2004 Barbaresco Santo Stefano Bruno Giacosa



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Average critic rating : 95.0 points

95

95

Giacosa's 2004 Barbaresco Santo Stefano is a superb wine. Sweet, floral, mentholated aromatics meld into an expressive core of ripe fruit, with superb length and elegant tannins to round out the finish. Made in a more linear style than the Asili and Rabaja, it doesn't possess the expansiveness of those two wines, but it does reveal tremendous depth, harmony and balance. This pure, sweet, long Barbaresco is the best Santo Stefano in years. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2022. ||At a time in life when many of his colleagues have begun to slow down, Bruno Giacosa continues to make stunning wines of the highest level. Of course Giacosa has the good fortune of having the services of long-time oenologist Dante Scaglione, who is one of the most prodigiously talented winemakers in Italy. Although age has slowed Giacosa down somewhat, he was in fine form during the several hours we spent tasting his 2004, 2005 and 2006 Barolos and Barbarescos from barrel earlier this year. Simply put, 2004 will go down as one of the all-time great Giacosa vintages for both Barolo and Barbaresco. The Red Label Riservas are the Barbaresco Asili and the Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto, but his other wines aren't too far behind in terms of quality. From cask, the Barolos revealed slightly more promise, but that may be splitting hairs at this level. In 2004 Giacosa also fulfilled a long-standing dream by making his first Barolo from La Morra, the Barolo Croera, which will be released next year. The Croera is made from a newly-acquired vineyard in the Serradenari district of La Morra, an area best known for its Dolcettos. So far Giacosa's 2005s appear to be well-balanced, yet smaller-scaled wines that will likely drink well relatively early, while the 2006s are decidedly bigger and more powerful. I also noted a marked improvement in the quality of the Barbaresco Santo Stefano, which is the only single-vineyard wine the estate still makes from purchased fruit. Our tasting ended with the 1967 Barbaresco Riserva Asili. It was, in a word...sublime. The world will have to wait for the 2004 Barolos and Barbarescos to be released, in the meantime readers will find no shortage of compelling offerings among this set of new releases from Bruno Giacosa. The 2006 Dolcettos are excellent to outstanding, while the 2005 Barberas reflect the more modest qualities of that vintage. Giacosa is among the producers whose views on the 2003 vintage for Barolo and Barbaresco have changed dramatically in recent years. While many producers draw comparisons with 1947, Giacosa is one of the very few who can speak from personal experience. At first pessimistic, he initially thought he might not bottle any of his top wines but as time has passed his stance has changed, and today he is much more enthusiastic about the vintage. Wine Advocate.October, 2007

95

95

Giacosa's 2004 Barbaresco Santo Stefano is a superb wine. Sweet, floral, mentholated aromatics meld into an expressive core of ripe fruit, with superb length and elegant tannins to round out the finish. Made in a more linear style than the Asili and Rabaja, it doesn't possess the expansiveness of those two wines, but it does reveal tremendous depth, harmony and balance. This pure, sweet, long Barbaresco is the best Santo Stefano in years. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2022. At a time in life when many of his colleagues have begun to slow down, Bruno Giacosa continues to make stunning wines of the highest level. Of course Giacosa has the good fortune of having the services of long-time oenologist Dante Scaglione, who is one of the most prodigiously talented winemakers in Italy. Although age has slowed Giacosa down somewhat, he was in fine form during the several hours we spent tasting his 2004, 2005 and 2006 Barolos and Barbarescos from barrel earlier this year. Simply put, 2004 will go down as one of the all-time great Giacosa vintages for both Barolo and Barbaresco. The Red Label Riservas are the Barbaresco Asili and the Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto, but his other wines aren't too far behind in terms of quality. From cask, the Barolos revealed slightly more promise, but that may be splitting hairs at this level. In 2004 Giacosa also fulfilled a long-standing dream by making his first Barolo from La Morra, the Barolo Croera, which will be released next year. The Croera is made from a newly-acquired vineyard in the Serradenari district of La Morra, an area best known for its Dolcettos. So far Giacosa's 2005s appear to be well-balanced, yet smaller-scaled wines that will likely drink well relatively early, while the 2006s are decidedly bigger and more powerful. I also noted a marked improvement in the quality of the Barbaresco Santo Stefano, which is the only single-vineyard wine the estate still makes from purchased fruit. Our tasting ended with the 1967 Barbaresco Riserva Asili. It was, in a word...sublime. The world will have to wait for the 2004 Barolos and Barbarescos to be released, in the meantime readers will find no shortage of compelling offerings among this set of new releases from Bruno Giacosa. The 2006 Dolcettos are excellent to outstanding, while the 2005 Barberas reflect the more modest qualities of that vintage. Giacosa is among the producers whose views on the 2003 vintage for Barolo and Barbaresco have changed dramatically in recent years. While many producers draw comparisons with 1947, Giacosa is one of the very few who can speak from personal experience. At first pessimistic, he initially thought he might not bottle any of his top wines but as time has passed his stance has changed, and today he is much more enthusiastic about the vintage. Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate # 173.

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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