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Things kicked up several notches with a flight of Barbareschis from the famed Asili vineyard. Asili is in the village of Barbaresco, where the wines are generally more feminine than in Neive. The best wines from this site have great aromatics and fine, silky tannins. The 2001 Barbaresco Asili is one of the most Riserva-like white labels Giacosa has ever produced. It was magical on this night, with endless layers of fruit supported by firm yet elegant tannins.Antonio Galloni | 96+ AGThe 2001 Barbaresco Asili impresses for its gorgeous inner sweetness and inviting, round fruit. The 2001 is pure Asili, but it has begun to shut down mightily over the last 1-2 years. Still, it is impossible to miss the pedigree of what is in the glass. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2031.This is a fabulous set of wines from one of the great Giacosa vintages. Admittedly, opening ten year-old Giacosa Barbareschi and Baroli must be viewed as a purely academic excercise, as the wines are nowhere near ready. Readers will have to be especially patient, as most of these wines have entered a closed phase after having been surprisingly accessible early on.Robert Parker | 95+ RPBright plum and cedar character, with loads of underlying ripe fruit and rose. Full-bodied, with fine, silky tannins and a wonderful balance of fruit, cedar and plum. A subtle wine that needs time to develop in the bottle. Best after 2009. 1,100 cases made.Wine Spectator | 93 WS
The 2014 Barbaresco Montestefano is fabulous. Rich, ample and explosive, as the best wines from this site are, the 2014 covers every corner of the palate with intense fruit, bright acidity and structure. Super-ripe dark cherry, plum, orange peel, spice, tobacco, leather, smoke and licorice infuse the exotic, resonant finish. The Montestefano is always a wine of breadth. That is exactly what comes through here.Vinous Media | 96 VMAromatic herb, woodland berry, violet, citrus zest and tilled soil scents take shape in the glass. The succulent, linear palate doles out cranberry, red cherry white pepper and star anise flavors, bolstered by a backbone of firm, refined tannins and bright acidity.Wine Enthusiast | 93 WE
Woodland berry, blue flower, sunbaked soil and a whiff of dark spice shape the nose. Structured and extremely elegant, the focused, impeccable palate doles out juicy red cherry, strawberry, baking spice and star anise set against taut polished tannins that provide seamless support. It’s well balanced, with fresh acidity. It’s already tempting but hold for even more complexity. Drink 2022–2032. Wine Enthusiast | 96 WEA combination of savory and fruit elements, this red reveals cherry, berry, eucalyptus, menthol, tar and mineral flavors. Firms up, with monolithic tannins locking this tight. Patience is required. Best from 2023 through 2042. 900 cases imported. Wine Spectator | 95 WSA rich and layered Barbaresco with cedar and plums, as well as light leather and rose aromas that follow to a full yet balanced palate and a chewy finish. Very polished. Drink in 2020, but already beautiful.James Suckling | 95 JSGaja’s 2015 Barbaresco is gorgeous. Deep, pliant and resonant, the 2015 exudes class from the very first taste. Today, the aromatics are not especially open or expressive, but it is the wine’s depth and overall sense of harmony that really carry the day. Hints of orange peel, spice and rosewater give the 2015 an exotic aromatic top register that is hugely appealing. Readers will have a hard time keeping their hands off this gem. The 2015 is a wonderfully complete and harmonious wine, but it really does need a few years in the cellar to fully unwind.Vinous Media | 94 VMThe 2015 Barbaresco was to be bottled a week after I tasted this sample for review. Gaia Gaja was waiting for the right moon before commencing bottling. This vintage is not unlike the 2005 growing season that saw a good amount of rain in spring and scorching heat in the summer. The risk of downy mildew made vintners extra vigilant. Although the 2015 vintage was not ideal for color fixing Nebbiolo (indeed, this wine is slightly less intense in terms of its color saturation), it did prove an important year for power, structure and dry extract. This is a full and generous expression with a fine, loose texture and rich fruit flavors.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93 RPClassic Nebbiolo perfume of violet and raspberry, followed by red cranberry and cherry fruit. Sweet, slightly creamy oak; this is approachable and – although it lacks the depth of the single vineyard wines – it’s still impressively long with gorgeous charm. (Drink between 2018-2032)Decanter | 92 DEC
