Masters of Barolo: Giovanni Manzone

We have nothing but love for Manzone. Great people, great wines, superb value.

Everything we look for.

The People

A lot of today’s famous Barolo producers started making wine when it became the fashionable thing to do in the late 70s and 80s.

Not Manzone.

It all began in 1925 when Manzone Giovanni bought the “Preve Ciabot” (the priest’s house) and began to use grapes from the Castelletto vineyard. In the following years they acquired important vineyards “Castelletto” and “Gramolere”, two of the best cru of Monforte d’Alba.

Today they have six generations of winemaking history in the books and Giovanni Manzone still runs the show. His son Mauro stepped in to help in 2005 and his daughter Mirella joined in 2012. Both graduated from the historic Alba School of Enology.


“Manzone Giovanni is a small producer who does magic with Nebbiolo”

Wine Spectator

The Land

The winery is surrounded by 8 hectares (19 acres) of vines, all planted at high elevation on steep hillsides that promote naturally low yielding vines. There’s the Gramolere vineyard in Monforte, perched at 1200 feet and filled with 35-55 year old vines. Bordering the villa is the Castelleto vineyard, where the vines are around 30-35 years old.

Manzone prides themselves on sustainable vineyard management. Minimalist interventions, with no pesticides or chemical treatments ever being used here.


Each vineyard has brings something different to the table.

Gramolere is Manzone’s premiere vineyard. In good years, they take the best fruit from here and make 1000-2000 bottles of their Barolo Riserva. Gramolere has a stony, calcarous soil and most vines average 35 years old. It produces a mid-weight, elegant Barolo.

Bricat means “small hill” and this bottling sources from the oldest 50+ year vines on the highest and best exposed portion of the Gramolere vineyard.

Castelletto is the one-hectare vineyard bordering their home. It’s South-East facing toward Serralunga d’Alba and the Barolo from here tends to have thicker tannin, and a bit heavier structure.

The Wines

Manzone follows a traditional style. That means generally longer maceration times (although sometimes they might do a shorter 15 day maceration, and short, 7-10 day times for the Barbera and Dolcetto) under the cap, minimal pump overs, and aging primarily in large 500-700L Slavonian casks. The wines are unfined and unfiltered with minimal sulfur added.

They produce 4,100 cases per year, and focus on single vineyard expressions of the nebbiolo grape. We’re talking textbook Barolo, a lineup with pure expression of the grape in every bottle; heaps of strawberry, rose petal, tar, earthiness and spices. In the spirit of great producers like Mascarello and Rinaldi, they eschew the trend of using lavish new French oak, which can smother Nebbiolo’s delicate nuances under a mask of vanilla and chocolate.


They crush it every year, bringing home big scores across their entire range of wines. Some highlights include:

  • Gramolere Riserva Gramolere 2006 – 94 points from Wine Advocate
  • Barolo Gramolere 2009 – 93 points Wine Spectator
  • Barolo Castelletto 2008 – 94 points Wine Spectator
  • Barolo Bricat 2013 – 94+ points Wine Advocate, 95 points Vinous
  • Barolo Riserva Gramolere 2010 – 95 points Wine Advocate
Manzone is an “agriturismo”. This is one of Italy’s best kept accommodation secrets. The word means “farm stay”. Basically it’s a farm house resort. They usually involve wine, cheese, olives, or all three. You get to experience the full scope of operations, farming, winemaking, and life as it is in the Italian countryside. Best of all? The food! We’re talking real deal Italian meals you can’t find in a restaurant.

We make a yearly pilgrimage to Italy (more here, here, here) to hang out with our favorite producers and Manzone is always at the top of our list. While there we eat a terrifying amount of local cuisine – tagliatelle with wild boar ragu, creamy agnolotti, heaps of “carne cruda” (raw beef), massive chunks of braised short ribs, and white truffle everything. We stroll the vineyards. And of course taste all the upcoming vintages of wines. You better believe they have some killer stuff in store from the 2015 and 2016 vintages.

Their entire lineup from Dolcetto and Barbera to Barolo never disappoints. We can’t wait to see what 2017 brings.

Check out Manzone’s website to learn more.

Mike Meisner

Mike Meisner

Mike is the resident content creator for the Last Bottle blog. When he's not spilling wine on his keyboard he can be found wandering the aisles in the warehouse with a Coravin in hand, whispering to bottles "This will only hurt for a second".
Mike Meisner

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