La Bambina and her world
The true story of La Bambina, Cantine Barbera rosé wine, and the reasons for its success
I have been thinking about making a rosé for a while.
I wanted it to be single varietal, and also wanted it to show all the character and the freshness of Nero d’Avola Sicilian native grapes, but our vineyard, planted on a clay soil, gave us too tannic and concentrated fruit that was not suitable for the wine I had in mind.
Then, in 2007, I had the chance to plant another vineyard.
When my mother and I selected the site, a calcareous soil was just what we needed to supply sufficient minerals to the vines, that would lead to a higher level of natural acidity and to finer, subtler aromas.
The following year, just a few grapes were produced: I preferred not to harvest, to let the vines grow stronger and develop an adequate root system. But from what I could see, after tasting the first small berries that got ripe in 2008, the new vines bore very promising crops.
The first vintage came finally in 2009.
A pre-dawn harvest was performed by hand on September 12th.
30 quintals were picked in one hectare, meaning that each vine produced only 2 clusters of small, sound, beautiful grapes.
Immediately brought to the winery, the clusters were destemmed to avoid astringent phenolics emerging from the stems, and pressed gently for only 4 hours, until the juice reached the right colour’s intensity.
The must went into a stainless steel tank, at a temperature of 5 °C, to give the sediments the time to settle.
After 24 hours, the fermentation could start at 13 °C and lasted 18 days, until dryness.
Eighteen days of emotions, and expectations: waiting for the wine to grow up, checking every day on the sugar reduction, the colour clarification, the aromas development … until I could proudly announce that my Baby Rose was born!
The main problem was to find her a name.
Mum wanted to have a name from the vineyard, which is actually called “La Costa”.
Costa delle Rose and Costa della Cerasa were on the list, as well as Rosato della Costa, Nicuzza Nicuzza (a Sicilian word that means Baby), or simply Rosato.
In February, I was attending a tasting in Colorado with my importer and some people from the distributor’s staff, and I told them the story of how Baby Rose was born, and how, during the winemaking, I had felt like a mother waiting for “la bambina”.
So simple, and such a perfect name… everybody voted for it!
And finally, the label: on the left side of the label there is a silver mark, which actually is Joe's paw print. Joe is a 3 year-old chocolate Labrador, who has been and still is my biggest sponsor, and a fan of La Bambina.
I would have never made this wine without his advise and support, so I think he deserves to sign the bottle…
Only a very limited number of cases of La Bambina are made every year.
Joe thinks that being a part of this project should be a very exclusive group, people who believe in the magic of making wine, and making it in a fully sustainable way.
People who care about food and about the way it is produced, who are interested in the traditional culture that is beyond a bottle of good wine, who respect the work that winegrowers do everyday to achieve quality, and to make the pleasure of wine possible.