2014 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Rabaja

Year: 2014
Appellation: Piedmont
Country: Italy
Wine Spectator: 96
Wine Advocate: 95
Vinous Media: 96
James Suckling: 95
Red Wine
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"The balance of cherry, strawberry and sweet spice flavors and dense, dusty tannins leaves a divide that needs time to bridge. Offers the requisite amount of fruit, and the finish persists, with sweetness to offset the tannins. Firm, dense and long, gaining floral notes and a more ethereal profile with air. Best from 2022 through 2040. 301 cases made, 40 cases imported. -BS" (WS)

"This is the second year in which this wine was made with estate fruit (opposed to purchased fruit). Bruna Giacosa calls the 2014 Barbaresco Rabajà her “little miracle wine.” The Rabajà cru is very close to Asili, but indeed, the two corresponding wines are extremely different in character. This expression offers black fruit intensity, with sharp and classic lines. Rabajà tends to be closed in its younger years and needs extra aging time before it finds its voice. The mouthfeel is dense, brooding and slightly austere at this point. Ten additional years of cellar aging should be considered at a minimum.

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)

"The 2014 Barbaresco Rabajà is gorgeous. Powerful and explosive, the 2014 possesses stunning depth and intensity in all of its dimensions. Spice, menthol and orange peel give the 2014 a level of exoticism that is compelling, while beams of searing tannin announce the presence and pedigree of Rabajà. Intense, tannic and yet also very precise, with soaring structure and terrific persistence, the 2014 Rabajà is the best wine the Bruno Giacosa estate has made in many years. " (VM)

"Aromas of smoke, dark berry, spice and warm stones. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and a bright and intense fruit. This is so finely textured and beautiful. Extremely well done for the vintage. Drink in 2020." (JS)

Winery Notes
Bruno Giacosa's winemaking philosophy combines a respect for tradition and conservative winemaking with the selected use of modern technology to obtain the best expression of each vineyard's terroir. He is convinced that great wines begin in the vineyard with the production of grapes cultivated by experienced growers. This belief pushes him to improve quality with every harvest. In the cellar, the goal is to produce a wine that maintains its identity from vine to bottle, so winemaking methods are traditional and in full respect of the grape's typical characteristics.

The "Azienda Agricola Falletto – di Bruno Giacosa" labels represent the estate vineyards, while the "Casa Vinicola Bruno Giacosa" labels are used for wines produced from grapes purchased from historical grape growers that have a longstanding relationship with the family.