Mastroberardino, older vintages

8/28/13 -


From the Oxford English Dictionary: “legend n. 1a a traditional story sometimes popularly regarded as historical but unauthenticated; a myth. b. such stories collectively. c a popular but unfounded belief.”

If there’s one grossly abused word in terms of describing wine it’s legendary, and we try to avoid it – there just can’t be that many legendary wines out there. However…  In the sense of a wine being very rare and sought-after, and also famous for delivering a highly memorable tasting experience, the 1968 Mastroberardino Taurasi may fairly qualify as a legendary wine.  It now costs $500 a bottle or more - a factor that when added to the rarity of the wine only increases the whole legendary thing. We don’t have any 1968 for sale, but we do have what for us is an unprecedented range of older vintages, in satisfying quantities. We’ve tasted the legendary 1968 a few times over the past several years and we can agree with the assessment. But legends can obscure other real achievements, and we’ve tasted terrific bottles of Mastroberardino from 1973, 1974, 1982, 1985 (as well as some other vintages unrecorded by us) that are all deeply satisfying in our memory.

Mastroberardino has only been operating since 1720, but they’ve been the dominant player in their area, and a real standard-bearer of quality wine from southern Italy when such a thing hardly seemed possible. Not too long ago family differences caused the property to be divided; the more recent wines are probably very good, but it’s the old stuff that’s really interesting to us. Inspired by great Aglianico from Mastroberadino, various fans and promoters have coined the phrase “the Barolo of the South”. No wonder we like the wines so much!

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