This is a very sexy, soft Barbaresco with chocolate, earth and pure fruit, from strawberries to cherries. Medium -o full-bodied with elegant tannins that give form to this wine. It’s fine and lovely in the mouth. Exciting. A fine, granular-textured red. Drinkable now, but better in 2024.James Suckling | 97 JSI tasted this wine next to the 2017 vintage, and the differences between the two growing seasons are remarkable. The 2017 expression is open, more accessible and singing from the glass. However, the Bruno Giacosa 2016 Barbaresco Rabajà is certainly more reserved and timid if tasted now. The wine opens to beautiful richness, saturation and concentration. There is plenty of dark fruit and bright cherry with ample textural richness that is followed by sweet tannins and an attractively tight or firm structure. Saline or mineral notes give the wine sharpness and added dimension. It has all its cards in place for long aging, and the wine most certainly needs more time in the bottle.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96+ RPElegant and graceful, this offers cherry, strawberry, rose, tobacco, iron and spice flavors on a linear frame. The steely structure and tension deliver plenty of grip. Balanced in the end, with a chalky feel on the finish. Best from 2023 through 2045. 40 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 95 WSThe 2016 Barbaresco Rabajà is very nicely done. It offers up an enticing mélange of dark-fleshed fruit, spice, licorice, sage, tobacco and menthol, all in a relatively mid-weight, light style for this site. The 2016 won’t make Giacosa fans forget about the 2001 or 2004, but it is certainly very nicely balanced. Overall, the 2016 is a bit light for Rabajà, but attractive if taken on its own terms. It should drink well for another decade or so.Antonio Galloni | 93 AG
Ovello is the northernmost vineyard in the village of Barbaresco. The calcareous marl soil typical of the region is enriched here with a bit more clay content. Alongside the the cooler microclimate, it gives a youthful character to the wines. Notes of Parma violets, dried cherry, raspberry jam, tar and liquorice are supported by an assertive structure of firm, muscular tannins with a dusty texture and crisp acidity. Rather tight on the finish, yet good with food. Drinking Window 2021 - 2038.Decanter | 94 DECPlenty of berries, bark and dried flowers on the nose and palate. Medium to full body, creamy and rather chewy tannins and a fresh finish. Drinkable now, but needs two or three years to soften and open up. Try after 2024.James Suckling | 93 JSA mellow style, this red features macerated cherry and strawberry flavors, along with accents of licorice, soy and tar. This is dense, yet fits everything into a slim profile. Firm, tannic finish. Best from 2024 through 2038. 375 cases made, 100 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 92 WS
The 2018 Barbaresco Montefico Vigna Bric Mentina is fabulous. Most producers would dream of making a wine like this in a strong vintage, much less one that presented so many challenges. Rose petal, goudron, lavender, spice and blue/purplish fruit open first. The 2018 is relatively soft and supple, but that is not a bad thing for a wine from Montefico, where the Barbarescos are often searing in intensity. The 2018 finishes with real weight and intensity.Vinous Media | 95 VMRipe berry and dark spice aromas come to the forefront along with earthy truffle notes. On the savory, elegant palate, firm, refined tannins support raspberry compote, mature cherry and baking spice. It’s nicely balanced, with fresh acidity. Drink through 2030.Wine Enthusiast | 95 WE
Forest floor, cedar, new leather and camphor aromas take shape in the glass on this compelling, earthy red. Showing a Barolo-like structure, the full-bodied, savory palate has an alluring wildness and energy to it, delivering dried cherry, blood orange, black olive and licorice framed against a backbone of tightly knit tannins. Bright acidity keeps it balanced. It’s still youthfully austere and needs a few more years to fully develop. Drink 2026–2038.Wine Enthusiast | 96 WEThe 2018 Barbaresco Montestefano is brisk and engaging. This is an especially strict reading of Montestefano that seems to have more of Montefico-like sense of vibrancy and tension. Rosewater, orange peel, white pepper and bright red-toned fruit are all finely cut. The 2018 comes across as a touch severe today. I would cellar it for a few years and see what happens.Vinous Media | 94 VM
The 2019 Barbaresco Ronchi is a deep, potent wine. In this tasting, the Ronchi impresses with its stature, aromatic presence and textural intensity. Dark red cherry, red plum, cinnamon, rose petal and dried flowers emerge with a bit of coaxing, but the Ronchi is one of the least giving wines in the range today. I would cellar it for at least a few years. It is another wine where elegance and power meld together.Antonio Galloni | 96 AGFloral aromas of rose and violet align with Morello cherry and aromatic herb on this fragrant red. Precise and savory, the palate is still youthfully tense, delivering red cherry, pomegranate and licorice alongside tightly wound, fine-grained tannins and bright acidity. Give it time to fully develop. Drink 2029–2039. Wine Enthusiast | 96 WEThe Albino Rocca 2019 Barbaresco Ronchi is concise and tight with precise aromas of blackcurrant, aniseed, crushed stone and blue flower. Ronchi fruit often shows this more angular and linear quality, and these traits come through with special sharpness in this vintage. Additionally, there is an earthy, crushed limestone quality that also seems specific to this expression. The tannins are hard and firm, setting this wine up for a longer drinking window. Production is 8,200 bottles.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94+ RPRound and fruity, featuring cherry, raspberry, earth, tar and white pepper aromas and flavors. Reveals a floral hint, too, as this plays out with grace and finesse. Well-structured and silky. Best from 2025 through 2040. 650 cases made, 300 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 93 WSFresh strawberry with hints of cherry, as well as orange peel. Medium to full body with chewy tannins and a savory finish. Give this two or three years to soften and come together. Try after 2024.James Suckling | 92 JS
