Giacosa tasting, clarifications

Asili

Photos by Tracie P.

Wow, heartfelt thanks to everyone for all the comments and messages in the wake of the Bruno Giacosa tasting post Friday! It was an unforgettable experience.

Ken Vastola, author of an excellent “bibliography” of Giacosa’s wines, asked me to clarify a few points. So, yesterday, I called Giacosa’s enologist Giorgio Lavagna to get some answers.

Ken wrote:

    Antonio Galloni wrote in his review: “In 2007, the white label Asili is roughly 80% juice from the old ‘Rabaja’ parcel and 20% Asili from the vines Giacosa has always used for his [Barbaresco] Asili.”

    That doesn’t seem to fit with Bruno’s comment in your article about this wine “You can smell Asili in this wine.”

    You wrote “The only difference between the white and red (reserve) labels is the additional cask aging.” Does this imply (seemingly contrary to Antonio’s comment) that all the juice from the 2 parcels was blended, then separated for aging? I have to say this is the type of question that Bruno and the winery have been either coy or forgetful about over the years.

Asili

Giorgio confirmed the percentages that Antonio reported in his previously published notes on the wines. As has been widely reported, Giacosa did not bottle his 2006 (because of a hail storm that damaged the vineyards, said Giorgio yesterday [!!!]). 2006 was also the year that certain adjacent rows of Rabajà were reclassified as Asili, including the rows that Giacosa had used historically to make his Barbaresco Rabajà bottling.

The fruit for the 2007 Barbaresco Asili “white label,” said Giorgio, is sourced primarily from the parcel previously called Rabajà, roughly 80%, and roughly 20% from Asili. In the light of this information, Bruno’s comment that “you can smell Asili in this wine” is significant. It seems to suggest that he agrees with the reclassification.

The fruit sourced from the Rabajà parcel and Asili were vinified together in 2007, said Giorgio.

But he was quick to point out that the fruit for the 2007 Barbaresco Asili Riserva (“red label”), which will be released in 2012, was sourced exclusively from the top part of Asili, the sorì as the best parcel is called in the wine parlance and dialect of Langa.

Barolo

    Is Bruno really making a 2007 Rocche white label? I assumed (or read?) he would make a red label in 07. So far he has not made both a red and white label in the same vintage from Rocche. Though I guess if it’s still in barrel then red or white label is still only a guess. He can change his mind.

Giorgio confirmed that the 2007 Barolo Rocche del Falletto will be a “red label” riserva and that there will be no “white label” 2007 Barolo Rocche del Falletto (and, indeed, as Ken points out rightly, this keeps with tradition at Giacosa: when a red label Barolo Rocche del Falletto is produced, no white label is produced). The 2007 Barolo Rocche del Falletto has not been bottled yet and we tasted a barrel sample (in the unlabeled 375ml bottle above).

    You mention a Bruno Giacosa 2004 Barolo Rocche del Falletto (white label). In 2004, I’m pretty sure he made a white label Falletto and a red label Rocche, but no white label Rocche. Was this from a finished bottle with a label on it or could it be the red label? I have not seen a white label Rocche on the market, only a red label on futures.

We did taste a 2005 “white label” Barolo Rocche del Falletto in the tasting room and we drank a 2004 white label Barolo Falletto at lunch at Enoclub in Alba. In our conversation, Giorgio reiterated that in 2005 no red label Barolo Rocche was bottled as such. He said that he “nearly regretted” this and when we asked him if they had bottled the parcel as white label in response to the economic crisis, he didn’t answer. The bottom line is that 2005 Rocche del Falletto probably could have bottled as red label and that the white label bottling represents all the more value for the price point. The winery did, indeed, produce a 2004 Barolo Rocche del Falletto red label (and consequently no white label for that parcel for that vintage).

N.B.: Historically, Giacosa has made Barolo Falletto (sourced from his Falletto estate in Serralunga d’Alba) and Barolo Rocche del Falletto (sourced from the top parcels on the Falletto estate). In excellent years, Barolo Rocche del Falletto is aged longer in cask and released as “red label” riserva. In superlative years, Barolo Falletto has also been released as a “red label” riserva. 1996 was the last occurrence, according to Ken’s bibliography.

To learn more about the history of Giacosa’s labeling and bottling, be sure to check out Ken’s site.

Thanks, Ken, for such great questions and thanks, everyone, for reading!

Now, ENOUGH with this wine geekery! I promise something sappy and romantic for tomorrow… ;-)

On deck: tasting current releases of G. (Mauro) Mascarello: a man “you cannot help but love.”

3 thoughts on “Giacosa tasting, clarifications

  1. Thanks for all the clarifications and details, Jeremy.

    A little more Giacosa label geekery:

    1997 is the first vintage in which Giacosa used the name “Le Rocche del Falletto” on a label. As you point out, this is the best sub-parcel of Falletto at the top of the hill. In 1996, when Giacosa made both a white label and a red label Falletto, the red label is exclusively from what has since been called Le Rocche del Falletto. This may have also been true in earlier vintages where Giacosa made both a red and white label Falletto (e.g. 90, 89, 86).

  2. Pingback: (Definitely Not) Any Given Sunday: Our honeymoon visit with Giacosa

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