conditions of the wines at release, though I have never experienced anything other than terrific wines here.
This part of Monforte is warm, and the 2011s showed some of that heat. While the 2010s were stunning in their purity and energy, the 2011s here had much more of the power one usually associates with Monforte. Good wines all around to be sure, but when we were treated tot he 2008 Runcot one could see the energy that cooler vintage wine brought to the table. Gianluca Grasso took some time out of his busy day, overseeing the repair of a small landslide that took out a road leading from the property out to the vineyards and treating the vines in anticipation of today's rain non-event, though all expect heavy rains overnight, to meet with us.
Mario now makes two Barolos as well. He added to his modest holding, some 5 hectares more or less, in 2008 with a piece of Giachinini La Morra. For several vintages the La Morra juice was simply blended into the single classic Barolo but over the years Mario because disillusioned with that blend, feeling that it had lost the true character of Castiglione, a character he had known since he was a young man. Beginning in 2013 there are now two crus produced. The Castiglione Falletto "village" wine, with vineyards in both Mariondinio and Villero, as well as the base Barolo, which now is a blend of La Morra and Castiglione juice.