Does size matter? I’ve discussed the notion on these pages often. I’m reminded of this because Fattoria Barbi stands as one of the largest producers of wine in the Brunello zone. To me, that’s almost never a negative. As a result of their stature, they are afforded great flexibility in producing their wines. They’re able to make crucial decisions about blending, release times and declassification. Size does matter; but it can be both positive and negative.
Barbi has been around for over 6 centuries and is helmed by Stefano Cinelli Colombini. The estate spans 300 hectares from which 800,000 bottles of Brunello and other wines are produced in most vintages. The family wine cellar in Montalcino holds vintages as old as 1892. Despite this lengthy pedigree and enduring success, Stefano Colombini remains a humble farmer.
As a result of Stefano’s notable family roots, it would be easy to think otherwise. Yet his approach is framed by his Grandfather’s original business card which read exactly: “farmer, winemaker, cellarman/pig farmer, butcher/lawyer”. I love it!
The 2019 Fattoria Barbi Rosso di Montalcino hails from shale laced vineyards that are east facing and sit at an elevation of approximately 450 meters above sea level. Vinification takes place in stainless steel vats after which, the wine is aged in both medium size barrels and stainless steel. As a result, this Rosso remains vibrantly fresh.
On the nose, the aromas of crushed berry, violets, vanilla and cured meat are noteworthy and easily delineated. Flavors echo the nose, with juicy crushed berry dominating and accents of toasted vanilla and flinty mineral poking through. It’s mouthwatering, fresh and delicious. My only real complaint is vis a vis that two examples linked above, this one is a bit expensive. Still, it’s a wonderful wine and will keep well for 3-5 years. 90 points. Find this wine & Support Tuscan Vines.
The Barbi wines are classically produced. Most examples are aged in a variety of differently sized barrels. Consequently, the sense of their terroir comes through clearly in the wines. The estate has an Enoteca, a Trattoria and an E-Shop for DTC shipments.