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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
I had not crossed paths with a bottle of 2001 Santo Stefano from Bruno Giacosa in at least five years, but, I was not surprised to see that this superb wine is still a solid decade away from blossoming. The still tight and promising nose offers up a complex blend of red and black cherries, road tar, gamebirds, woodsmoke, a great base of soil and a bit of new leather in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bdoied and very pure, with impressive, nascent complexity, a rock solid core, firm, well-integrated tannins and stunning length and grip on the seamless and very youthful finish. This will be a brilliant wine in the fullness of time, but at least a solid decade’s worth of patience is really required before this wine starts to hit on all cylinders. (Drink between 2022-2065)John Gilman | 94+ JGThe 2001 Barbaresco Santo Stefano wafts on the palate with Christmas cake, plums, spices, menthol and licorice. It shows lovely class and an understated personality that is highly appealing. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2021.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94 RPI am shocked (pleasantly, I must say), by how closed the 2001 Barbaresco Santo Stefano is. Powerful, tightly wound and totally closed down, the 2001 exudes class. Orange rind, tobacco and smoke add striking aromatic complexity to the intense dark fruit. Today, the tannins are surprisingly intense and raw, so readers will have to be patient. The 2001 is superb, but the wine’s full personality will not be on display for at least another few years. There is a good bit of upside here.Antonio Galloni | 94+ AGSubtle aromas of freshly sliced plums, blackberries and peaches. Full-bodied, with lots of fruit and a backbone of firm tannins. Toasted oak on the midpalate. This is a bold, structured red that needs time. I like this better than the 2000. Best after 2008. 1,200 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WS
The 2004 Barolo Vigna Croera reveals pretty aromatics and notes of smoke, tar, roses, herbs and the small red fruits that are characteristic of the wines of La Morra. Made in a medium-bodied, delicate style it possesses a graceful, feminine personality and finessed tannins. Even though the wine continued to gain weight in the glass I noted that it was less expressive than when I tasted it from barrel in April 2007. The Croera is made from a high altitude plot in the Serradenari district of La Morra. This site has never been particularly well regarded for Nebbiolo. Long-time oenologist Dante Scaglione told me he expects the vines to only yield top-flight Barolo in truly great vintages. There will be no 2005 or 2006. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2020.Bruno Giacosa’s profound 2004s, which I first wrote about in Issue 173, continue with these superb Barolos, all of which merit close attention. I also had a chance to re-taste the 2004 Barbarescos and they were as impressive as they have been on previous occasions.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 90 RPBruno Giacosa’s 2004 Barolo Croera is an excellent choice for drinking over the next decade or so. A pretty, understated wine, the Croera offers lovely balance in a feminine style that is typical of La Morra. Rose petal, mint, sage, crushed raspberries and anise shape the aromatic, mid-weight finish. If opened today, the 2004 needs a bit of air to soften the tannins a touch. The Croera is the one and only Barolo Bruno Giacosa made from La Morra. Giacosa eventually sold this parcel after a series of wines that did not meet his exacting standards and were never released. This bottle showed quite a bit better than the bottle I tasted for my recent 2004 Barolo retrospective. As it turns out, both bottles were from the same case I purchased upon release.Antonio Galloni | 90 AGAromas of plum, coffee and dried flowers follow through to a medium body, with silky tannins and a soft, refined finish. A delicate young Barolo. This is a new single-vineyard wine from Giacosa. Best after 2011. 600 cases made, 50 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 90 WS
Warm and chewy, this red exhibits cedar, sandalwood, tobacco and leather accents enhancing the core of cherry and raspberry. As this plays out on the palate, the wine turns more supple and vibrant, building to the long, expansive finish. Best from 2016 through 2035. 430 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 96 WSSo floral and beautiful with roses and lilacs. Hints of plums and strawberries. Full-bodied, with ultra fine tannins and a subtle yet intense finish of hazelnut and dark fruits. Goes on for ages. Better after 2016.James Suckling | 95 JSReticent but stylish red fruits nose. Very concentrated, with firm tannins but no evident extraction, showing ample grip and good acidity. Long spicy finish. Drinking Window 2015 - 2028.Decanter | 93 DEC
