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Moccagatta

The Moccagatta estate was established in 1952 by a family of viticulturists and it is named after the area in which it is located. 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 worked at the estate for as long as he can remember.

At Moccagatta, Barbaresco is made in three crus of radically different character, two in the commune of Barbaresco itself (Bric Balin and Cole) and one in the commune of Neive (Basarin). The area consists of small hills and valleys, and the altitude varies between 240 and 300 metres above sea level. The area is well ventilated and springtime frosts are very rare as a result; the climate is relatively mild; and any ambient humidity does not stagnate, providing the ideal conditions for good ripening of the grapes and preventing the spread of rot or disease. According to Sergio Minuto, the character of Moccagatta's wines is influenced not so much by this extremely favourable microclimate but rather by the type of soils in the vineyards. The soils in Barbaresco (where the Bric Balin and Cole crus are located) are much more ancient than the soils in Neive (where the Basarin vineyard lies) which also include a far higher percentage of sand.

The Barbaresco Basarin is probably the easiest to drink when released, whereas the wines from the other two vineyards are more austere and closed at first, needing longer to open up and to express themselves. However, when they do you will be hooked for life! These Mocchagatta Barbareschi age extremely well: we recently opened a 1990 Barbaresco Basarin and it was still fabulous.

In the vineyards, the viticultural advances of the last 20 years, in particular fruit thinning and topping of the vines, make it possible to obtain a consistent quality of fruit even in more challenging vintages. In the past, when topping was not carried out, the canopy of the vines could easily grow up to three metres in height (the shoots of Nebbiolo can grow up to 5-6 meters). With topping, the canopy is two metres high at the most and the vines are consequently “in balance” (balance is achieved when vegetative growth and fruit load are in equilibrium) and they also become more resistant to diseases and insect attacks.

The vinification of the the three crus of Barbaresco is the same: fermentation and maceration with the skins in horizontal fermentation vats for 6-7 days at 30 degrees Celsius. The wine is then racked off into stainless steel vats where the alcoholic fermentation is completed. Finally, the wine matures in French oak barriques (228 litres capacity, medium toasting, 70-80% new wood) for 18 months. Finishing in the bottle lasts a minimum of 9-10 months before release. As well as the Barbaresco crus, Moccagatta produces a remarkable barrel fermented Chardonnay, a lighter bodied unoaked Chardonnay and a small quantity of a very fine Dolcetto. In short, under Franco and Sergio Minuto, the Moccagatta estate has gained a place among the finest producers in Piemonte. Unfortunately, as is all too often the case with the finest producers, great quality goes hand in hand with small quantities.
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