The son of a teacher from the ‘borgata’/hamlet of Albesani, close to the Barbaresco village of Neive, young Francesco Versio graduated in 2005 from Alba’s Umberto 1 wine school & in 2009 from Turin University, specialising in viti & viniculture. He worked briefly at the cooperative Terre di Barolo before joining Bruno Giacosa first as a cellarman & then as their oenologist in June 2011.
His family own a tiny property of two small plots of old vines in the ‘comune’ of Neive: one in the vineyard of San Cristoforo, planted in 1969; the other, Currà, even older, lies below San Cristoforo. Both face south-west & overlook the village of Barbaresco; both were rented out until 2012. The ‘terreno’ of San Cristoforo is more calcareo/calcareous, giving freshness & perfume; that of Currà is more sabbioso/sandier, imparting a warm softness to the wine.
In 2013 Francesco made only 20HL (2,600 bts) of his first Barbaresco from their two vineyards, at a yield of circa 30HL/ha, in the basement cellar of this parents’ house. He spent his earnings on a new temperature-controlled stainless-steel tank – the controlling element to be used only in emergency – & a large Stockinger botte grande. Vinification is traditional, with long macerations on the skins when the vintage allows; the wines always being bottled with approx. 25 mg of free sulphur.
The 2014 vintage, produced from fruit from Neive’s San Cristoforo vineyard, was down by 50% due to the vintage & because he replanted the Currà vineyard (with 60% Lampia, 30% Michet & 10% Picotener). Vintage 2015 was also made from the single, calcareous San Cristoforo vineyard. From vintage 2016 Francesco has bought fruit from a nearby Neive vineyard, Tetti/Cotta.
In 2017 he took on a small ESE vineyard in Borgata Pamparato, between Dogliani & Belvedere Langhe, at 500m asl, from which he is making Dogliani DOCG & perhaps in due course some Langhe Nebbiolo…plans are also afoot to invest in another botte grande & cement tank!
His 2019 Barbaresco will be a Neive village blend of San Cristoforo, Currà, & (for the first time) Starderi!