Natale Simonetta is the Barbaresco outlier, and I don’t mean that in a naturalista way either. In 1968, his family bought Cascina Bricchi in Neviglie; nothing more than a simple farmhouse and cellar on a the vine covered hill called Baricchi. Inspired by his conversations with Angelo Gaja, and drinking older bottles of Barbaresco, he decided from his first bottling in 1980 that he would only produce a Barbaresco Riserva that would be aged minimum of 5 years before release (as well as his Quindicianni Riserva, his Fifteen-er bottling, produced only in the best years and left 15 years in the cellar, and re-corked when sold. Add in old vines, and a unicorn vineyard of the rare Nebbiolo Rosé variety, and you can see that he was doing things different.
Yet, being an outsider can be disorienting too. You see that Nevgilie was historically part of the Barbaresco growing area until 1975, but the community sold the rights to bottle the wine as Barbaresco in 1975 for much needed money. We often think of Barbaresco and Barolo as historic growing areas, and they are, but the value of the wine was much less than what it is today. In 1996, since the winery was considered historic, and the Italian government allowed Baricchi to vinify Barbaresco from vineyards in Barbaresco (i.e. not from around his winery). So for the 1980 vintage and onwards, he searched for and found long term contracts to work the land himself and harvest grapes from vines in the cru Barbaresco vineyards of Roncaglie in Barbaresco, Bricco di Neive and Casasse in Neive, and San Stunet in Treiso. He wanted to make a wine that was balanced, and he found that having these different vineyards would allow him to make Barbaresco to age. Vineyards are vinified in separate tanks with native yeasts and then a final blend is made .