Size & Type
The implication is that Barolo is more masculine, Barbaresco more feminine. Like so many of the worlds wine regions this is dependent on site, viticultural and winemaking practices. Over the last few decades Barbaresco has evolved significantly in all three of these factors, whilst site has remained the same, climate at the site hasn’t, the detail and thought put into grape growing has like the winemaking continued to be pushed to make better wines.
The thinking around this, the wine philosophy has shifted too. The spectrum of styles has shifted to wines that are less rustic, more refined and restrained.
First Records of Wine Production
The widely accepted birthdate of Barbaresco is 1894, when Cantina Sociale di Barbaresco was founded, as before that date Nebbiolo grapes from the Barbaresco area were mostly sold to Barolo producers.
Barbaresco has held DOCG status since 1980.
The first and second world wars pushed the region into an abyss. In the 1950’s Barbaresco stir to life again thanks to a new generation of dynamic winemakers, including Bruno Giacosa and Angelo Gaja. In addition, the local parish priest, Don Fiorino Marengo, founded Produttori del Barbaresco cooperative cellar, the successor to Cavazza’s original vision to make outstanding wine and stop the exodus of young farmers who were abandoning the countryside.
By the late 1960s, the Gaja and Bruno Giacosa wineries began to market Barbaresco internationally with some success. The Produttori cooperative became one of the most respected cellars in Italy and inspired more landholders in Barbaresco to return to their vineyards and to make quality wine.
Area Planted & Geology
Barbaresco’s production is around ⅓ of Barolo’s. The call is that the soils are similar to those of the Communes of La Morra and the Commune of Barolo. Not that you’d match the personality of the wines with the commune comparison. The Tanaro river plays a significant role influencing the region maritime climate (moderating the temperature highs and lows).
There are 4 regions producing Barbaresco, the first, Commune di Barbaresco surrounding the actual township of Barbaresco and producing around 45% of the production, the second Commune di Neive with around 35%, Commune di Treiso with around 20%, and, the Commune di Alba.
Like Barolo a massive body of work has been undertaken to define and classify the Cru vineyards in Barbaresco. You’ll see names like Pajé, Rabajà, Montestefano, Montefico, Asili, Pora, Rio Sordo, Ovello, Gallina, Rombone, and, Roncagliette on labels. Some like Gaja use names of Cuvees on rather than the Cru. Gaja name their wine made from the Roncagliette Cru, Sori Tildin.
Most Common Varieties
White – Moscato
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