Of Italy’s (arguably) two greatest wines, Barbaresco is often thought of as the more elegant cousin of Barolo. Like Barolo, the DOC makes wines from 100% Nebbiolo that have power, depth, complexity and extraordinary age-worthiness, but can be just bit lighter and more approachable at an earlier point than a typical Barolo. The Moccagatta estate was established in 1952 by a family of viticulturists who have owned vineyards and property in the area since the 19th century, and in recent decades Moccagatta has risen to the first rank of Barbaresco producers. Franco and Sergio Minuto, the present owners, are supported by Martina, Sergio's daughter and a trained oenologist, and by Stefano, Franco's son, who has always worked at the estate.
Their wines are made at three parcels, or crus, of radically different character, two in the commune of Barbaresco, Bric Balin and Cole, and one in the commune of Neive, Basarin. The crown jewel, however, is Bric Balin, which is the family’s name for the plot they own within the renowned Muncagota vineyard. This scenic vineyard sits between two other renowned vineyards, Asili and Rabaja, and Moccagatta shares it with one of the most prominent and familiar of Barbaresco producers, Produttori del Barbaresco. The wine matures in French oak barriques for 18 months (the DOC required minimum is 9 months), finishing in the bottle is 9-10 months, and vine age is 35 – 60 years. The estate works organically and Moccagatta adheres to EU guidelines that encourage low environmental impact methods.
The 2016 Moccagatta Bric Balin is dark and deep with a core of cherry liqueur and black raspberry fruit with spice, aniseed, vanilla and mint chocolate. There is nice, forward fruit with underlying supple tannins and acidity that promise great longevity, and yet it has immediate approachability with decanting. Prime drinking window would be 2022 and beyond for perhaps 20yrs.
Vinous, 96 Points – “The 2016 Barbaresco Bric Balin, Moccagatta's flagship, is fabulous. Rich and sumptuous in the glass, with tremendous allure, the 2016 has so much to offer. A rush of dark cherry, espresso, licorice, spice and leather builds as this creamy, luscious Barbaresco shows off its immediacy and appeal. There is plenty of tannin, but it is nearly buried by the wine's luxurious fruit. What a gorgeous wine this is. The 2016 is once again simply compelling.”
Jeb Dunnuck, 95 Points – “The 2016 Barbaresco Bric Balin is a prototypical Moccagatta wine built on texture, power and resonance. Black cherry and plum fruit show the interplay of ripeness and bright acids that is such a signature of the vintage. Vertical in feel and yet also incredibly persistent, the Bric Balin is a wonderfully complete wine. This rich, super-concentrated Barbaresco is going to need time to shed some of its baby fat, but it is super impressive, even in the early going.”
Wine Spectator, 94 Points – “Well-marked by vanilla, coconut and toasty oak aromas and flavors, this red offers ripe cherry and plum notes and a spine of vibrant acidity. This should really sing once it integrates more fully. Features a fine, mouthwatering finish, with a chalky, minerally aftertaste. Best from 2023 through 2037. 1,100 cases made, 500 cases imported.”