Due April 2024

Product information

Bruno Giacosa Nebbiolo d’Alba Casa Vinicola 2022

Nebbiolo from Roero, Piedmont, Italy

$118

$113ea in any 3+
$108ea in any 6+
Alc: 14.5%
Closure: Cork

Description

Giacosa’s Nebbiolo d’Alba uses fruit sourced solely from the Roero area, and the wine alongside both the Arneis and Nebbiolo Valmaggiore from here have a long and storied history with Bruno Giacosa. It is no coincidence that 1974 saw the first bottling of both Arneis and Nebbiolo d’Alba from Giacosa, as they were sourced from the same growers. The same is mostly true today, and where the Arneis is grown in the predominantly North-facing slopes of the vineyards in Roero, the Nebbiolo comes from the South slopes of the same sites.

This is a stunning bottle of Nebbiolo that defies its humble DOC. Notably, it is not a Langhe Nebbiolo and carries quite a different profile to the Nebbiolo from further South. Nor is it one of the fashionable new pseudo-Barolo’s or ‘declassified’ senior expressions of Nebbiolo. Instead it is a wine that is very elegant, high toned but sure-footed and very much baring the maker’s mark of restrained power and proudly the young Nebbiolo of the range.

Various villages of Monteu Roero, Santo Stefano Roero and Vezza d’Alba

In stock

Check out all of the wines by Bruno Giacosa

Why is this Wine so Yummy?

WINEMAKING NOTES
Fermentation and Maceration: 20 days in stainless steel vats
Malolactic Fermentation: completely developed
Refinement: 14 months in French oak
Bottling: January 2024

VINEYARD NOTES
Vineyard: Various villages of Monteu Roero, Santo Stefano Roero and Vezza d’Alba
Exposure: Southwest, West
Yield: 45 hL/ha
Age of Vines: 27-33 years old

About

There are very few stories in the world of wine that are more important to tell than that of Bruno Giacosa. A man’s legacy etched into lore, and with such gravitas that it is still felt today in his native Piemonte by almost all the producers in the region.

Born in 1929 in Neive where the winery remains, Bruno Giacosa spent his formative teenage years working with his father Carlo as a ‘commerciante’ or grape broker. This very important but often overlooked part of Giacosa’s history is perhaps the key to understanding his unrivalled ability to select fruit, even that which he hadn’t grown himself.

The family’s income at that time revolved solely around the ability to sell fruit to winemakers, and taking any fruit to Vinify themselves would have been a conflict of interest. In fact, his father so vehemently opposed the young Bruno’s intention to bottle his own wine in the early 1960’s, that he had to do so without the blessing of the family.

The first vintage wearing the label Bruno Giacosa was 1961, a single Barbaresco bottling from a mixture of vineyards as was custom at the time. It was the prominent wine author and critic Luigi Veronelli who at the time was crusading for Piedmont’s adoption of the French ‘cru’ classification of vineyard that convinced Giacosa to bottle and (importantly) label single vineyard wines soon after his first vintage. The first labelled cru bottling was the 1964 Barbaresco Vigna Santo Stefano, but it is possible that even the first wine used fruit exclusively from there.

While the obsession with site continued and strengthened throughout Bruno Giacosa’s career, so did the predilection to purchase fruit from growers rather than buy vineyards himself. Though Giacosa was not the only winemaker somewhat late to the party in buying land in the Langhe, it is regarded as his greatest missed opportunity. Some of Italy’s greatest wines ever were Giacosa’s red label bottlings from Santo Stefano di Neive, Villero and Collina Rionda, none of which are produced today by the estate.

Fortunately there were acquisitions in the 1980’s and 90’s of arguably the two finest sites in the Langhe, Asili in Barbaresco and Falletto in Barolo. More recently a small (0.5ha) holding of one of Barbaresco’s other ‘Grand Cru’ sites Rabaja has joined the stable of owned vineyards, however the estate continues to purchase grapes from long-time suppliers for their ‘Casa Vinicola’ range.

