Fabrizio Iuli belongs to our longtime friends. We met for the first time in 2003. In those days, his bold Barbera versions stood out for the sheer power and bold flavours. These days, his life is different, and so is ours. We've both grown older and perhaps wiser.
His new and extended range include abandoned old Piedmontese varieties like Slarina and Baratuciat. Barbera is still the main produce alongside Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo, but these days all wines are simply labeled Vino Rosso, which is a strong testament to his will to produce something unique and far from mainstream.
Once Fabrizio was the Italian Sommelier Association's darling for showing what Monferrato was capable of, in a time of blandness. Now he leads a pack of daring and forward thinking producers who work the land with future generations in mind. Needless to say that we both see the brilliance in Neil Youngs "Monsanto Years",
Montaldo is a quite place. Very quite. Silent, even. People living here reflect this peacefulness. Fabrizio used to care a lot about his wines being labeled Monferrato, but not anymore. These days, they are all labeled Vino Rosso, indicating that they these days reflect Fabrizio more than an official appellation.
"I was born here and have always lived here. I like to make my wines in the Piedmontese tradition (using cement and oak). Based on the characteristic white earth and the minerality of the soils I aim to make subtle wines. I like wines that are interesting, easy to drink, and hopefully elegant, fresh, crisp and vibrant." Fabrizio Iuli
Fabrizio's hands off approach is obvious. It's all about ripe, but nowhere close to overripe, grapes, which transforms into wine without interference. It means that time is an important factor here, meaning that bottling is carried later than most competitors.
EXPLORE OUR WINES
The name Barabba is a play on words with the grape variety Barbera. We liked the idea because just as Barabas in the bible was given a second chance, we felt that the Monferrato region also deserved a second chance in the face of other, better known regions such as the Langhe in Piedmont.
Hey, my name is La Rina, and Fabrizio produced me from 100% Slarina grapes! I’m here for all of you adventurous Sommeliers and consumers alike. As none of you have any ideas of my whereabouts, so my best advise is to pour a glass and see for yourself. Hell, you might well find me pretty attractive! I know that Fabrizio and Brix Wine are big fans already.
Malidea means ‘bad idea’ in Italian. Fabrizio has a sense of humor that he brings with him in the vineyard and cellar, and when he found out the name of the hill seperating his Barbera vineyards from this Nebbiolo…
vineyards was named such, he thought it would have a great double meaning, in his words; ‘Whats a better name for a wine to share on a first or second date!’The Nebbiolo vineyard was planted in 2003, so Fabrizio’s idea was to add his old vine Barbera to this young fruit to give it some backbone and strenght. The marriage of Nebbiolo and Barbera is also nothing new. The acidity and powerful bright fruit that the Barbera brings, together with the Tannins and aromatics of the Nebbiolo makes for a perfect wine marriage… and an ageing potential ‘di paura.’
After 4 vintages of blending these two varieties, we will finally see Fabrizio’s dream of producing a 100% Nebbiolo from Monferrato come true with the 2010 vintage.
Nino means baby in dialect… and this vineyard, and project of making Pinot Noir in Monferrato is absolutely Fabrizio’s baby. Fabrizio planted a hectare of Pinot Nero (he says in Italy it is Pinot Nero, that Pinot Noir is only in…
Rossore, named after the color Barbera puts in your cheeks, was in reality the first wine Fabrizio ever produced. A completely different label, but was actually the predecessor to Barabba. Fabrizio calls himself a…
‘Barbaresita’, and this wine is a perfect display of this. He lets the grape do all the talking and dancing in this wine… with minimal hands in the cellar. The vines range from 20-40 years old, and in off vintages, the fruit from the Barabba vineyard are blended into this wine. Aged as long as it needs to in used barrel, Fabrizio lets the wine tell him when it’s ‘done’. Natural yeasts, and Fabrizio has also recently stopped topping the barrels as much, letting the wine go into slight reduction which he believes adds to the complexity in the finished wine. No recipe to aging time, each vintage is different and hence each ‘child’ will be given the time he needs. In Rossore we can find the power, importance, yet friendly nature of Barbera in a price point that appeals to everyone. While Umberta is a Barbera about the pure fruit, Rossore is a Barbera showcasing what the wine can do without becoming too important to also be an everyday wine.
This is one of our favourite everyday wines, ever! Umberta packs serious Barbera fruitiness with an unmistakably Fabrizio Iuli identity. We’re well aware of the fact that there’s a boatload of well crafted Barbera wines carrying similar price tags, but to us, none comes in terms of complexity and sense of place.
We, as most wine importers, measure any producer by its entry level wine, and Umberta is the reason why we are constantly looking for reasons to revisit this special place. Not only is it the birthplace of Barbara, it’s also the home of Fabrizio Iuli.
At a Glance
|WHERE:||Montaldo lies in a hidden corner of Piedmont, Italy.|
|WHAT:||Organic, sleek and elegant wines produced mainly from Barbera, Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir.|
|HOW:||Simple, all natural production but wines are very far from being simple.|