The only thing that’s simple about Sarmassa is the geology, because the base consists only of typical Sant’Agata Fossili Marls. Beyond that the terrain of the MGA is a whirligig of younger and evoluted soils, of exposures, of altitudes and, last but not least, of winery styles.
To simplify things, Sarmassa can be perceived as a basin with its center the Cascina Sarmassa farm in the lower part of the hollow (which is much deeper than it seems in the first image). Beyond that, to the right, is Cascina Merenda at the center of a southfacing slope, which represents the downward extension of Cerequio. That slope normally renders the most substantial wines, with the exception of the Barolo Vigna Merenda of Giorgio Scarzello, whose character seems to be more influenced by the winery style than the terrain.
To the left lie two very distinct segments of vineyards: one at the foot of the Liste ridge, where younger soils prevail, and the other just below Rué, where evoluteded soils prevail. From the latter area and the vineyards just below the road leading to Cascina Sarmassa comes the Barolo Sarmassa of Giacomo Brezza e Figli, which, as might be expected, generally has a bit more weight and particularly tasty tannins.
The other segment, between the road down to the Cascina Sarmassa, San Lorenzo and Albarella, is devoted mainly to Dolcetto, with the exception of Vigna Bricco, from which comes the Giacomo Brezza e Figli Riserva of the same name and where, thanks to the soils (no longer evoluted) and warmer exposure, the Barolo regains austerity and vigor, as well as a more marked floral tone.
Barolo Riserva Sarmassa Vigna Bricco – Giacomo Brezza e Figli; Barolo Sarmassa Vigna Merenda – Giorgio Scarzello; Barolo Sarmassa – Virna
Barolo San Lorenzo – Cavalier Bartolomeo; Barolo Albarella – Andrea Oberto; Barolo Boschetti – Giorgio Scarzello