Sweet and succulent aromas of tangerines, freshly cut ripe strawberries, cherries and flowers follow through to a full-bodied palate with sleek and dense tannins that run the length of the wine and then fan out into a dense, vivid finish of fruit. It’s chewy and seriously structured with finesse and energy. Silky texture. This needs at least four or five years to come together and open. Try after 2027.James Suckling | 98 JS
So perfumed and complex, with tangerines, jasmine, cedar, black truffle and iron. Full-bodied and very structured. Fantastic structure for the vintage. Very Barolo-like in structure. Available in 2023. Give this at least four or five years to soften.James Suckling | 98 JS
La Ca’ Nova 2019 Barbaresco will tempt readers with its effusive aromatics and compelling Nebbiolo fruit, but a few years in bottle are advisable to help the tannins soft. Medium in body and wonderfully translucent, the 2019 is such a great example of what Barbaresco should be. Bright red fruit, orange peel, white pepper, mint and crushed rocks lend striking energy throughout. Vibrant saline notes support the dry, bracing finish. Vineyard sites are Ovello, Cole and Loreto.Antonio Galloni | 93 AG
The 2019 Barbaresco Montefico Vigna Bric Mentina races out of the glass. Chalk, white pepper, crushed rose petal, cinnamon and salt abound. For readers who want to understand what Montefico is all about, well, this is it. Over the last year, the Montefico has started to flesh out a bit. Perhaps one day it will catch the Montestefano. For now, the Montefico is a Barbaresco to admire for its vibrant, mineral-drenched personality.Antonio Galloni | 96 AG
The Michele Chiarlo 2019 Barbaresco Asili has a fragrant bouquet with bright and punchy aromas of wild cherry, raspberry, blue flower and crushed stone. This vintage shows a level of energy and vitality that helps it stand out in a crowd, and the wine is elegant and silky in texture. This is an especially attractive expression from the celebrated Asili vineyard of Barbaresco.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94+ RPVery beautiful and balanced Asili with ultra-fine tannins that give a refined texture to the wine across the palate. Medium body with juicy berry, nutmeg, hazelnut and bark flavors that are subtle and appealing. So drinkable now, but can improve with age.James Suckling | 93 JSThe 2019 Barbaresco Asili is a pretty rich, heady wine. Black cherry, spice, leather and chocolate bring out the darker side of Asili. There’s certainly plenty of richness. The Chiarlo Asili ultimately favors power and density over finesse. It’s not my favorite style of Asili, but all the elements are nicely balanced just the same. Drinking Window2024 - 2034Antonio Galloni | 93 AGThis red combines bright cherry and raspberry flavors with savory elements of eucalyptus, earth, tar and tobacco. Though dense, this has a fluid feel as it builds to a long fruity, earthy and licorice aftertaste. Best from 2025 through 2042. 350 cases made, 70 cases imported. Wine Spectator | 93 WSThis wine combines depth and elegance, opening with delicate violet scents that lead into spice-suffused flavors of red cherry, licorice and candied orange peel. The fruit maintains a tangy edge that dovetails with the wine’s taut, polished tannins. Lively acidity propels the flavors as those floral notes re-emerge on the energetic finish.Kobrand, Purchase, NY Wine and Spirits Mag | 93 W&S
The 2020 Barbaresco boasts an ample set of aromas with wild cherry, blue flower, sweet spice and crushed limestone. As always, the wine paints an exciting and authentic portrait of Nebbiolo, albeit with a little more richness and texture in this vintage. This is especially true in terms of the palate, where the wine offers mid-weight intensity with melting tannins. This ambitious release of 300,000 bottles is slated to hit the market in fall 2023.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 95 RPJust off the bottling line, I was the first in the world to taste the 2020 Barbaresco from bottle with Aldo Vacca. It pours a jewel ruby, which Aldo thought was probably pre-bottle shock. A pretty wine with aromas of ripe raspberry (almost liqueur), sweet licorice, and fresh violets, it is medium to full-bodied, with pure, ripe fruit of red cherry, blood orange, dusty earth, and pressed flowers. This is a lovely wine out of the gates, and it will be interesting to see how it settles. Drink 2024-2040.Jeb Dunnuck | 93-94 JDStill vinous, with youthful strawberry notes, rosebud, violet, liquorice and a whiff of cinnamon. Savoury and floral on the palate which is dominated by firm, crisp, long acidity and velvety ripe tannins of an amazing quality; perhaps just a bit stern on the aftertaste. Amazing Barbaresco. Here we have the cooperative of Barbaresco and one known as producing some of the best-priced quality wines in all of Langhe. This will not be released before October 2023.Decanter | 94 DECThis is aromatic and attractive with notes of dried cherries, hibiscus, cocoa and bark, following through a medium body with polished and refined tannins with velvety texture, and a linear finish. Fresh and floral at the end with a bright red fruit backbone. Drink from 2025.James Suckling | 92 JS
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