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All podcast music: “Café connection” by morgantj / CC BY 3.0, ©2009 – Licensed under Creative Commons 
Attribution (3.0) 

Mar 28, 2022

Denise Marrone comes from a long line of wine growers and winemakers in Barolo. Starting in 1910 when Pietro Marrone, at age 23, asked his father in if he could improve vineyard practices, the family has had a dedication to producing the highest quality grapes and wines  possible from the Langhe, specifically Barolo and Barbaresco.  The family’s legacy, dedication to the land, and their unbelievable hospitality at the winery in La Morra (you have to visit), is such a joy to learn about.

Denise Marrone, Courtesy of Marrone

Denise and her sisters run Marrone with their father, Gian, today. Denise is a fireball of energy, and her outlook on wine, her candor, and her genuine kindness make this show one of the best I’ve done! I hope you love her as much as I do!

 

Here are the show notes:

  • Denise tells us about her life in Barolo and a bit about her family’s history in the region, as well as about what life used to be like there, during her grandparents’ time

  • We discuss how young Barolo is as a region, and why it’s important to realize that although it has made wine for a long time, really Barolo is at the beginning of its journey versus regions like Chianti

    Marrone Barolo Bussia, Courtesy of Marrone

  • Denise gives us a full education on the terroir of Barolo, the most important thing behind the wine. FINALLY I get an excellent definition of the MGA (menzione geografica aggiuntive) system: a mapping of soil types that give some indication about the types of wines you may expect from that area. It’s very similar to the system in Burgundy, but without the cru classifications. Within this conversation with discuss the importance of things like exposure, altitude, position on a slope, wind, rain, and more

 

  • Denise talks about her various vineyards in Madonna di Como and her family rents land to farm in some of the MGAs to make their Barolo (her family prefers to do this versus buying grapes because then they have total control over the farming, which is mainly organic and all sustainable)

 

  • We hammer out the differences in Nebbiolos – Langhe, Nebbiolo d’Alba, Barolo, and Barbaresco – all of which Marrone makes masterfully. We talk truthfully about how some Langhe Nebbiolo and Nebbiolo d’Alba may be better than Barolo, even if it can’t get the same price for the wine.

 

  • Denise talks about her beautiful Barberas, finnicky Dolcettos (and I confirm, it IS an insider’s wine! I love it, I’m biased!), and Marrone’s expansive white wine selection. Marrone’s production is 40% white – Arneis, Chardonnay, and Favorita (Vermentino) – are excellent and their focus on whites shows in the wines. Denise talks a bit about the history of Arneis, specifically, and how difficult it was to make before there was good technology.

 

  • We discuss the role of women in Barolo, and how normal it has become for women like Denise and her sisters Serena and enologist/vigneron Valentina, to take the reins from their fathers today. Denise makes an incredibly astute point that now that technology has made work in the vineyards easier, men and women are much more on equal footing and it’s more a mind thing than a physical thing (BRILLIANT!!).

Denise Marrone, Courtesy of Marrone

  • Denise is the QUEEN of hospitality. Our conversation tries to do justice to how good it really is (but you have to go there to understand). Perhaps her last statement about always striving to do more and better explains it best – the attitude of a winery like that has one way to go – and that’s UP!!

 

You can find Marrone’s wines in the US, Canada, and the UK! They are wonderful, as is she!

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