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Mauro Manzone, Monforte D’Alba, Piemonte visits the Whirly shop, 22 Ritherdon road, SW17 8QD

I have always loved Barolo. To me its always been the epitome of Italian Winemaking; the “Creme de la Creme”, “The Parsons nose”, The knob-end of the baguette” ( there’s no other way of saying it!). I have thought this since my first visit to this part of Piedmont, on my Ducati 900ss on my way down to see my twin David, who was dancing near Livorno, in 1994. It’s the typical and yet beautiful little hillside town as many wine based towns are in Italy. In fact the vineyards have to be located on the hillside to qualify as a Barolo.

So for many years I have been looking for some great Barolo and its only now, 15 years into commencing with Whirly wines that I have at last found some wines that I feel are deserving of such a place on my wine shelves here in SW17.

Mauro ( picture below in the Whirly shop this week) is young and a fourth generation winemaker in a little town of Monforte D’Alba, a few miles south of Barolo. His energy and excitement about the wines he showed me was obvious and I am now planning a trip to Piedmont in May for their annual wine tasting.

It did not take long for me to realise that I was tasting some special wines. Mauro had been at Cambridge university the night before tasting with one of the colleges there ( a possible clue to their quality) and he had less than a quarter empty bottles to taste. No matter, the wines, despite being shaken and not at the right temperature were very exciting and I was soon to discover that single vineyard Barolo’s are very much where its at in terms of desire and influence.

We started by tasting their Langhe Rossese Bianco 2014 from their Rosserto vineyard. This is a rare white grape rediscovered by Giovanni Manzone. This indigenous varietal was saved from extinction in an old family vineyard in Monforte D’Alba. Slightly cloudy yet full of citrus and exotic fruit’s, the wine would be a perfect wine for the new Aperitif bar this summer outside 22 Ritherdon Road.

We then tasted another wine from the DOC Langhe, their Nebbiolo ” Il Crutin” 2013 and also a DOC Barbera D’Alba      ” Le Ciliegie” 2013 that were beautifully structured. These wine are great introductory wines to Manzone at clever prices. But by far the most individual and serious wines were the Single Vineyard Barolo wines with the 2011 “Castelletto” wine taking my five star award. It was to me what top Nebbiolo should be about, velvety and yet not too fruit driven with some real leather and delicate smokey fruits showing through. I also enjoyed the    ” Gramolere” 2010 and this vineyards 1998  and 2007 Reserve. I found the 2009 “Bricat”  a little tight and with some tannins so to me it needed anther few years in the bottle.

So In May I hope to start to work with Manzone so watch this space. I cannot wait since these wines have great presence and will shine in the Whirly shop

Mauro Manzone