Giacosa Barbaresco Asili Red Label Riserva 2014



97 pts. Wine Advocate

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100% Nebbiolo. Piemonte’s Langhe region is famed for the great winemakers it has produced over the past century. Yet, few can rival Bruno Giacosa, not only for the stature of his work but for the dizzying number of famous wines he made in a career that began in 1961 and ended with his death on January 21, 2018. And while other men have made great wines in either Barolo or Barbaresco, only Giacosa, for more than a half-century, produced a steady stream of heroic wines from both zones. In fact, so remarkable were his accomplishments that his legend transcends not only Piemonte but Italy. He was, in short, one of the profoundly great winemakers of our time. For many, the red label riserva Barolos and Barbarescos made by Giacosa are equal to any red wine made in the world. He made them only a few times a decade, and they are not only fantastically complex, rich, powerful wines capable of decades of development; they are also endowed with that rare and magical sense of extra dimension found only in the greatest wines. So high were Bruno Giacosa’s standards that, over the decades, he deemed relatively few wines worthy of wearing the red label. As a consequence, his more typical white label releases often offer such soaring quality that we find ourselves asking why they weren’t given red labels. In such cases, the difference in quality may have been known only to Giacosa himself. If Giacosa’s Santo Stefano is more powerful and brooding, then Asili is perfume, silky, and mouth-saturating. Asili is one of the great vineyards in Piedmont and here it lends its grapes to a truly magnificent wine. Even though Bruno Giacosa’s 2018 death robbed the world of one of its greatest winemakers, his daughter Bruna, working with his longtime enologist and protegé, Dante Scaglione, has continued her father’s important work. Her commitment assures us that the Giacosa name on a bottle of Barolo or Barbaresco denotes both the highest quality and true vineyard expression.

Tasting Notes
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.
- Monica Larner

Additional information

Weight 4 lbs