Only a few savvy insiders in America know the wines raised by the amazing Natale Baricchi on his family’s farm, Cascina Baricchi, on the eastern edge of the Barbaresco appellation.
Partly because of wine but more so because of our shared passion for guitar (he’s got an amazing collection of handmade acoustic guitars, including some Spanish gems), Natale Baricchi, his wife Francesca, and I became good friends two years ago when I was teaching in Piedmont at the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences in Bra.
Yesterday, the couple hosted me and my Franciacorta bromances Nico Danesi and Giovanni Arcari for dinner and an informal tasting of their Cascina Baricchi Barbaresco (accompanied by guitar, of course!). That’s Nico, Franciacorta winemaker of acclaim, in the photo above.
Francesca and Natale live in the commune of Neviglie, just to the east of the Barbaresco appellation. But their vineyards are in the Barbaresco DOCG. Because Natale’s father began making wine there decades ago, they are “grandparented” into the appellation (their case is an exception but for most producers the grapes have to be transformed into wine within the appellation borders). Natale’s dad was super tight buds with Angelo G., who helped him early on when he was first planting Nebbiolo there.
Natale likes to hold his wines back. His current release is Barbaresco 2014 (most producers have already released their 2016). We also tasted the 2004. Both wines were extraordinary. The 04 was one of the best wines I’ve tasted this year, nearly fully evolved and drinking gorgeously.
It was all accompanied by Francesca’s homemade vitello tonnato, a little bit of insalata russa, freshly cut tomatoes, a wedge of farinata, and a slice of crusty bread. Superb!
Natale and Francesca are in the processing of changing U.S. importers. I think a lot of people will be very happy with the results in terms of availability moving forward.
And when I see you in person, I’ll tell you a voce about some of their noteworthy clients. Once you taste the wines, you’ll understand why so many Nebbiolo greats collect these.
Man, it’s great to be back in Italy again. Seeing my friends, tasting new releases and vintages, and remembering what makes my world go around.
Thank you Natale and Francesca! I love you guys! (Thanks also for letting me play you the new song I wrote for Tracie! That meant the world to me.)