You may have already noted that we have been placing a little bit of a focus on the Nebbiolo grape in recent weeks, in addition to the two wines, Barolo and Barbaresco, that it is used to create. Of course, this is because both wines stand in the pantheon of the greatest red wines ever produced in Italy. However, it also raises the question of which wine and producer we are going to feature each week.
As always, we have decided that quality of product should trump all, so we are going to be examining a winery that not only creates a rather fabulous Barbaresco that we believe everybody should sample, but also has a history that is rather interesting in its own right.
This thinking has led us to Cascina Bruciata, so let’s look at the story behind this remarkable company before delving into one of the best wines that it has produced in recent memory.
The key trait that has defined the Cascina Bruciata throughout its history is the passion that it brings to wine production. Handed down from generation to generation, this passion is reflected in every single wine that it has produced and has led the company to enjoy a number of successes, particularly in more recent times as its reputation has finally caught up to the quality of the wines that it produces.
Before we get to that, let’s focus on that subject of passion once again. The Cascina Bruciata story is laced with individuals who brought true love for the land and the wines they produced into the industry. Without this commitment, it is unlikely that the company would ever have reached the heights that it has and it is a level of passion that Cascina Bruciata has both retained and built upon since the estate was purchased by no less than the Marchesi di Barolo in 2016.
Located in Rio Sordo, which stands about 300 metres above sea level, the Cascina Bruciata is part of the Crues of Barbaresco, making it an ideal place for production of the wine. The region has always held a reputation for being the birthplace of sophisticated and full-bodied wines and Cascina Bruciata aims to accentuate and build upon this reputation with every single vintage that it produces.
The winery itself owes much to the works of Lorenzo Fantini, who oversaw the Viticulture and Oenology in the Province of Cuneo monograph created in 1879. However, the true passion that drives the company finds its roots in the work of Giovanni Balbo, who took ownership of the vineyards in the middle of the 19th century and truly put his own stamp on the grapes that it produced and the wines that hailed from the region.
Working alongside his seven sons, Balbo was able to tame the rainy seasons that often affect Cascina Bruciata, using the climate to his advantage to create a vinicultural philosophy that leads to the development of a mature, healthy grape that is ideal for Barbaresco production.
Despite having a history that stretches back further than a century, Cascina Bruciata didn’t really come to the attention of the wider wine industry, and by extension the larger wine market, until the early 2000s. It was at this point of time that the work of the Balbo family finally came to fruition. In particular, the dedication of Carlo Balbo, whose goal was to build upon the reputation that the Cascina Bruciata already had in order to make it a wine label that acted as an instant denomination of quality, must be commended for finally bringing the company the recognition that the quality of its products always deserved.
Cascina Bruciata benefits from being located in an area that brings great oenological interest. Many remark upon the pure quality of the land at the heart of its production and the company itself will be quick to point out that this land offers it an advantage that many other producers don’t have. However, in addition to this advantage, Cascina Bruciata must work hard to maintain the land and ensure the qualities that make it so special in the first place are not only reflected in the wines that it produces, but are also preserved for future generations of its team to build on.
To further these particular efforts, the company has obtained the Biological Certification, which means it meets a set standard of vineyard preservation and ensures its land is tended with respect the natural equilibrium.
At its core, Cascina Bruciata represents all of the passion and respect for tradition that has bonded the family behind the company for so many generations. Importantly, however, the company always maintains one eye towards the future, balancing the respect for its own heritage with a level of innovation that ensures it is always working towards improving the qualities of its already stellar collections of wines, to the benefit of those who have passion for wine.
So with all of that being said, what wine should you purchase if you want to enjoy a true sample of what Cascina Bruciata has to offer? We believe that there are few better options out there than the Cascina Bruciata Barbaresco Rio Sordo Riserva 2011.
This stunning red wine has a beautiful rub colouring that you won’t always find in Barolos. Upon pouring, your nose will be overwhelmed by the gorgeous scents of violet and blackberry jam, with those who explore the drink a little further tending to notice just the slightest notes of nutmeg and cinnamon in the mix. Oddly enough, even deeper exploration gives way to the scent of nail polish and face powder, which lends the wine an even more unique aroma that truly isn’t duplicated anywhere else.
Upon introduction to the palate, the wine continues to astound. In addition to all of the previously mentioned notes, you will also enjoy a final taste that leaves behind the memory of sweet spices and red fruits, in addition to the elegant tannins that have led to Cascina Bruciata developing such a fine reputation.