My most memorable meal in Italy didn’t happen at any Michelin starred restaurant in Alba. It came at the end of a crazy trek from Beaune to Monforte one winter many years ago. That drive was made without a phone and with my Michelin map spread across the dashboard. That is, until the serious snow started falling just outside of Mount Blanc. With my nose pressed close to windshield, my right arm frantically cleared the window of fog because amazingly, the crappy rental’s defroster actually made the visibility worse. Nine harrowing hours later, I stumbled my way to the kitchen of the Grasso household, frozen and starving, where a bowl of fresh pappardelle in a rabbit ragu was set in front of me by Gianluca’s mom and a glass of the most remarkable Barolo was poured into oversized crystal. I’ve never eaten so well.
Gianluca Grasso calls the vineyards Gavarini and Ginestra his “brothers”. Even though these vineyards are within a stones throw of each other, Gianluca’s “brothers” are far from twins. They are incredibly different and every year manage to show off the entire spectrum of complexity and flavors possible in Barolo. In my tasting experience, 2016 is Gianluca’s finest.
The 2016 “Ginestra Casa Mate” compared to its sibling the Gavarini is the one that Galloni says is more of “textural resonance and volume.” It’s a perfect collector’s bottle for a Barolo that will age for decades and isn’t quite ready to be thrust into the limelight just yet. However, armed with two separate rave 97pt reviews, it’s clear the future for this wine is something special– from one of the best producers in all of Italy.
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97 Points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Given the care and reputation of this estate, I’m betting on a very long cellar evolution for this bottle. With fruit from a three-hectare plot in Ginestra, it offers beautiful structure with integrated acidity and tannins. The mouthfeel is gorgeous, but I wish the wine would offer more on the bouquet. Red fruit and wild berry are followed by grilled herb, crushed flower and dried lilac. The aromatic playlist is subtle and hushed.
97 Points, Antonio Galloni- Vinous
Ample and creamy on the palate, with tremendous depth, the 2016 Barolo Ginestra Casa Matè is super impressive, even in the early going. Next to the Gavarini Chiniera, the Ginestra Casa Matè is a Barolo of textural resonance and volume. Black cherry, plum and a range of balsamic notes infuse the 2016 with tons of character. The is one of the real standouts of the year.