We heard about this special little estate in Barbaresco, separately, from two friends. Cascina Baricchi is a unique estate in that, to our knowledge, it is the only producer of a Barbaresco (their Rose delle Casasse bottling) made one hundred percent from the Nebbiolo Rose clone* (more on the clone discussion later). The winery is in a small village called Neviglie which is in Neive though near the border with the commune of Treiso. It is run by Natale Simonetta and his wife, Francesca. Natale’s family is originally from the Varese area in Lombardia though near Ghemme and Gattinara. His family was in the tile business though in 1991 he had an accident while skiing and had to leave the family business. He was also on the Italian national super motocross team and had to leave that as well. He decided to move to Barbaresco where his father had bought an estate back in 1979. It was there that Natale fell in love with wine. The winery started bottling wine in 1989 though the first Barbaresco bottled was from the 1996 vintage.
The winery makes about eight to ten thousand bottles of Babaresco per year. They make the previously mentioned Riserva Rose delle Casasse from a vineyard called Casasse which is in Neive though it was not granted status as an official cru or “menzioni” for the DOCG. The original vines in the vineyard were planted in 1913 and the subsequent replantings were made from massale selections from those old vines. Currently there are .4 hectare of vines from 1913, .2 planted in 2008 and .8 planted in 2009. There are some who claim that Nebbiolo Rose is genetically distinct from Nebbiolo and a separate grape entirely (though related) though others believe it is just a clone of Nebbiolo. Natale believes the latter, that it is a clone of Nebbiolo. Their second Barbaresco RIserva “Quindicianni” is a blend of fruit from Casasse and Bricco di Treiso. The Nebbiolo from Casasse is Rose clone and the Nebbiolo from Bricco di Treiso is the Michet clone. After ageing in cask for five years followed by an additional ten years in the bottle before release, hence the “Quindicianni,” fifteen years.
Baricchi’s wines are traditional in style, long macerations, large, neutral botti. The Rose delle Casasse has a very distinct style being from all Nebbiolo Rose. Nebbiolo Rose typically makes aromatic wines though often wines with less extraction and color. That said, the Rose delle Casasse is actually typically quite powerful and distinct in style with floral notes but also spice and licorice. We are lucky that Natale keeps some inventory of precious older vintages which we will happily bring in, though, in small quantities.