Barraco

  • Sicily, Italy
Barraco

I was born in Sicily and there man is born an island within an island and remains so until his death, even living far from his harsh native land surrounded by an immense and jealous sea.”
-Luigi Pirandello

It’s difficult to imagine that Nino Barraco would have ever made wine outside of his homeland of Marsala.  He is a dreamer, but a rememberer.  He is full of ideas, but he prefers clear ideas, the ones that put down roots, or the ones already rooted in tradition.  Before being put into practice they are tested over time, with years of observation.  It’s the vineyard that usually dictates whether something new emerges.  “What can I really tell you? Our strength is agriculture,” he says.
     
He is the son of farmers—“not winemakers”—who sold just-fermented base wine to large Marsala houses. His parents’ and grandparents’ generations saw the steep decline of Marsala the place and Marsala the wine.  Once the second-wealthiest city in Italy and one of the first to be industrialized, it has since seen its vineyard plantings decrease by 45% and its wine production by almost 40%.  Of the 50,000 hectoliters of Marsala DOC produced today, only 3-4% is bottled—the rest is shipped off as bulk cooking wine for the food industry.    

Nino blazed his own path starting with the 2004 vintage, rigorously organic from the start, producing single-vineyard, monovarietal, mostly white wines of real character, highlighting the sunny, but fresh and salty imprint of this seaside, high-limestone terroir.   In the beginning the wines had little to no maceration.  From 2008-2012,  the wines became fairly orange, as Nino interpreted a different side of his land.   Since then he has steadily dialed back the macerations, returning to the origins of his career.    The range feels as complete and resonant as ever.

Nino has never made a Marsala DOC wine, but he is Marsalese and there is no escaping the current of history.  He is among a handful of winemakers producing and advocating for a “Pre-British” style of wine, the purposely oxidative “vino perpetuo” that had been made in the area for centuries, long before the merchant John Woodhouse began fortifying it, sweetening it, and exporting it.  Nino’s Altogrado, made from a single vintage and aged oxidatively for at least seven years, made its debut in 2009.  It’s a seemingly eternal wine, with a million affinities at the table, from oysters to dessert.  For Nino, “the future is oxidative,” and he has nearly completed a new ground-level cellar built expressly for the purpose of making and aging oxidative wines from varieties other than Grillo.  These are complex and heady wines that are also culturally substantive.   

Nino is also part of, perhaps the ringleader of, Halarà, a joint farming and winemaking adventure with his friends Stefano Amerighi, Francesco de Franco (‘A Vita), Corrado Dottori (La Distesa), Giovanni Scarfone (Bonavita), and Francesco Ferreri (Tanca Nica).  Together they saved a 2ha vineyard of Parpato and Catarratto that Nino remembers being planted when he was four years old. 
We humbly welcome Barraco to the Bowlersphere!

 

To learn more:
www.vinibarraco.it/
@vinibarraco
Halarà
@halaravini

Image Producer PRODUCT Description Country / Region

DB4600-22
Organic
VM:90
Barraco Bianco Terre Siciliane 'Fior di Bianco'
2022
The Fior di Bianco and Fior di Rosso are Nino's first attempt at making a wine with multiple varieties from multiple vineyards. They're... Italy

DB4601-21
Organic
Barraco Rosso Terre Siciliane 'Fior di Rosso'
2021
50% Pignatello aka Perricone, 50% Nero d'Avola from 2ha of vineyards, planted 2003-2013. Guyot + Alberello. 140m asl.  Separate harvests... Italy

DB4610-22
Organic
VM:91
Barraco Zibibbo Terre Siciliane
2022
Zibibbo
Zibibbo aka Muscat of Alexandria from 1.7ha in Contrada Casazze, planted in 2005, guyot.  Fermentation in stainless w/ brief maceration, 18...
Italy

DB4606-22
Organic
Barraco Catarratto Terre Siciliane
2022
Catarratto
Catarratto (biotypes Lucido, Comune, and Catarratteddo) from the contradas of Bausa, Amafi, and Abbadessa, guyot and alberello, planted...
Italy

DB4618-21
Organic
VM:90
Barraco Bianco Terre Siciliane 'Fior di Mare' (Catarratto)
2021
Catarratto, from a 0.8ha vineyard at sea level, recently taken in rental, vines planted in 1989.  Sandy/silty topsoil, but chalk below the... Italy

DB4608-22
Organic
VM:92
Barraco Bianco Terre Siciliane 'Bianco G' (Grillo)
2022
Grillo
Grillo from contrada Rina Vecchia, in Castelvetrano, about an hour's drive from the Baracco cellar. Vines planted in 1975.  10-20m above...
Italy

DB4617-21
Organic
Barraco Bianco Terre Siciliane 'Le Dame' (Grillo) MAGS
2021
Grillo
Grillo from 0.2ha in Contrada Abbadessa, planted in 1989 in guyot, 140m above sea level.  Harvest late August/early September.  The grapes...
Italy

DB4612-20
Organic
VM:93
Barraco Bianco Terre Siciliane 'Altomare' (Grillo)
2020
Grillo
Grillo as a synthesis of Nino's experience, from four different vineyards, planted 1975 to 2009, harvested in different periods and treated...
Italy

DB4614-16
Organic
VM:92
Barraco Grillo Terre Siciliane 'Altogrado'
2016
Grillo
Grillo from 0.2ha in Contrada Comuna (Mazara del vallo-  iron-rich red soil) and Contrada Abbadessa (Marsala-  limestone-based clay), both...
Italy