This is an incredible wine that reminds me of the perfect 2000 Barolo Rocche de Falletto. Flowers, spices, leather and animals. Decadent. Dried mushrooms. Then changes to Japanese ginger and lemon peel. Full-bodied but refined and so long. It has layers of fruit and power. So refined. Ripe and intense. Perfect balance and harmony. It will be released in 2016.James Suckling | 99 JS(bottled in July of this year): Good medium red. Crushed cherry, raspberry, rose petal and botanical herbs on the tangy nose and palate. If the Santo Stefano is a more masculine, underbrushy style of nebbiolo, this one is a perfume bomb in the mouth, incredibly silky and fine-grained but with outstanding sappy tang to leaven its thickness. Most impressive today on the slowly mounting, elegant, mouth-saturating back end, which features big but fine-grained tannins and outstanding rising length. A real essence of nebbiolo.Vinous Media | 96+ VMThe 2011 Barbaresco Riserva Asili (red label) is a full and generous wine that wraps thickly over the senses. The bouquet shows enormous depth and power with a generous presentation of dark fruit, cassis, balsam herb, cola, licorice, tar and lingering smoke. There is an evident sense of fruit ripeness here that helps to build momentum and staying power. Clay soils in the vineyard site have also helped to contribute to the heft and full-bodied nature of this special wine. The finish is characterized by mild acidity and lingering flavors of ripe fruit. The opulent fruit of the wine recalls the 2007 and 2004 vintages.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 95 RPAn elegant, sinewy style, with classic Nebbiolo character, exuding floral, cherry, strawberry, leather and mineral flavors. The lingering tobacco finish gets a boost from the light burr of tannins. Remains juicy and long. Best from 2017 through 2032. 1,760 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WS
The subtle and complex aromas are mesmerizing here in this famous Barolo with strawberries, red roses, citrus and fresh walnuts. It’s full-bodied yet reserved and beautiful with an incredible backbone of firm and composed tannins that form a gorgeous tannin line to the wine. It’s so silky textured with incredible depth of fruit and a long, long finish. Savory and structured at the same time. This needs five to six years to soften and come together. Better in 2020.James Suckling | 97 JSOne of the most balanced and impressive Barolos from the hot 2011 vintage, this opens with alluring aromas of mature black cherry, tobacco and spice. The smooth, full-bodied palate abounds with ripe raspberry, juicy strawberry, chopped herb, clove and cinnamon alongside firm but polished tannins that give the wine a silky mouthfeel. Drink 2018–2031.Wine Enthusiast | 95 WEThe 2011 Barolo Falletto is a beautifully balanced and determined wine. It spends 30 months in oak and this warm vintage is already showing a quick bottle evolution. This was an early vintage: Fruit was harvested on September 23, which is ten days before average. It shows soft, luscious lines and ripe fruit favors that are both generous and opulent. Yet, there is a healthy crunchiness and crackle in the mouth that makes for a long aging future ahead. Barolo Falletto closes with pretty aromas of dark fruit, spice and shaved truffle.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94 RPCherry and strawberry aromas and flavors are reserved and almost ethereal in this elegant, lacy red. The tannins accumulate on the finish, where licorice, earth and tobacco notes join in. Best from 2019 through 2036. 1,340 cases made, 150 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 93 WSBruno Giacosa’s 2011 Barolo Falletto is soft, open and welcoming, with plenty of vintage 2011 sexiness. Sweet spiced notes meld into dark red stone fruit, mint, sweet tobacco and incense. All things considered, this is a fairly mid-weight, perfumed Barolo from the Falletto vineyard. Although the 2011 isn’t up to very best wines from this site, it is great to see the Bruno Giacosa signature style more or less back. I don’t expect the 2011 to be especially ageworthy, but it is quite beautiful just the same. A Red Label Riserva will follow in a few years.Vinous Media | 92 VM
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
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
Energetic and bright with sliced green apples, mangoes and citrus with some honeysuckle. It’s medium- to full-bodied with lovely fruit. Electric acidity. Salty at the end. Drink now.James Suckling | 94 JS
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