We regularly buy from an Italian collector who calls the first wines on this list “piccoli vini” - or “little wines” - which to him means not Barolo or Barbaresco. And he also refers to “piccoli produttori” - or “little producers” - when he’s talking about Barolo or Barbaresco which are not from the best-known names. This is just descriptive and isn’t intended to be pejorative. Some of these wineries no longer exist, and many others have become much better known than they were in 1960s and 1970s, in part because they used to sell off a lot of their fruit (or wine), and now they bottle their entire production. Since those days many of the names here, like Grimaldi, Marengo, Scavino, Seghesio, and Veglio have become deservedly familiar to us (although it would take a professional genealogist to untangle webs of family relationships to tell one cousin from another).
I often wish I had the means (time, stamina, and money) to taste all of the wines we receive; when I do get a chance to taste something from the “piccoli produttori” they always been at least good, and are sometimes much better. From this list I recall good (or better) bottles of Luigi Bianco, Minuto, Parrocco di Neive, and Pertinace as well worth considering. None of these bottles are over $99.99, so here’s a chance to do some exploration off the beaten path! Jamie Wolff
What we know: Giuseppe Mascarello, father of Mauro, was named after his grandfather. His father was Maurizio. I've been told that Natale was his (Giuseppe's) uncle. The Giuseppe Mascarello cantina was - and is - in Monchiero. From a logical and chronological point of view, it seems likely that Giuseppe (Mauro's father) made this wine.Maybe someone knows why - assuming I'm correct - the wine is labelled like this? Jamie Wolff
Montanello is the farm and vineyard that makes the northern border of Cavallotto's Bricco Boschis; the vines have a primarily south-west exposure. By logic it should be one of the great vineyards of Barolo; perhaps there's never been a great winemaker there, but the old wines are good, and certainly interesting to taste. Jamie Wolff