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Average critic rating : 94.0 points
The 2005 Barbaresco Rabaja is the densest and richest of these 2005 Barbarescos. Because it is aged in a slightly smaller cask, the wine shows an explosive personality along with some oak nuances that require bottle age to settle down. This muscular Barbaresco resonates on the palate with layers of spiced, mentholated dark cherries, minerals and licorice. It remains a dense, structured and primary wine in need of serious bottle age for the firm tannins to melt away. This, too, is a sublime wine from Bruno Giacosa. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2025. My May visit with Bruno Giacosa was significant in many ways. It was the first time in many years that the recently departed, long-time oenologist wasn’t on hand to lead the tasting. At the same time, Giacosa appeared to be in higher spirits than I have witnessed in previous recent visits. Oftentimes change can be invigorating, and I certainly hope that will be the case here. New oenologist Giorgio Lavagna has his work cut out for him, but I can only wish him the very best. As for the wines, we spent several hours surveying all the 2005s, 2006s and 2007s from cask, after which we re-visited several of the 2004s from bottle. The 2004s confirmed their stature as masterpieces, yet Giacosa fans will delight at the prospect of a number of potentially outstanding wines in the pipeline. The 2005 Barbarescos have always shown tons of harmony and elegance from cask, so I was happy to find the wines just as outstanding from bottle. Although there are no Red Label Riservas from Giacosa in 2005, the wines display remarkable quality across the board. The rest of the line-up is solid as well. Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate # 179.
Bruno Giacosa: The Importance
Long recognised as one of the best producers of Barolo and Barbaresco, Bruno Giacosa’s wines represent a benchmark in quality, and, as Parker writes, “…his majestic Barolos and Barbarescos build a cultish legion of admirers that is equalled by just a small handful of producers around the world.”
Bruno Giacosa: The Insight
The philosophy of the winemaking at this estate combines huge respect for tradition, whilst making use of modern technology in order to obtain the best expression of each terroir, with the aim being to create wines which are extremely rich in flavour and elegant in style.
Wines from Bruno Giacosa are bottled under two separate labels. Those marked with ‘Azienda Agricola Falletto di Bruno Giacosa’ are wines made from the product of the estate’s vineyards. Under this label, the estate produces two Barbaresco’s, three Barolo’s, a Barbera d’Alba and a Dolcetto d’Alba. Wines are also bottled under the label ‘Casa Vinicola Bruno Giacosa’ and these are wines made from the old practice of purchasing in grapes, from highly trusted sources. Bruno Giacosa has in fact built a reputation for himself as an excellent selector of fruit. Under this label there is a Roero Arneis, an Extra-Brut Spumante, a Barbaresco, two Nebbiolo d’Alba’s, one Barbera d’Alba and two Dolcetto d’Alba’s.
The winemaking at this estate is highly complex, as a large range of wines are produced and Bruno insists that the fruit from each individual vineyard must be vinified separately so that they can perfectly express their terroir. Most of the wines produced from this estate’s vines are single vineyard, and in the best years, some of the wines are bottled under a red ‘Riserva’ label.
Of the 100 point 2004 Barolo Riserva Le Rocche del Falletto, Antonio Galloni writes that it is “simply as profound as wine can be. Period. Strikingly layered, perfumed and sensual to the core, the 2004 has it all… Mint, rose petal and melted road tar grace the exquisite finish. The level of intensity here is simply mind-blowing.” Meanwhile James Suckling writes in his 100 point review that the wine is “spellbinding” and “extraordinary”.
Robert Parker is also a huge fan of the wine produced by this estate, and describes that 1990 Barolo Riserva Falletto as “a reference point wine that readers won’t want to miss”. Although wine critics might sometimes disagree their assessments of various wines, one thing they certainly all agree on is the outstanding quality of the wine produced by Bruno Giacosa.
The biggest concern at this estate is quality, often to the sacrifice of profit. In 1991, 1992, 1994, 2002 and 2006, Giacosa chose to declassify all single vineyard Barolo’s and Barbaresco’s, putting those grapes in the non single vineyard wine, as he did not believe that the grapes were of sufficient quality to make the single vineyard wines.
Some of the best vintages at this estate have been 1996, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2011.
Bruno Giacosa: The Background
Bruno Giacosa began working in his family business at the age of 15, and is the third generation of his family to make wine in the region of Langhe. Although initially all the grapes used to make the wine were purchased from certain select vineyards and specially selected growers, by the late 1980’s Giacosa started acquiring vineyards in the communes of Serralunga d'Alba, La Morra, and Barbaresco. This estate now owns 22 hectares of vineyards in these regions. The Falletto vineyard in particular is renowned for its microclimate, encouraged by its amphitheatre like shape, and low yielding vines, and this is the vineyard from which the famous Barolo Falletto is made.
The estate is now run with increasing involvement and leadership from Bruno’s daughter Bruna.
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