Azienda Agricola Nada Giuseppe, Barbaresco
|Country & Region||Italy, Piemonte|
|Producer||Giuseppe, Nella, Barbara and Enrico Nada|
On March 27, 1900, a forefather of Giuseppe Nada sealed a deal on a vineyard, orchard, and a small house on a steep hillside in the commune of Treiso. The vineyard was in the cru of Casot, and that forefather bought the parcel from a fellow by the name of Gaja.
In 1964 Giuseppe’s father, Antonio, made the risky decision to begin to estate bottle a part of his production, requiring him to invest in a small winery (he put it in the basement of that house on the Casot hillside). It was a prescient move: in 1966 the DOC of Barbaresco, named after one of the three villages in the appellation, became established.
In 1968 Antonio moved to the other side of the ridge, but closer to the top so he had a better view. Probably more importantly, the location made it much easier to receive grapes from either side of the hill. He built a new basement winery and put his house on top. Today, Giuseppe and his wife Nella live here, and up against the lower wall of the house is their first row of vines in the cru of Marcarini.
At midpoint, Marcarini stands at 325 meters; Casot at 315 (low by Treiso’s standards), and the two occupy flanking positions on the same ridge coming down off the spine of Treiso. The Nada holdings in the two constitute six hectares (almost 15 acres), which is the totality of vines owned by this industrious family. These days, Giuseppe and Nella stay fit maintaining the vineyards where they do practically all of the work, while their daughter Barbara manages the office and their enologist son Enrico oversees the wine production down in the cellar.
The three towns of what is now a DOCG are Treiso, Neive, and Barbaresco. They form a triangle: Barbaresco in the west, Neive in the east, and Treiso—the smallest in acreage and highest in elevation—in the south. Innately, Barbaresco and Treiso lean toward elegance while Neive can pack more power and structure, but the differences can be readily rendered mute by the hand of man. It is worth noting, however, that if it snows, it snows first in Treiso, and Treiso’s altitudes give it the widest diurnal swings.
Down in the river valley is the small, ancient city of Alba, effectively separating Barbaresco from Barolo, Piedmont’s two great regions for Nebbiolo. They sit about ten miles apart, but much more than distance separates them.
To begin, Barolo had a head start over Barbaresco by several generations. Its reputation was built in the 19th century by selling slightly sweet Nebbiolo wine to the French court of Savoy in Turin. Toward the end of that century, the farmers in Barbaresco petitioned to have their region’s crop included into the production of Barolo, but were denied. In 1894, an enologist from Barbaresco got nine families to form a cooperative, and Barbaresco, the wine, got its first real push. The cooperative closed in the 1920s under restrictive economic rules issued by the Fascists and only re-opened, thanks to the village priest, in 1958 under the name of Produttori Del Barbaresco.
In acreage, the DOCG of Barbaresco is just over a third of the size of Barolo at roughly 1,200 acres versus Barolo’s 3,000. It has three communes to Barolo’s eleven. It is ever so slightly warmer during a normal growing season, and its grapes typically ripen a bit earlier than in Barolo. The soils are similar and similarly quite diverse, but, generally, Barbaresco, being closer to the Tanaro River, has more alluvial soils with more sand whereas Barolo has a bit more limestone and clay (these are generalities; specific sites can quickly counter them). When it comes to wine, alluvial soils translate into elegance and perfume; clay translates into structure and power, hence Barbaresco’s reputation as the Queen and Barolo’s as the King—in her you find Nebbiolo’s rose petals, in him you find its tar. Lastly, legally, Barbaresco must be aged for a minimum of two years, with at least one of them in wood; Barolo must be aged for three years, with at least two of them in wood.
Once Enrico came on board, his keen intelligence and passionate direction allowed the family to go organic in the vineyards in 2014. They received initial certification in 2017, while the white vineyards will be certified in 2018 and 2019. In the cellar, Enrico now lets all of the red wines ferment spontaneously, and he inoculates the whites with a selected organic yeast.
|Langhe Rosato||Nebbiolo||From both Barbaresco and DOC Nebbiolo parcels, coming from what amounts to a cluster thinning done 2 to 3 weeks in advance of the red wine harvest. This preserves aromatics, acidity, and restraint in alcohol levels for the rosé while concentrating remaining clusters for the red wines. Made in tank and bottled after 3 to 4 months on its fine lees. 200 cases annually.
|Langhe Riesling||Riesling||From vines first planted by Enrico in 2011 in the estate s coolest site on top of the hill. Usually, experimental grapes like this are planted at the bottom of the hillsides where it's known that the favored son Nebbiolo grows too vigorously in the rich soil but where, of course, cooling breezes and diurnal swings are at a minimum.
This comes from two parcels, one of which is sheltered from the afternoon sun by the winery itself, and the grapes have excellent levels of acidity. The wine rests on its fine lees for three to four months, then gets twelve months of bottle age before being released. Total production is less than 200 cases.
|Langhe Bianco DOC:||50-60% Sauvignon Blanc, 30-40% Arneis, and maximum 10% Favorita (a.k.a. Vermentino)||A Piedmontese white with terrific aromatics and a textured body, the latter coming from low yields and a very low addition of SO2 rather than any oak aging (it's raised in steel) or battonage. This wine is bottled early and does not undergo malolactic fermentation. Production is around 800 cases annually.
|Dolcetto d’Alba||Dolcetto||This is a quintessentially fresh Dolcetto that looks toward fruit and deliciousness over alcohol and power. These grapes come from Marcarini and the wine is raised entirely in steel. As with all of Enrico Nada s wines, the SO2 levels are low. Around 600 cases are made each year.|
|Barbera d’Alba Superiore||Barbera||Superiore designation is reserved for Barbera that is aged a minimum of a year in barrel (in this case, a mixture of small casks called tonneaux and 500-liter barrels, both older). This all comes from Marcarini, a southeast-facing site that gives red fruit and elegance to Barbera’s meat and blood. 250 cases annually.
|Langhe Nebbiolo||Nebbiolo||Primarily from Marcarini, from parcels designated for this bottling, or from young vines, or declassified Barbaresco (sometimes a combination of all 3!). Those parcels designated for this cuvée usually picked a few days earlier than those parcels designated for Barbaresco. Like the Barbera, aged in tonneaux and what is called botticelle (500 or 1,000-liter barrels). Around 600 cases annually.
|Barbaresco Casot||Nebbiolo||Pronounced ca-zot with a hard t, like hot. Nada has 8.6 acres here, 90% of which is planted to Nebbiolo; exposure is southwest, making it warmer than Marcarini. For its first year, wine aged in a combination of tonneaux and botticelle, then transferred into big Slavonian casks for another year. Bottled without fining and with only a very light filtration. Around 600 cases annually.
|Barbaresco Riserva Casot||Nebbiolo||A further selection of grapes in Casot; aged in 1,000-liter botticelle for 4 years. The year depending, anywhere from 250 to 500 cases made.