Cascina San Michele
This is a new operation run by one person, Marco Minnucci. Marco does one thing and he does it very well. He only makes Barbera d’Asti. Marco comes from good stock having worked at Roberto Voerzio, who makes some of the most sought after Barbera in Italy. Marco recently stepped out on his own (with a little Swiss financial backing). Marco currently makes two wines (soon to be three with the 2015 vintage), a vineyard blend that is aged in stainless steel (called Primevi) and a single vineyard Barbera d’Asti that is aged briefly in neutral oak barrels (called Briccone). The vineyards are maintained without the use of any chemical fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides. Yields are limited to a mere 2-3 pounds of grapes per vine.
2012 Barbera d'Asti “Briccone” – The Barbera grapes for Briccone come from the hill called briccono, in the tiny hamlet of Santa Margherita, just to the northeast of Costigliole d’Asti. The vines are between 30-40 years old and are maintained organically, without the use of any chemical fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides. Yields are limited to a mere 2-3 pounds of grapes per vine. This requires at least one green harvest in which half the grape bunches are cut and dropped to the ground so the remaining grapes get the optimal amount of sugar and reach perfect ripeness. The grapes are harvested in the morning (typically in September) and brought to the winery while they are still cool. Fermentation takes place with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks over a period of 20-30 days, with grapes being circulated in the tank about twice a day, depending on the vintage. In January the wine is moved to oak barrels, that are mostly in the second and third vintage of use. The wine matures in these oak barrels for about 12 months. The wine is then blended from the barrels and bottled.