It was Giacosa’s ability to select the best fruit that ensured he produced wines of far reaching fame. Unlike others and perhaps because he was not tied to specific vineyards of his own for so long, Giacosa was equally regarded as a brilliant producer of both Barbaresco and Barolo. Now, though it was not uncommon to find wineries in Barbaresco producing a Barolo – and vice versa – there are simply no other producers to date who made a relatively equal number of outstanding wines from both.

In vinous literacy, it is impossible to read about the Langhe without reading about Giacosa and his contemporary Angelo Gaja. While Gaja was a willing frontman for the region, Giacosa continued to toil in the background. Both leading from the front and each producing the region’s best wines in the 60’s and 70’s, the two protagonists of the new Piedmont worked closely to grow the status of the region but the winemaking ethos of each started to dissociate with the advent of the ‘modernist’ methodology in the early 1970’s and as pursued by Gaja. Though not a staunch ‘traditionalist’, Giacosa is usually grouped into that classification. Such a basic association however can not possibly properly represent the transcendental nature of the wines produced here.

Giacosa was not without his idiosyncrasies it seems, and his famous and more recent decisions may have perplexed others at the time but only added to his mythology in the region. In both 2006 and 2010 he decided not to bottle any Barolo and instead sold his wine in bulk. The thought of a 2010 Falletto somewhere still on the market labelled under another producer and simply as ‘Barolo’ is profound, and just another part of his legend.

Today, the winery remains in family hands with Bruno’s daughter Bruna and his long-time protege Dante Scaglione as the winemaking consultant, though most of the winemaking duties are carried out by the very talented Giuseppe Tartaglino. Bruna’s utter professionalism and thoughtful approach resembles that which her father was so famous for.

In the Vineyard

Falletto Vigna Le Rocche A subplot of the Falletto MGA, Serralunga d’Alba, Barolo

Officially classified as a vRiv (or Vigna Rivendicata) in the same fashion as Bricco in Sarmassa or Sori Ginestra in Ginestra, this historical vineyard on the Falletto MGA has a long and storied history with Giacosa. Well before the acquisition of the total vineyard in the 80’s, red label Le Rocche Riservas are revered as some of the most renowned wines under the Bruno Giacosa label.

The first bottling of Falletto Vigna Le Rocche was in 1997. Before this the fruit from the Le Rocche part of the Falletto vineyard was blended with the Falletto Barolo. Bruno Giacosa identified the top part of the South-facing piece of Falletto as the best-of-the-best, and started to produce it as a standalone wine.

There isn’t much to differentiate this part of the vineyard from the rest of Falletto other than its ideal exposition and higher average altitude. Therefore though wines labelled Falletto Vigna Le Rocche aren’t wildly different from those in the same vintage labelled as simply Falletto, they display a noticeable increase in complexity, minerality, austerity and nuance.

For the anorak; wines made using fruit from this vineyard used to be labelled as ‘Le Rocche del Falletto’ but now must be labelled ‘Falletto Vigna Le Rocche’. The wines from here are also not to be confused with the ‘Le Rocche’ vineyard in Castiglione Falletto, from which Giacosa produced Barolo in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

The Barolo Falletto Vigna Le Rocche is produced in either white label (Falletto) or red label (Riserva) depending on the vintage.

In the Winery

The Giacosa Labels

Casa Vinicola

Perhaps unfashionably, Giacosa still work closely with select ‘outside’ growers to produce their Casa Vinicola labels. Not just out of respect for these long-standing relationships, but truly central to the brand that Bruno Giacosa built in the 60s and 70s is this association with suppliers from other parts of Barolo, Barbaresco and the Langhe.

