One of the highlights of our recent trip to northern Italy was stumbling across a ridiculously good Barbera d’Asti in Le Due Lanterne, a restaurant in Nizza Monferrato in Piedmont. We were there to visit the iconic Scarpa winery and were wading through a bottle of their delicious Barbaresco 1999 when we asked the patron if he could recommend something else from his winelist that was in a similarly unreconstructed and old-fashioned vein. He thought for a moment and said “there is just one other wine I can think of”. He disappeared and came back with a bottle of Barbera d’Asti Fonda San Nicolao 2007 by Guasti Clemente. It was excellent. Plump, deep, dark autumnal fruit and a whisper of truffles and distant bonfire.
The following day, after a wonderful tasting at Scarpa, we hotfooted it around to meet Andrea and Alessandro Guasti and to be dazzled by Andrea’s incredibly mobile and expressive hand gestures. And the wines.