Vigna Rionda is historically the most revered vineyard of Serralunga, the source of some of the greatest, finest yet most robust, and long-lived Barolo. The soil here is similar to the Parafada vineyard (limey/chalky marls), yet it is deeper again. There is more chalk and also a higher concentration of minerals and oxidised iron elements. The deeper soils, the altitude of 330 metres above sea level, and the protection from northern winds and frost that the south/southwestern slopes affords means that Vigna Rionda has a longer growing season than the other crus. All these factors combine to produce a terroir that generates wines with an optimum balance of perfume, finesse and structure rarely found elsewhere in Barolo. It also produces a wine with excellent acidity and tannins that require longer aging in botti and bottle. That is why it is released with a minimum six years of age.
The Massolino family are the largest holders in the Vigna Rionda with 3.5 hectares (two planted to Nebbiolo) with vines in the 38- to 45-year-old bracket. The wines from this exceptional site begin life as a coiled spring, which is why Massolino releases it with extra age: at six years (for the standard Riserva release) and ten-plus years for the Dieci X Anni release. With enough age, Vigna Rionda blossoms into an intensely perfumed, ultra-fine, pure and succulent wine with very fine tannins. Galloni's Musigny reference is very apt but forget about Bonnes Mares (that's more the Parafada!). We're tempted to dig into a bag of superlatives here--and this is a release that would deserve every one--but let's try to employ some restraint. Picking finished here on November 5, with the late harvest gifting a profound and powerful Vigna Rionda of intensity, lift and muscle. It's exceptionally fine, with complex aromas of wild fruits floating over a dark, ferrous core. And yet it's still so young--remarkable considering that it spent five years in large cask! Expect incredible purity and lift. Expect incredible and classical tannins. Expect incredible everything! If drinking now give it a good decant and serve it with appropriate foods. In the cellar, decades will not weary it!