Carlo Giacosa & daughter Marie Grazia (2nd & 3rd generation)
Would Barbaresco have survived if it wasn’t for the Giacosa’s? … Well, possibly. But it sure needs to pay respect to Donato Giacosa. He’s one of three magician vine grafters who ensured phylloxera didn’t abolish grape growing in their hometown of Barbaresco. During these trying times of the 1950s Donato & friends took the lead on swapping all the native rootstocks with American ones to side step the devastation. A widely understood concept, but it’s a meticulous craft that needs expertise to execute. Especially if you’re betting the entire region’s future on it. They rose to the occasion and with extreme diligence, they got the job done, became hometown hero’s, then got back to their day jobs…making amazing Barbaresco! A small piece of regional history that shouldn’t be forgotten.
Donato’s knowledge and reputation in the area provided the opportunity for him to acquire pieces of the distinct Cru vineyards Montefico, Asili, Ovello and Cole. Many of which are single vineyard bottlings with a minimal production of 500 cases each. Of their total holdings of 5.5 hectares each vineyard is shared, where farming responsibility comes down to individual rows, quite similar to the model you’ll find in Burgundy. Donato (Narin in local dialect) laid down the foundation with these incredible plots of land and the next generations built on it. His son Carlo Giacosa, whom the winery name carries, pioneered Rosato in the region. Carlo’s daughter Maria Grazie expanded the international awareness by spreading their story to export markets while maintaining winery operations. And now, her son Luca, holds the ranks as the youngest winemaker in Barbaresco and is charting new terrain by exploring Langhe Pinot Nero with his recent plantings in 2016.
While pushing forward with new ideas the Giacosa family still remains in touch with their originality from 50 years ago. Farming and production is still rooted in minimal intervention, indigenous yeasts, long macerations, gentle filtration and limited sulphur use. In addition to these principles drastic green harvests are not arguable. To this day Donato is still grazing the vineyards ensuring half of the fruit is dropped in July as to reduce yields, increase concentration and uphold family standards.
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