“I want to give everything, I only live once and I want to give everything I have,” says Marco Parusso from the eponymous wine estate in Monforte d´Alba in Barolo.
You can feel that in the wines. There’s a lot of everything. Fruit. Colour. Tannins. “Tannins are the hallmark of Barolo and they should be there,” says Marco. Less is more, does not exist here. That’s for sure.
Since Marco started working in the family winery in 1986, along with his sister Tiziana, a lot of time has been spent researching and trying new techniques to make barolo wines that he likes himself. “My barolos are delicious to drink early but they can also be aged. We will release a Barolo 2000 next year to show how well they develop,” says Marco.
He works in his own way both in the field and in the cellar. In a time when you often hear wine producers say that they do as little as possible so as not to affect or stress their wines, Marco does the opposite. One has to make an effort not to lose track when he talks about how he works with his nebbiolo grapes.
First, he picks the grapes and leaves the whole clusters to rest in a room where he controls moisture and temperature. “The grapes are stressed right after harvest and the stalks release bitter tannins. When the grapes and the stalks are left to rest for a few days, they come into contact with oxygen. Then the molecules change and give tannins that get longer and thus softer,” he says. He says water in the stalks evaporates and gives room to more oxygen, which helps start the fermentation. About seventy percent of the stalks are present during the fermentation.
“First I cool down the tank to do a cold maceration, to extract aromas, while avoiding fermentation.”
Then he raises the temperature to 33 degrees centigrade for two days. “To leach out as much colour as possible. Our wines are always darker compared to many other barolos,” he says.
He then lowers the temperature to 25 degrees for a slow fermentation until all the sugar has fermented out. When the wine has finished fermenting all sugar, he heats the tank again to 29 degrees. “I want to extract more than everything!” says Marco with great empathy. After that, the skins will remain in the wine to macerate between 40 and 60 days.
“We have very expensive technology and it requires a lot of work, which justifies our prices being high. Those who do nothing should, I think, charge less,” he says.
He then ages the wines on French oak barrels for two years before bottling. He only adds a little sulphur before bottling.