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…
France). His father and the residents of our 100 person town all shook their heads in dismay as Fabrizio ripped up old Barbera vines to put this ‘foreign and strange’ grape in their little village. Fabrizio chose Dijon clones for their aromatics… the part of Burgundies that obviously always intrigued him the most, and took some lessons and pointers from his long time friend and colleague Flavio Basilicata of Le Due Terre who had been producing Pinot Nero in Friuli since the late 80’s. With each vintage we see and feel the difference of another year of age on the vines, manifested in our glasses more than with any other of our varieties. It has been exciting to see what each new vintage brings with this finicky but obviously happy to be here vineyard. This wine has become somewhat of an icon for Pinot lovers in Italy, and Fabrizio began to have more demand than he had wine for, and so in 2011 Fabrizio rented another hectare of Pinot Noir already farmed organically just 20 minutes from our own vineyards. Spiced fruit, delicate balance, it’s a Pinot Nero without pretense that is ready to be enjoyed immediately upon bottling (unlike many of the great Burgundies).
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.