Barbacán. The boys that can. At the head of this effervescent family winery is Angelo Sega, a vinous High Priest of the Valtellina Alps. Founded in 2006, Angelo and his sons Luca and Matteo have forged a heroic reputation for their gravity-defying cultivation of the regions beloved Chiavennasca (Nebbiolo) grape from their 7 hectares of steeped vineyards in the postcard perfect San Giacomo di Teglio in Valtellina, high in the Swiss/Italian Alps. Despite being famed for their expressions of Nebbiolo, they also grow other lesser known local indigenous varieties of Róssola, Rossolino Rosa, Brugnòla and Negrera. The three Sega men are farmers who consider themselves ‘the vanguard of Valgella’ and have a passion for their craft that is as strong as the mountains they forge their wines from. Leonardo Da Vinci even wrote about the mountainous wines of Valtellina in his Codex Atlanticus, saying Valtellina was a “valley surrounded by tall and fearsome mountains” and that it made wines that are “heady and strong.” The perfect descriptor for the Barbacán clan. Their reputation as rugged Alpine Heroes precedes them and the dedication and passion it takes to work the back breaking slopes is so admirable that the Italians deem it a ‘gesto eroico’ (or heroic gesture) that they are honouring their ancestral lands with such love and respect.
“We are farmers in the Alps, we preserve pluralism of our ancient native vines and the cultural identity of traditional agronomic practices. Every season we repeat ancient gestures, carrying on the identity of an Alpine people”.
Serious Fun Making Serious Wine
Barbacan has a strong minimal intervention ethos. And we don’t just mean the modern interpretation of no additives and biodynamic certification, we mean the whole process is done by hand, from cultivating to bottling and not a tractor or machine in sight – just brute Northern Italian strength of their arms and legs. Their ancient vines are deep-rooted in 2000 year old soil that’s rich in minerally goodness with layers of gneiss, granites, and quartz. That plus their added attention to detail and their love of the land helps create unique DOCG certified wines full of character and elegance with the climate and altitude helping produce luscious red fruit. From vineyard to bottle, their passion and frivolity is evident – just ask their 11 thousand TikTok fans. In fact, their whole social media presence is seriously iconic. They’ve built a cult following with content that includes regular updates of their slanted winery life, climate change activism, expert dance choreo and the proper way to lip-sync to pop songs – bearded and in your pyjamas. These guys are having some serious fun making serious wine.