In the small town of Costignole Asti in the Asti Monfferato hills following along a winding street surrounded by vineyards you will find the farmhouse of Cascina Castlèt. A family that holds records dating back to the XII century. What once was the house that the family Borio called home they have now transformed it into a fully operating cellar. Cascina Castlèt has managed to balance very nicely tradition with modern, both in the style of the cellar and expressions of their wines.
Mariuccia was and still is ahead of her time, when the winery was handed down to her by her farther in 1970 she was young and determined. Working with Giacomo Bersanetti she recreated her first modern label for the wine Passum in 1983, a Barbera that is treated kind of like an Amarone. Once the grapes are harvested they are placed into small shallow baskets and left to dry. The first part of this drying process takes place in a room with dehumidifiers and after a few weeks the wine is then moved to the attic where the heat from the sun and the dryness of the air will complete this process.
With other innovations and a will to keep tradition alive at Cascina Castlèt has something very special and very rare amongst them. A grape varietal that was commonly found in the Asti and Canelli areas, today Cascina Castlèt is the only remaining producer of this varietal. How they make this wine is also quite interesting because this varietal is very close to Nebbiolo it is the last varietal to come in the cellar and usually they have to harvest it before it is ready. They had mentioned that if they waited for full ripeness it could be as late as end of November/December. So what they do is the same process of the Passum wine they dry the grapes so that way it gives the skins and stems time to mature. This wine is not sweet and also it is not high in alcohol. When I tasted this wine vintage 2011 I got on the nose strawberry fruit, pink peppercorns, and some tobacco leaves. In the pallet this wine is assertive, a bit dusty feeling, the tannins are pretty rustic, I did have the same flavors in the pallet as the nose and the finish was long. This wine for me would be great on a cold day with a nice stew or braised meat.
Now for my little guilty pleasure, I love sparkling Barbera! If I had a t-shirt that said it I would wear it. It is our wine that reminds me a bit of Lambrusco. Goj is the name of the wine and it is coming from the Piemonteìs dialect meaning a joyful moment, and this is exactly what it does for me. Light, fresh, and refreshing, this wine is better off with a few hours in the fridge before serving and goes excellent with BBQ, or even pizza. If you can get your hands on a bottle I recommend giving it a try.