Not what you might expect from Piedmont’s ‘work horse’ grape. That’s because Olim Bauda specializes in Barbera, planting it in their best vineyards which are situated in one of Asti’s warmest areas. This is big, concentrated and modern, with loads of ripe, dark fruits alongside clove, anise and floral notes. It has more tannic grip than most in the category and Olim Bauda always does a terrific job of balancing the grape’s high natural acidity with impressive depth and weight. A delicious example of what Barbera is capable of when in the right hands.
Barbera is a red Italian wine grape variety that produces good yields and is known for deep colour, full body, low tannins and high levels of acid. When young, the wines offer a very intense aroma of fresh red cherries and blackberries. In the lightest versions, notes of cherries, raspberries and blueberries; and with notes of blackberry and black cherries in wines made of more ripe grapes. Many producers employ the use of toasted oak barrels, which provides for increased complexity and aging potential. The lightest versions are generally known for flavours and aromas of fresh and dried fruit.
An outstanding high-quality wine region in northwest Italy, widely considered the country’s most stable and evolved viticultural area. Its temperature and rainfall mirror Bordeaux. The vast majority of Piedmont’s terrain is mountainous or hilly, creating optimum elevated vineyard sites for the region’s best varieties. Of those, Nebbiolo enjoys the greatest notoriety and acclaim. The grape reaches its highest potential in the sub-regions of Barolo and Barbaresco where it is made into incredibly structured, complex, and ageworthy wines. Approximately half of Piedmont’s vineyards are planted with Barbera. The past thirty years have seen significant improvement in Barbera-based wines, with some commanding price levels that approach those of Barolo and Barbaresco. Prior to 1980, white wines were, for the most part, an afterthought, but they are now gaining acclaim and popularity in Italy and abroad. Of particular interest is the resurgence of Gavi, made from the Cortese grape, and the low-alcohol, frizzante Moscato d’Asti.
Located in the commune of Nizza Monferrato, the Olim Bauda vineyard soil profile is alluvial (sedimentary deposits) on top of clay sandy marls. Grapes are trained via Guyot system. This vineyard is planted with Moscato and Barbera. Barbera plantings date to 1979 and 2000. The Olim Bauda site is one of the warmest in Asti, allowing Barbera to fully ripen and show its great potential. Grape yield does not exceed 60 quintals per hectare (depending on the vintage). Harvest in the Bauda vineyard takes place in the first week of October and grape selection is completely made by hand.
Immediately following the harvest, the evening grapes are pressed in the estate cellar then poured into stainless steel vats. Maceration along with alcoholic fermentation lasts 12 days. Throughout all the steps, fermentation temperature is constantly kept under control and never exceeds 30°C. Wine is bottled in the month of July, and bottle refinement goes on for three months prior to release.
The Bertolino family’s origins are in the village of Castelnuovo Calcea, in the Asti district of Piemonte. There, more than a century ago, the family began their venture in both winemaking and the wine trade. In the 1920s, the family moved to the neighbouring commune of Nizza Monferrato and the first Bertolino license to sell wine was dated there, on June 18th, 1927. In 1961, the family bought the villa Bauda at Incisa Scapaccino. They created the “Tenuta Olim Bauda” that soon became famous for Freisa, Moscato and, above all, Barbera. Following the tragic death of Bertolino Sr. in 1985, the family was forced to close the winery and sell their prized fruit to other producers in the area. In 2000, the family decided to re-establish the winery and its winemaking traditions. Today, the estate is owned and operated by the three Bertolino siblings: Dino, Diana and Gianni. Their wines are at once modern and classic, loaded with fruit, intensity and brawn and backed by elegance, structure and refinement.