In 2016 Giulio Grasso was named "Viticoltore dell'anno" - Winemaker of the Year - by Italy's famed Gambero Rosso.
“Giulio Grasso – founder of Caʼ del Baio winery – is an authentic grape-grower, a man who lives the rhythms of nature and countryside practically in symbiosis with his vineyards… It is nevertheless his Barbaresco wines… that most deeply represent him, and above all, his ties to his land. He is transmitting these values to his daughters Paola, Valentina and Federica, who work with him in the winery.”
Gambero Rosso Magazine
Ca’ del Baio exudes a sense of youthfulness - probably helped along by Giulio Grasso’s three energetic daughters. The azienda itself is not so young – four generations of winegrowers going back to Luigi Grasso, the great-grandfather of the youngest generation. Proud parents, Giulio and his wife Luciana have even more to be proud of, as their modern, 25 hectare estate is producing some very fine Barbaresco and a range of other wines that are among the finest in the region. The entire portfolio has a sense of verve, freshness, and vitality that can’t fail to impress the taster.
Autinbej evokes a bygone era when such wines were the union of Nebbiolo grapes from the best, sunniest parts of different crus. The name Autinbej is a tribute to Giulio Grasso’s late father, Ernesto, who often used the Piemontese word to describe the best vineyard exposures.
The first Autinbej harvest was in 2014, a year generally considered difficult in other parts of Piemonte and Italy, but successful in the small enclave of the Barbaresco. This was followed by 2015, a banner vintage for Barbaresco and ranked 5 stars by Decanter Magazine. Across the whole region grapes achieved perfect ripeness and flavour development. Crops were small which meant high levels of concentration, and the resulting wines have power, elegance and depth of flavour.
The 2015 Ca’ Del Baio ‘Autinbej’ is the culmination of the incredible winemaking talent of Giulio Grasso, the outstanding vintage conditions and the elegance and terroir of Barbaresco. It is unsurprising that this wine was named in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines in 2019. As with all his wines, farming is sustainable, using the methods known as “agricultura integrata” – farming that is integrated with the environment and uses only minimal treatments, and only when absolutely necessary. It is this commitment to sustainability and purity of terroir that has seen this small, family run winery receive such high praise and recognition throughout the industry.
Traditional red vinification of stemmed grapes, with maceration on the skins from 9 to 15 days in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures. The resulting wine matures for 24 months in large Slavonian oak barrels (boti) followed by aging in bottles for at least four months before release.
The color is a deep garnet red with reflections of old pink. The nose is an intense, fruity aroma reminiscent of raspberries, jam, and violets that give an ethereal feeling accompanied by sweet spicy notes and hints of cocoa. In the mouth, Autinbej is warm, long, persistent and slightly tannic with an aftertaste of fruity notes.
Ca’ del Baio is owned by the Grasso family, grapegrowers and winemakers since 1680. Their farm is in Treiso, a village near Barbaresco. Ca’ del Baio's vineyards are both at the winery (45 acres) and in nearly Asili, a village near Treiso. Asili is respected as one of the best grape growing areas in the region. While best known for their Nebbiolo based wines, Ca’ del Baio also grow Dolcetto and Barbera and make Docg status wine. For more than 20 years the well-respected consultant Beppe Caviola has worked with the family to perfect methods in vineyard and cellar. Farming is sustainable, using the methods known as “agricultura integrata” – farming that is integrated with the environment and uses only minimal treatments, and only when absolutely necessary.
Sweet berry and cherry aromas with hints of flowers following through to a full body, with lots of fruit and chewy tannins. A long and rich finish. Needs four to five years of bottle age.
A briny mineral note in the aroma signals this high-tension red. There is ample fruit and flesh on the palate, with cherry, strawberry, stone and white pepper flavors. Tightens up again on the finish.
ANTONIO GALLONI MW - VINOUS
The 2015 Barbaresco Autinbej is a very pretty, entry-level bottling from Ca' del Baio made from the estate's young vines in Marcarini and Ferrero, both in Treiso near the winery. Bright and perfumed, the 2015 is super-expressive and delicious today. Mid-weight structure and silky tannins add to the wine's considerable appeal.
#39 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2019