Garassino: a (commendable) 30 for Barbaresco!
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With the 2017 vintage, this wine by Tenuta Carretta reaches its 30th harvest: identity and diversity of the «monopole» Menzione Geografica
The town of Treiso, one of the four where Barbaresco DOCG wine comes from, is located a few kilometers from Alba. From the first hilly ridge delimited by the road that leads to the town comes a truly exceptional wine, a rare product of the complex Piedmontese wine scene. We are talking about the Barbaresco Docg that bears the Menzione Geografica Aggiuntiva Garassino on its label: exclusively used by Tenuta Carretta, this wine has now reached its 30th harvest with the release of the 2017 vintage.
Nearing the 555th anniversary of Tenuta Carretta, the 30th vintage of Barbaresco Barbaresco Garassino is a small milestone for this tiny Piedmontese “climat”: one that, year after year, offers wines standing out for their marked complexity and incredibly refined and elegant character.
“We have gone a long way since 1987, when this wine was first produced – says Giovanni Minetti, Tenuta Carretta’s CEO – Anniversaries are important because they give context and scope to the history of our winery and to each of the wines produced from our vineyards. This is a story about the work behind this Barbaresco, 30 years of studying the grape and dealing with its changes, continuously experimenting and improving the final product at each harvest. The value added is given by time: we are fully aware that each harvest is a new challenge for those who work in the vineyard and in the cellar, in order to best express the characteristics of the grapes to be harvested. Year after year, we have worked to enhance quality, facing each harvest with great enthusiasm”.
The 2.9 hectares of Nebbiolo that yield this Barbaresco are located along the two sides at the edge of the Nervo hill. Stretching towards the north-west and enjoying constant sunlight for most of the day, the vineyards are surrounded by typical elements of the territory: hazelnut groves and the Cherasca River to the west, a valley floor forest to the east.
The vineyard is rooted to ancient soils that date back to the Tortonian (Sant’Agata Fossili Marls). In Garassino, the silty soil contains a good percentage of clay and limestone, as well as fine and not excessively sandy sediments. The two vineyards embody the peculiar terroir, yielding highly elegant and pleasant wines characterized by an excellent acidity that ensures the right level of freshness, without affecting its structure, ultimately making for a pleasant drink.
The 2017 vintage
The 2017 harvest can be described as a demanding and filled with challenges. The frosty spring season was followed by a severe summer drought, even experiencing hail in the latter part. Garassino has not been directly hit by hailstorms or early frosts, but such extreme weather conditions have led to a delay in the vegetative phase and ripening of vines that were not immediately affected. This ensued a quantitatively scarce harvest that required utmost attention in the vineyard and in the cellar, but such difficulties have made the highly satisfying final result even more meaningful.
The Garassino Me.G.A (Menzione Geografica Aggiuntiva) and the monopole cru
Thoroughly illustrated through graphics and figures in the book about the Menzioni of Barbaresco by journalist Alessandro Masnaghetti, Garassino is described as “a thin strip of vineyards facing west and located on the far end of the Nervo and Rizzi hills”. Here, the 3 hectares of Nebbiolo yield Barbaresco Garassino Docg.
Garassino is a Menzione Geografica Aggiuntiva exclusively owned by Tenuta Carretta, which can refer to this Menzione as similar to a French Cru monopole. If we consider the French clos, or those properties delimited by Cistercian and Benedictine monks to define, defend and identify the extension and quality of their vineyards, the analogy with Garassino is clear: a small and well-defined plot characterized by such quality and consistency sufficient enough to ensure identity and distinct value to the product, which is exclusively vinified by a single owner. This definition restores the concept of monopole, utilized by Tenuta Carretta for Barbaresco Garassino as a wine with distinct characteristics, a crucial element within a complex and articulated wine scene such as that of the Langhe.