2008 Barbaresco Asili Bruno Giacosa

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Average critic rating : 88.0 points



The 2008 Barbaresco Asili comes across as quite delicate, even frail, in this vintage. It possesses modest depth and inner sweetness in a decidedly understated style. Sweet red cherries, flowers and spices emerge over time, but the wine never comes together in the glass. The light, almost translucent color suggests this is a wine destined for a short life. The 2008 Asili is a major disappointment. It comes across as eviscerated and lacking any depth whatsoever. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2016. ||I suppose it was bound to happen. Few wineries have been through as much stress in the last few years as Giacosa, and the wines have finally begun to show some cracks. Although he is doing better today, Bruno Giacosa’s health issues and subsequent recovery put a big strain on the winery. The departure of long-time oenologist Dante Scaglione in 2008 was another blow. Scaglione has since returned to the winery as a consultant, which is an encouraging development. Quite simply, the 2008 Barbareschi are the weakest wines I have ever tasted from Bruno Giacosa. The fact that some of Giacosa’s recent releases from his negociant operation are stronger than the wines made from estate fruit suggests some of the issues may be in the vineyards. Regardless, there is no other way to view these wines than as major disappointments. In November I will host my annual White Truffle Charity Dinner to benefit The Mt. Sinai Hospital. On that night I will open my last remaining bottles of Giacosa’s 1964 Barbaresco Riserva Santo Stefano and 1967 Barbaresco Riserva Asili (among other rarities) and raise a toast to the towering genius of Neive, with the sincerest wish that these new releases, and the 2008 Barbareschi in particular, represent what will ultimately be viewed as a small blemish on an otherwise extraordinary career.||A Leonardo Lo Cascio Selection, Winebow, Montvale, NJ; tel. (201) 445-0620. As of January 1, 2012, Giacosa’s new US importer will be Folio Fine Wine Partners, Napa, CA; tel. (707) 256-2700 Wine Advocate.October, 2011

Bruno Giacosa is a revered Italian wine producer based in Nieve, in the Langhe region of Piemonte. Under the label Azienda Agricola Falletto (di Bruno Giacosa), he produces top quality Barolo and Barbaresco, as well as Dolcetto and Barbera from his 23 hectares of vines in prime vineyard sites. Giacosa also purchases grapes from growers with who he has long standing relationships, these wines are bottled under the label Casa Vinicola Bruno Giacosa. Regardless of which label is being used, his ambition it to make the highest quality wine possible, to the point where he will not attach his name to any wine considered inferior. Giacosa has also been known to declassify his single vineyard Barolos and Barbarescos, and did so in ’91,’92, ‘94, ’02 and ‘06. Conversely, in great vintages some of the best wines are bottled as Riserva under a distinct red label. Bruno Giacosa began learning his craft in 1944, at the age of 15. By the 60’s he had obtained a strong reputation as a perfectionist and was starting to bottle single vineyard Barolo and Barbaresco. In the early 80’s he acquired the renowned Falletto vineyard, home of his top Barolo. Today, Giacosa works alongside daughter, Bruna, and together they make world-class wines that are known for their remarkable elegance and longevity.

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