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2020 Marco Barba Barbarossa

2020 Marco Barba Barbarossa

Region: Veneto < Italy

Grapes: Raboso, Merlot and Cabernet

Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Biodynamic farming, fermentation and aging in concrete; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal added So2; 12.5% ABV

Winemaker: Marco Barba

Young 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.

'Barbarossa' is a fresh, fun take on the traditional Valpolicella Valley blend, made from the grapes you find here: Raboso, Merlot and Cab, sourced from abandoned wineries that Marco and the Barbaboyz are bringing back to glory.  Light, frisky and unoaked, this wine is juicy, crunchy and spicy, with stemmy red fruit and cherries on a rocky mineral backbone.  It would be great with any tomato-driven dish, including red-sauced fish -- try with Cioppino or Bouillabaise.  And it looks nattier than it tastes, trust, even your mom would like it.


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