Cascina Luisin Barbaresco Paolin 2018
Cascina Luisin’s Minuto family goes back eight generations in Barbaresco, founded by Luigi Minuto in the early 1900s. (Luisin in the local piedmontese means “little luigi”.) In 1952 Liugi’s sons, Lorenzo and Mario, split up the family’s holdings creating what are now two of the most revered estates in Barbaresco: Cascina Luisin by Lorenzo, while Mario began anew with Moccagatta next door.
In addition to bottling wines from the Asili and Rabaja crus, which may be the two most acclaimed single vineyards in Barbaresco, Cascina Luisin also farms this special parcel called “Sori Paolin”, which is part of the Basarin cru in the commune of Neive. “Sori Paolin” is the best plot in the steep, sandy, south-facing vineyard. Rising to nearly 900 feet in elevation, these 70-year-old vines produce miniscule amounts of concentrated fruit that possesses all of the qualities found in their better known holdings.
On first pop, it’s all summer strawberries and black tea, but within a minute’s swirl in the glass it starts to deepen... kirsch, blood orange, fennel pollen, crushed rose petals and sun-baked clay. The acidity is perfect – mouth-watering and fresh, adding enormous lift to all the aromas and flavors. This is textbook nebbiolo…austere, intense, delicate, and complex, with 15 years or more of pristine growth ahead of it. Utterly delectable to the last sip.
All the fruit is hand harvested and sorted, with primary fermentation and maceration occurring over 40 days in cement tanks, with frequent racking and re-racking during those first 8 days to ensure a deep extraction of color and intensity, followed by extremely delicate handling for the remaining days, for extraction of what the Minuto clan describes as the “noble tannins” – important for “good development and aging”. Maturation and secondary fermentation are in 30 hl Slovenian barrels for a minimum of two years, followed by 30 months in bottle before release. We don’t have as much as we’d like, so jump all over this beautiful Barbaresco while you can!
PAIRING IDEAS: I did this the other day and it worked out perfectly… Hanger Steak Tagliata, served with arugula dressed in lemon juice and olive oil on top of a mound of parmesan polenta. Drizzled a bit of balsamic reduction over all, filled up my biggest glass to mega-pint status and feasted!
MUSIC SUGGESTIONS: My vote for the greatest live show in Rock ‘n Roll history, The Last Waltz (filmed by a young Martin Scorcese), showcases the profound impact Robbie Robertson and The Band had on rock's greatest era. Enjoy this snippet as the crew performs “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”.