Barolo uncovered with dbHK and Michael Palij MW

Members of Hong Kong’s wine trade and wine enthusiasts explored five Barolo communes and five ‘crus’ with Italian wine expert Michael Palij MW in the latest of dbHK’s masterclasses.


In the sumptuous surrounds of the Ritz-Carlton, the drinks business Hong Kong hosted a trade and consumer masterclass, led by local Italian wine specialist VinoVeritas Asia’s founder and Italian wine expert, Michael Palij MW to explore the five communes of Barolo: Serralunga, Monforte, Castiglione Falletto, La Morra and Barolo.

Following decades of research and numerous trips to Italy since attaining his MW at the tender age of 29, Palij shone a light on the little-known topic of menzioni geografiche aggiuntive (MGA); a relatively new classification which sought to recognize Barolo’s 170 single vineyards (‘crus’) and which came into force from the 2010 vintage so that every wine produced from a single vineyard must now carry its MGA on the label.

“It’s like a spotlight on a little corner of Italy,” he said. “Since 65 million years BC when the Langhe lurched out of the sea and the first vine was introduced from Liguria in 500BC, this small area has and still boasts a varied terrain, geography and topography which manifests itself in differing expressions of Barolo wine.”

It was in 1966 and 1980 when Barolo became a DOC and DOCG respectively, but it was only when Renato Ratti published his famous map of Barolo cru with three tiers that Italy recognized the need for Barolo to have its own cru system but “this being Italy and fraught with faff,”  it was only in 2010 when the Italian Government made the MGA classification official.

“Which is good really,” continued Palij. “Because 2010 happens to be an absolute classic vintage for Barolo.”

Five iconic Barolo producers, Domenico Clerico, Damilano, Giuseppe Mascarello, Massolino and Roberto Voerzio were represented by several of Hong Kong’s prominent wine importers, including Enoteca, Altaya Wines, VinoVeritas Asia, Sino Vantage Asia and Kerry Wines and came under scrutiny in the first masterclass for 16 of Hong Kong and Macau’s wine trade.

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