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Average critic rating : 94.0 points
The 1990 Barbareso Gallina is simply awesome. The wine boasts a seamless core of rich red fruits in a soft, generous style. This opulent Barbaresco possesses impeccable balance and tons of class. Floral notes intermingled with bright red fruits provide lift on the finish, adding lovely balance to the dense fruit. This is the most approachable of Giacosa’s 1990s but has plenty of stuffing to last another twenty years. The 1978 is still going strong. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2025. Bruno Giacosa’s wines are well represented in my personal cellar, which was the source for the vast majority of these bottles. I have had the good fortune to taste all of Giacosa’s 1989s and 1990s from multiple sources over the last year, and therefore can report that these notes are representative of what readers can expect from well-stored bottles. I consider 1989 and 1990 – along with 1978, 1982, 1996, 2001, 2004 and 2007 – to be among Giacosa’s finest vintages. The bevy of Red Label Riservas in this article says it all. In 1989 and 1990 Giacosa produced an immense number of legendary wines. In fact, he is one of the very few producers who did exceptionally well in both years. In general the 1989s are a touch more layered and nuanced, while the 1990s are impressive for their massive concentration. If forced to state a preference, I would say 1990 gets the nod for its consistency from top to bottom, even if few of those wines reach the sublime heights of the very finest 1989s. Still, these are relatively small distinctions at this high level. Readers who have the opportunity to taste any of these wines should not think twice. By the late 1980s Giacosa had begun to move towards an enlightened traditional style with the introduction of the French oak casks he now uses exclusively. Fermentations and barrel aging, however, remained very much within the framework of traditional winemaking, resulting in a combination that was electric. Readers will note that many of Giacosa’s Red Label Riservas during this time were made in small lots (such as the 1990 Asili and 1989 Collina Rionda), and that for practical purposes those wines were aged in medium-size casks rather than large casks. Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate # 187.
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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