Only 20km as the crow flies separate the two great Nebbiolo wines Barolo and Barbaresco. The village with 700 inhabitants is located about 5km northeast of the city of Alba on the river Tanaro. Barolo and Barbaresco are both proud Piedmontese, powerful, varietal wines made from the Nebbiolo grape, which ripens late, when the first mists are already moving through the vineyards. This is why Barbaresco is often called Barolo's little brother and the two wines are not only connected by the same grape variety. But the big one, the Barolo, is weightier, it has the longer tradition, has stricter rules and a larger growing area. Its little brother is a little less weighty and, wrongly, a little less famous. It, too, is a noble wine, vinified dry, but due to the lower position of its hills it matures a little faster and its soils have a different minerality than the Barolo. Thus, it is less tannic, more velvety and more accessible. The birth of Barbaresco is considered to be the founding of the Cantina Sociale di Barbaresco in 1894, when the united producers brought the first wines with the name Barbaresco to the market. Before, the Nebbiolo harvests of the region flowed into the nearby Barolo. In the 1920ies, however, the cantina had to close down, phylloxera and the economic crisis after World War I took their toll. It was not until 1958 that a new community was formed, the Produttori del Barbaresco cooperative, which today has 60 members and cultivates more than half of the area. In 2007, the DOCG Barbaresco was the first wine growing area in Italy to introduce a legally defined vineyard cartography; Barolo followed suit as late as three years later. The cooperative is one of the most important vintners' associations in Italy. A well-known name in Italian wine has contributed a lot to this: Angelo Gaja. As an innovative and energetic fourth-generation scion of the wine estate of the same name, he stands for modernity; he has, so to speak, kissed Barbaresco awake from its slumber. He brought a breath of fresh air into the cellars, he pressed single vineyards, vinified in French barriques, and brought wines with international grape varieties to the market, which caused a sensation worldwide. The name Barbaresco became a quality predicate. The Barbaresco growing area is tiny, consisting of only 500 hectares, with the three villages of Barbaresco, Neive and Reiso. According to DOCG regulations, a Barbaresco must be aged for at least 26 months, nine of them in wooden barrels. A Riserva is even stored for 50 months before it can be sold. At around 10 to 15 years, it has less aging potential than Barolo, and after 5 years of aging, it is perfect. The little king brother impresses with its balance of alcohol, tannin and acidity, a fine berry aroma and a bright, orange-red colour.
more about Barbaresco DOCG