Under the Casa Vinicola label come the Dolcetto d’Alba Casa Vinicola, Barbera d’Alba Casa Vinicola and Nebbiolo d’Alba Casa Vinicola, not to be confused with the same varieties that fall under the Falletto labelling. It is more common than not that every year there will be two Dolcetto and two Barbera wines released from Giacosa, one carrying the Casa Vinicola nomenclature and the others under the Falletto sub-brand. Both Nebbiolo d’Alba are Casa Vinicola wines, though the Nebbiolo Valmaggiore is from a single vineyard in Roero.

The Dolcetto, Barbera and Nebbiolo Casa Vinicola labels are finished in matte, while the Arneis and Nebbiolo Valmaggiore are finished in gloss. All Casa Vinicola labels include the image of the historic castle of Neive at the top of the label (easily distinguished because of the flag). Towards the bottom of the front label you can also read ‘Casa Vinicola Bruno Giacosa’.

For wines made with fruit from a blend of vineyards, the bottles are not numbered.

Wine include: Spumante Extra Brut, Roero Arenis, Dolcetto d’Alba, Barbera d’Alba, Nebbiolo d’Alba

Falletto

Before acquiring the vineyard after which it is named, the Falletto designation on labels did not exist. In fact, all wines produced by Giacosa until 1996 carried the designation Casa Vinicola Bruno Giacosa. Certainly the most confusing word in Giacosa lore, Falletto is both the name of Giacosa’s monopole as well as the sub-brand of the own vineyard wines.

The Dolcetto d’Alba Falletto and Barbera d’Alba Falletto use fruit from the Falletto vineyard, as do the Barolos. The Barbarescos all wear the Falletto label even though they do not come from the Falletto vineyard.

All Falletto labels include the image of the ‘Cascina Falletto’ which is the small residence atop the Falletto hill. Requiring a way to distinguish these wines from made with purchased fruit, Falletto signifies the wines controlled by Giacosa from vineyard to bottle*. The Falletto label wines are all finished in gloss and the bottles are numbered.

*Giacosa still manage the majority of the vineyards designated for Casa Vinicola. 

Wines include: Barbera d’Alba Falletto, Dolcetto d’Alba Falletto, Barolo, Barolo Falletto, Barolo Falletto Vigna Le Rocche

Red Label / Riserva

The Riserva wines (commonly referred to as Red Labels) are those treated to the DOCG Riserva requirements for Barolo or Barbaresco respectively. They are not made every year and are only produced if the vintage both suits the extended ageing requirements for Riserva and justifies being labelled as Giacosa’s best wine.

In some years, there will be no Riserva, in others there will be one Riserva (these days either Barbaresco Asili or Barolo Vigna le Rocche), and in rare vintages there will be two. If a Riserva is produced from a certain vineyard, it means that cru will not appear as a white label non-Riserva in that vintage.

Only four sites have ever been turned into Riserva wines, Asili (Barbaresco), Falletto Vigna Le Rocche (Barolo), Falletto (Barolo) and Santo Stefano di Neive (Barbaresco).

Wine include: Barolo Falletto Vigna Rocche Riserva, Barbaresco Asili Riserva

The 2021 Vintage at Bruno Giacosa

A surprising vintage that saw most of the Nebbiolo harvested, vinified, and put to age in cellars by the middle of harvest, which was marked by climatic extremes. Flowering dodged early spring frost only to get caught up by June rains. Summer droughts followed. Overall, the challenge will be to find, within the concentration and power, the elegance known to the Langhe.

Where in the World is Bruno Giacosa?

The Bruno Giacosa home and winery is located in Neive, Barbaresco. Wines are made from holdings in Barbaresco, Barolo and the Roero, Valmaggiore. In addition, fruit is purchased from long-standing growers.

This wine comes from various villages of Monteu Roero, Santo Stefano Roero and Vezza d’Alba.

Click to enlarge🔎

Where in the world does the magic happen?

Bruno Giacosa, Via XX Settembre, Neive-Borgonovo, Province of Cuneo, Italy

Roero
Piedmont
Italy