2014 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Asili Reserva (Red Label)

Year: 2014
Appellation: Piedmont
Country: Italy
Wine Spectator: 97
Wine Advocate: 97
James Suckling: 99
Red Wine
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"Fluid and juicy, with savory notes of menthol and juniper, matched to the cherry and currant fruit. Underlined by a mineral element, this features a serious whack of tannins on the finish, yet the lasting impression is of sweet, ripe cherry and berry flavors, showing wonderful length. Best from 2022 through 2045. 704 cases made, 100 cases imported. -BS" (WS)

"Packaged in its distinctive red label (red is for Riserva), the 2014 Barbaresco Riserva Asili represents a tremendous effort in a challenging but ultimately very rewarding vintage. This wine will be released in February 2019. The previous edition was 2011, and Bruna Giacosa tells me that it will be produced in 2016 and possibly 2017—although this has not yet been officially confirmed. In a normal vintage, production is 11,000 bottles strong, but because of reduced yields in 2014 we can expect some 8,000 bottles instead. Growing conditions in 2014 were cause for concern up until the end of August because of humidity and below average temperatures. Those conditions changed suddenly in the nick of time, bringing strong sunshine and warmth during the final stage of grape ripening. Ultimately, 2014 proved to be a long growing season with healthy fruit in reduced volume. The Rabajà cru sometimes shows a harder edge with more mineral definition. Asili, in comparison, offers gorgeous intensity and profound depth. This Riserva shows seamless integration of wild fruit, blue flower, spice, balsam herb and pencil shaving. This is a complete and complex expression with an enduring sense of dimension and structure. I can’t wait to taste this wine one day in the far future when it is further along on its promising evolutionary track.

A legendary figure in a land of legendary wines, Bruno Giacosa, passed away in Alba on January 22, 2018, with his daughters Marina and Bruna at his side. He was 88. Following a stroke in 2006, Giacosa had slowly retreated from the spotlight. His daughter Bruna has managed the eponymous winery and vineyard these past years. “I have lost the most important person in my life,” says Bruna Giacosa. “I had a special relationship with my father. We communicated with just our eyes. He was my idol.” Bruno Giacosa will be remembered for his keen ability to recognize the best growing sites for Nebbiolo, Barbera and the other great grapes of Piedmont. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of the cru sites of his beloved Langhe. Much of his acquired knowledge and experience would later become the inspirational basis for the Menzioni Geografiche Aggiuntive mapping work in place today for both the Barolo and Barbaresco appellations. Bruno Giacosa was among the first visionaries to understand the importance of the Langhe cru, and the unique expressions that are obtained with a single-vineyard winemaking philosophy. With a winery in Neive (Barbaresco), Bruno Giacosa is remembered as a gifted négociant who purchased fruit for most of his career. Many of those most celebrated contacts lasted decades and were famously sealed with just a handshake. The first vintage of his Barbaresco Santo Stefano was 1964. In 1982, he purchased 25 hectares in the Falletto vineyard in Serralunga d’Alba. The celebrated Barolo Riserva Le Rocche del Falletto (red label) was recently produced in 2008, 2011, 2012 (reviewed below) and 2014 (to be released in 2020). "When I met Bruno Giacosa the first time it was the beginning of the 1990s, and he had just turned in a succession of profound wines that, for the most part, proved to be legendary," remembers Robert Parker. "His Barolos and Barbarescos from 1978, 1982, 1985, 1988, 1989 and 1990 were—and remain—some of the finest expressions of Nebbiolo ever produced. I wrote a very long time ago that if there was one wine producer I would buy year in and year out without ever first tasting, it was Bruno Giacosa." Starting with the 2013 vintage, the Barbaresco Rabajà now uses fruit from vineyards directly owned by the estate. The Barbaresco Riserva Asili (red label) was produced in 2011 and 2014 (reviewed below) but not in 2012. Giacosa’s Riservas are recognized by their red labels—they are precious bottles coveted by collectors all over the world. Bruno and Bruna Giacosa began working with enologist Dante Scaglione in 1991. Mr. Scaglione left the winery in 2007 but returned to work for the Giacosa family again in 2011. "His contributions to Italian wine and his beloved Piedmont are beyond measure," adds Robert Parker. "I am honored to have met him, shared his wines, and remain in naked awe of what he achieved. It wouldn't surprise me if God were learning the glories of Nebbiolo from the MASTER. Rest in peace."" (WA)

"Incredible aromas of violets, roses and blue fruits. So perfumed. Never smelled a wine like this before. Full body, perfectly integrated tannins and bright, vivid acidity. Extremely long and endless. A seamless and great one. An evocative wine that makes you think. Needs three to five years of bottle age on release. Unique red. Available in 2019." (JS)