2005 Cascina Bruciata Barbaresco Rio Sordo DOCG

Mission Codename: Wine Is A Devotion

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Secure an exceptional Barbaresco just in time for the holidays

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Cascina Bruciata

Wine Subject: 2005 Barbaresco Rio Sordo DOCG

Winemaker: Francesco Baravalle


The wines of the Barbaresco DOCG are made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes. Nebbiolo, native to the Piedmont in north-west Italy and cultivated in the region since the 13th century is generally a softer more elegant wine than its heavier brethren Barolo. The late ripening Nebbiolo is known to be highly influenced by various soil and vineyard conditions, with the wines from the best vineyard sites having sublime character.

The Nebbiolo grapes in this wine, considered the greatest of all Italian grapes, must be aged for a minimum of two years, of which one year must be oak or chestnut barrels. Barbaresco has exceptional aging qualities with the best wines having 40+ years of potential. Both Barbaresco and Barolo are considered to be among the finest wines in Italy.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Dense and deep ruby red with a clear dark ruby core. Along the edges, the color shows a slightly paler deep ruby red patina. When swirled, slow fat tears hang before slowly descending into thin legs to the wine below.

Smell – Bold and masculine in intensity with classic aromas of spiced and earthy black cherry and other dark berries, toasted spiced oak, black licorice, a touch of complex herbal notes and a hint of rose and violet petals.

Feel – Bright and tangy on the initial attack with highly textured etched minerality, firm tannins and vibrant acidity. As with all Barbaresco, give this full-bodied wine time to open and you’ll be greeted with a smooth and sublime experience that is 100% pure Piedmont.

Taste – Bright tart and ripe black cherry and other dark fruit flavors are layered and well integrated with complex notes of spiced toasted oak, a touch of licorice, earthy undertones, soft green herbal and floral components and a touch of rich cigar tobacco.

Finish – Ultra long with this wines highly textured and sturdy tannins gripping onto the palate for seemingly minutes as the spiced and earthy black cherry and other complex flavors slowly fade and beg for another sip.

Conclusion – The 2005 Cascina Bruciata Barbaresco Rio Sordo DOCG, like the previous vintage we featured, is a truly exceptional example of the power and grace found in fine Barbaresco. This wine’s sublime aromatic complexity on the nose, depth on the palate is buttressed by its study but elegant structure. Certainly young to drink now (decant or let breathe for at least an hour), this wine will improve for at least a decade or more. Pair this wine with any classicPiedmonte cuisine, especially anything with truffles in it.

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Francesco Baravalle

WINE EDUCATION: -Viticulture and Enology degree (2001 University of Turin)
-Sommelier degree (2008 Associazione Italiana Sommelier)

WINE JOB BRIEF: in addition to working in the Piedmont, I’ve spent three months in Margaret River (2003 Western Australia) and 4 years in Virginia making wine in the Monticello wine area (close to the city of Charlottesville).

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Apply the technologies to enhance and respect the personalities of each wine terroirs.

WINEMAKER QUOTE: “wine is a devotion”

FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: Barolo Bricco Rocche Prapo’ 2003 (2007).


Below is our recent interview with Francesco when we featured the previous vintage of this exceptional wine.

AGENT WHITE: Greetings, Francesco. We are thrilled to be showing your 2004 Barbaresco Rio Sordo DOCGtoday. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

FRANCESCO: Greetings to you!You are more then welcome, for me it is a great pleasure and honor to be part of this interview.

WHITE: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

FRANCESCO: My family in not into the wine business but I grew up going to vineyards during harvest time when my grandfather used to purchase grapes to make his own red wine. In addition, my dad is a great wine lover, so I’ve been educated to appreciate and respect wine.

WHITE: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

FRANCESCO: My stile is the Barolo and Barbaresco, I was born in Cuneo and I grew up surronded by this taste and flavors. I’m working now to understand more about this territory to get always the best expressions of it.

WHITE: Who do you make wine for?

FRANCESCO: I make wine for Cascina Bruciata, a little family owned winery located in one of the most prestigious crus of the Barbaresco DOCG area, the Rio Sordo

WHITE: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

FRANCESCO: Barbaresco Rio Sordo Riserva 2004 is a wine that comes from a 45 years old vineyard located in the heart of the Rio Sordo. In 2004 the grapes where perfectly ripe and healty,the whole season was very balanced (sun vs rain) and the flavors we are aprreciating now are showing great elegance in a perfect balance with its mouthfull body. We realised this wine in 2009 after have been elevated for 24 months in french allier oak barriques, 1 year in stainless steel tank and 1 year in bottle. This wine can age in bottle for another 10 years easily.

WHITE: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

FRANCESCO: A structured wine requests a structured dish, I think it pairs wery well with pre-braised piedmontese veal marinated and cooked in Nebbiolo based wine (Barolo or Barbaresco).

WHITE: In your opinion, what makes the Piedmont so special?

FRANCESCO: Each wine from this region shows a very distinctive personality due to the hilly landscape and the ancient origin of the soil. Even inside the same cru you can find different expressions of the same style. The Nebbiolo grape in this area shows the highest quality with its unique aromatic profile.

WHITE: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

FRANCESCO: We are a small winery, so I do pretty much everything the season requests. Recently I’m spending a lot of time travelling to promote and explain what our territory is about. Spending time with people allows me to learn a lot and to share this “devotion” that I have for wine.

WHITE: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

FRANCESCO: The beauty of wine is not only the sensorial experience of tasting it, it is about knowing the tradition and culture of people and territory behind it. We have infinite sources of info through the internet, so I think when we decide to discover a wine, it would be interesting and fun to get some info about where it is from.

WHITE: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

FRANCESCO: When we taste a wine we are exposed to traditions, lifestyle and taste; this is a great way to increase a lot our culture on people and territories. It is a lot of fun!

WHITE: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

FRANCESCO: You are very welcome, thank you for letting me introduce my wine and region.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The approximate location of the Cascina Bruciata and its vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.

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