CA' DEL BAIO
PIEDMONT - ITALY
Ca’ del Baio exudes a sense of youthfulness – probably helped along by Giulio Grasso’s three energetic daughters: Paola, Valentina, and Federica. The azienda itself is not so young – four generations of winegrowers going back to Luigi Grasso, the great-grandfather of the youngest generation. Proud parents, Giulio and his wife Luciana have even more to be proud of, as their modern, 25 hectare estate is producing some very fine Barbaresco and a range of other wines that leave the competition struggling to catch up. The entire range has a sense of verve, freshness, and vitality that can’t fail to impress the taster.
Giulio himself was recognised as 'Viticoltore dell'anno' - Winemaker of the Year - by Italy's famed Gambero Rosso (March, 2016). An incredible achievement for this humble man. They had this to say:“Giulio Grasso – founder of Caʼ del Baio winery – is an authentic grape-grower, a man who lives the rhythms of nature and countryside practically in symbiosis with his vineyards. Although his productions ranges from red white wines to red of the territory, it his nevertheless his Barbaresco wines from the Pora, Asili and Vallegrande crus that most deeply represent him, and above all, his ties to his land. He is transmitting these values to his daughters Paola, Valentina and Federica, who work with him in the winery.”
The family’s home and cantina are situated in Treiso. The cru Barbaresco vineyard holdings are divided among Treiso (Valgrande and Marcarini) and Barbaresco proper (Asili and Pora). Of the 25 or so hectares owned by the family, about 17 are in Treiso and the rest are in Barbaresco. Calcareous Marl predominates the soils; in some expositions they appear almost as white as snow thanks to all the lime and calcareous material present in the soils.
Farming is sustainable, using the methods known as 'agricultura integrata' – farming that is integrated with the environment and uses only minimal treatments, and only when absolutely necessary. Alcoholic fermentation usually starts spontaneously with indigenous yeast, except in rare vintages where the risks are too great – especially in wet vintages where botrytis infection is prevalent. Macerations are in the longish range – from 15 to 20 days, depending on the wine and the vintage. Sulphite and sulphur dioxide additions are extremely low – less than half the permitted amount. Elevage is primarily in botti grandi – large oval casks from Slavonian and Austrian oak. There is also some use of 500L tonneaux.
Ca’ Del Baio Barbaresco ‘Autinbej’ 2017
93 points, James Suckling - “A soft, fruity red with plum, walnut and lemon-rind character. Medium to full body and creamy tannins. Shows richness with tension.”
92 points, Antonio Galloni - “The 2017 Barbaresco Autinbej is a very pretty wine for drinking now and over the next handful of years. Dark red berry fruit, spice, leather, tobacco and cedar all build with time in the glass, giving the 2017 lovely textural richness and resonance. This is very nicely done.”
96 points, Luca Gardini
Ca’ Del Baio Barbaresco Cru Asili 2015
95 points, James Suckling - “Classic aromas of tar and roses with spices, strawberries and some leather. Full body, round and firm tannins and a chewy finish. A beautiful and unique wine from a great vineyard.”
Ca’ Del Baio Barbaresco Riserva Cru Asili 2011
95+ points, Antonio Galloni - “An absolute stunner, the 2011 Barbaresco Riserva Asili, emerges from the glass with a mélange of exotic, beguiling aromatics. Lavender, pine, rose petal, savoury herbs and melted road tar form a fabric of nearly indescribable beauty. Proprietor Giulio Grasso elected to leave the wine on its skins until the end of November. Power and finesse have never been so seamless here. Although just bottled, the 2011 Asili Riserva is a great wine in the making.”