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FEATURED: Traditional Barbaresco from Versio

"The 2016 Barbaresco is fabulous. Rich, ample and inviting, with terrific depth, the 2016 opens up beautifully in the glass.” 
-Antonio Galloni, Vinous

One of the greatest things about this Golden Era for Piedmont is that there are so many new producers to get to know. In the '90s, if you loved classically-made Barolo or Barbaresco, you could maybe look to a dozen names. Now, the situation seems more like Burgundy, with lots of smaller, previously unknown, producers who have upped their games and are ready to be taken seriously.

It’s still pretty rare, though, to find a producer who is completely band new.
How many people out there could possibly be qualified to start a new domaine in Barolo or Barbaresco?

Not many.

But Francesco Versio is eminently qualified.

He was hand-picked by none other than Bruno Giacosa to serve as cellar master. He learned to make wine from Giacosa and Giacosa’s right-hand man Dante Scaglione. When Scaglione left Giacosa (for a few years; he’s back now), Versio took over the wine-making. In 2017 Versio moved to Luigi Oddero, where together with the same Dante he has helped to dramatically improve quality.

Of course, qualifications alone do not make great wine!

You also need great vines. Fortunately, the Versio family happens to have a few rows located in two Crus, Curra and San Cristofero, in the village of Neive (Giacosa’s home village in DOC Barbaresco). Until 2012, the family sold off the grapes. Since 2013, Francesco has bottled them under his own name, making quantities so small that he has had to continue working  for Giacosa and Oddero.

We are thrilled to have a small amount of Versio’s 2016 today. This is a classically-made wine from a classical vintage — exactly like what you might have enjoyed from a top Barbaresco twenty or thirty years ago. Wine-making is thoroughly traditional, with long maceration and aging in large old casks. The grapes are blended from his two sites, which are complementary: the Curra provides elegant fruit and the San Cristofero some backbone.

Francesco Versio, Barbaresco, 2016 $57.99
Here is the full tasting note from Galloni: "The 2016 Barbaresco is fabulous. Rich, ample and inviting, with terrific depth, the 2016 opens up beautifully in the glass. Sweet cherry, licorice, mint, rose petal, spice and new leather flesh out effortlessly. More than anything, though, I admire the wine's persistence and overall balance. The 2016 is the finest Barbaresco I have tasted yet from Francesco Versio. This is such a pretty wine. Compared with previous vintages, the 2016 offers more finesse and a more transparent expression of Nebbiolo than I have seen in the past."