The Giacosa estate has long been considered one of the most respected producers of traditional Barolo and Barbaresco. Giacosa was not an oenologist. Those duties were handled by Dante Scaglione, a strict tradtionalist, from 1992 until he resigned in 2008. Many felt that his departure greatly affected the quality of the wines. He returned in 2011 as consulting oenologist and the wines have begun to show a marked improvement. The jury however is still out as to whether or not the estate will return to its peak when Bruno was alive and Dante was the winemaker. Bruno Giacosa passed away in January of this year. His daughter Bruna is in charge of the estate today.
In addition to serving excellent Northern Italian cuisine, the excellent service and private wine room fit the bill perfectly for our group.
|Fresh Burrata Cheese with Roasted Peppers and Tomatoes|
|Polenta with Sausage and Porcini Mushroom Ragu|
|Pappardelle Sul Cinghiale|
|Sausage Stuffed Quail|
|Potato & Spinach Gnocchi Bolognese|
For this tasting Ken arranged the wines into 5 flights with the first three comprised of wines from the Asilli vineyard and the final two from the Santo Stefano vineyard.All wines we drank tonight were double decanted around 1 pm before being brought to the restaurant.
1997 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Asili. Aroma of cough syrup, murky color, flat palate. The 1997 vintage was originally hailed as one of the great vintages of Piedmont. Alas, the wines began to fall apart after about 10 years. This bottle certainly was well past its time, in my opinion.
2001 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Asili. A wine I have enjoyed on multiple occasions, but not so much tonight. Muted bouquet with a green mid-palate.
2005 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Asili. Best wine of the flight. This was classic Giacosa. Still very young, with great pedigree and aging potential.
1990 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Asili Riserva. An OMG wine. A classic Nebbiolo nose wafts from the glass setting up great expectations of what the palate will soon experience. There is no let down as the wine has exquisite balance, finesse and complexity with a 45+ second elegant finish. My WOTN.
1996 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Asili Riserva. Another outstanding bottle of this wine that I have been fortunate to have on a number of occasions. A round and delicious wine that never stops evolving as you sip it. Very close runner-up to the 1990 for WOTN.
2000 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Asili Riserva. This started out with no bouquet and a flat palate. After 30 minutes in the glass it blossomed displaying a fresh, fruity and velvet palate. While very good, it lacked the depth and elegance of the ’90 & ’96.
2004 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Asili Riserva. This wine may very well surpass the ’90 and ’96 Riserva in a few more years. The wine soared from the glass with each sip. Fantastic pedigree here.
2007 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Asili Riserva. I found this to be a bit one dimensional for the first 20 minutes before it began to open and take on some depth. I think there is a lot of potential here.
1974 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano. In my opinion this was an off bottle. Palate was dull and there was little finish.
1985 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano Riserva. A nice bottle, but it got lost among the stellar Asili Riservas..
1988 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano Riserva. This wine has seen its better days.
1993 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano. Faded bottle that was well past its drinking window..
1996 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano. Very good bottle of wine but not in the same league as the 1996 Asili Riserva.
2001 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano. I enjoyed this a lot and in fact had it ahead of the 2001 Asili. Terrific depth and elegance here.
While we were all in agreement that the Asili wines outdistanced those from Santo Stefano, it was another great evening with a group of wonderful and knowledgeable Nebbiolo geeks.
All photos courtesy of Ken Vastola.