2020 Marco Barba Barbarbolla Frizzante
Region: Veneto < Italy
Grapes: Garganega + a splash of Trebbiano
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Biodynamic farming, fermentation in concrete tanks, 2nd fermentation in bottle kicked off with the addition of dried grape juice; bottled without disgorging under crown cap with no added So2; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Marco BarbaYoung gun winemaker and biodynamic farmer Marco Barba is the heart (and face - that's him on the labels) of the Marcobarba project. After university, Marco moved to the Jura to work as a shepherd and farmer, inspired by biodynamic agriculture and the ideas of Rudolf Steiner. After honing his farming skills, he moved back home to Lonigo, in the Veneto, to start making wine. His day job is assistant winemaker to Stefano Menti, the biodynamic Garganega whisperer in Gambellara. He also makes his own wine, for the eponymous Marco Barba project, in the Menti cellars. I had the pleasure of visiting Stefano and Marco last summer in Gambellara, where we walked the steep hillside vineyards on serious volcanic soils, the mystery element that gives the whites from here such electricity.
For his own project, he makes wine from a few vineyards he manages on behalf of elderly widows in town, and with the help of his friends - whom he affectionately refers to as the 'Barbaboyz'. Slowly but surely, he converted these vineyards to biodynamic farming, and makes the wines with minimal additions: "wines simply made with grapes" he says.
'Barbabolla' is Marco's zippy, frothy, citrusy fizz made in the ancestral method, with an addition of dried grape juice to kickstart the second fermentation. Cloudy and hazy from the spent lees remaining in the bottle, and bright, lemony and minerally (from that glorious volcanic soil), with barely-there bubbles and energetic fruit, this is a fantastic, all purpose bubble with surprising complexity.