Tuesday 31 January 2012

Past Glory´s - Bruno Giacosa Tasting Dinner

If I were forced to choose only one producers wines to drink for the rest of my life, that would surely be a hard choice? Would it be Latour, DRC, Gaja, Mouton, Tenuta dell´Ornellaia, Rousseau...?
No, no, as they say in the film Highlander before they behead another immortal - "there can be only one" - and that one is Bruno Giacosa.

I had planned this dinner for years, buying the wines from all over Europe. All bottles looked pristine and there were not a corked bottle among the Giacosa´s, thankfully!
We were 5 hard core Giacosa fans around the table – the pours were large and we could get back and forth to the wines through the evening. Just as tasting dinners should be – I´m not a fan of those occasions when there is 12-15 people on one bottle, one sip and it´s gone! At my dinner tastings there is never more than 6 around the table. But to each his own.
All Giacosa wines were decanted two hours before the first pour.

On to the dinner then. We started with some amuse – a lobster salad and a timbale of crabmeat, avocado and löjrom – the Swedish “caviar”, which when it´s good can hold its own against the real thing.
With that I opened a bottle of
1928 Pommery
A deep, mature (!) nose with a lot of mature cellar apples, old lemon, dried fruits and a lot of mushrooms. With air it got better and better. Not great but sure alive and kicking a little...

The taste is dry, a little short but with lots of apples, pears and dried fruit aromas. Some sherry notes on the finish.
I also opened a bottle of NV Pommery Brut Rosé and we played with topping up the old Pommery with some fresh bubbles, and it worked great. The blend had the freshness from the young wine and the complexity from the older one.
86p   (tasted 2009/10)

The first course was scallops on three different purées – one of avocado and bacon, one of Jerusalem artichokes with truffles and one of sweet potatoes with garlic and olive oil. With that I opened two bottles of white burgundy.
1988 Batard-Montrachet, Louis Latour
The nose is deep and powerful with lots of sweet yellow fruit, marzipan, wet earth and some oak. Very big and brawny. A touch of mushroom soup. A little too big for its own good, but I kind of like it.
The taste is as big as the nose indicates with notes of burnt fudge, lots of sweet yellow fruit, a burst of hot oak and a long, impressive finish. The acid is great though. More impressive than hedonistic but, again, I like it.
91p   (tasted 2009/10)

1996 Batard-Montrachet, Verget
Holy moses – this is the real thing! A very, very deep nose with menthol, butter, sweet flowers, peach and sweet lime. Sweet minerals. This is just freaking awesome!
The taste is intense, concentrated, big but light on its feet at the same time. Fresh as a daisy with fruit and acidity in perfect harmony. Goes on and on in the mouth! Beautiful and almost perfect!
98p   (tasted 2009/10)

I had arranged the Giacosa wines in small flights and some food to go with each flight. The first flight consisted of two white label wines. With that we had some homemade gnocchi with fried sage leaves and pancetta.
1985 Barolo Villero, Bruno Giacosa
A very deep, lovely nose with the perfect scent of an autumn walk in a damp forest – a lot of mushrooms, undergrowth and that fresh perfume of a pure forest. Then some dark sweet fruit and old leather. Very, very deep and captivating.
The taste is beautiful with mature, rounded sweet fruit, and notes of Christmas spices, dried orange peel and leather. Long and soft on the finish. Perfectly mature. Just great.
95p   (tasted 2009/10)

1982 Barolo Le Rocche Del Castiglione Falletto, Bruno Giacosa
This is deeper and younger than the 85 Villero with lots of dark fruits, notes of dark chocolate, dried mushrooms and orange peel. More meaty. Very deep but hasn´t really got the charm of the Villero. But very, very good none the less.
The taste is tighter with powerful dark fruit, lovely sweet tannins and a long dry finish with lots of concentration. Lots of rose hips.
92p   (tasted 2009/10)

The next flight consisted of three Rionda wines. With that we had a truffle risotto with sweetbreads.
1971 Barolo Collina Rionda, Bruno Giacosa
A lovely, mature, warm and focused nose with notes of dark cherries, sweet coffee and lots of undergrowth. Perfectly mature. Just lovely fruit. Beautiful wine.
The taste is concentrated and has a lovely maturity with sweet dark fruit, creamy tannins and a long, warm, generous aftertaste. Great wine!
94p   (tasted 2009/10)

1982 Barolo Collina Rionda Riserva, Bruno Giacosa
I´m going to make this pure and simple – I would kill and die for this wine! :-) One of the purest, most intense, most fascinating wines I have ever tasted. It has everything, and then some…
The nose is the purest expression of Barolo, or wine for that matter, one could ask for with perfectly mature, sweet fruit, layer upon layer of everything you want in a wine. Breathtakingly beautiful!
The taste is as concentrated, intense and awesome as the nose with a finish that doesn´t stop. This brought tears to my eyes. An easy
100p   (tasted 2009/10)

1990 Barolo Collina Rionda Riserva, Bruno Giacosa
This is almost as great as the 82, and in due course it´s going to be. The nose is pure, bottomless deep with notes of sweet cherries, violets and muscovado sugar. Still very young. Great nose with lovely purity. Very concentrated fruit. Great wine!
The taste is tight, young, powerful and intense with brilliant sweet fruit, imbedded tannins, hugely concentrated and with a finish that counts in minutes. Wait another 10 years and this is an 82 in the making.
98p   (tasted 2009/10)

With the next flight we moved away from the Barolo theme and I served two Barbarescos from Giacosa. There were hardly no protest from the table….
With the Barbarescos we had a ragout of oxtail and some down to earth macaroni and cheese, with a 28 month cheddar – yummy!

1985 Barbaresco Santo Stefano di Neive Riserva, Bruno Giacosa
A fantastic, sweet, deep and hauntingly beautiful nose with sweet cherries, tobacco, sweet flowers, licorice and a touch of mint. Lovely complexity. This is almost mature and so fantastic to just sit and smell!
The taste is great too, with sweet, mature dark fruit, sweet undergrowth and dried flowers. Long, long finish with almost mature, rounded tannins and a lovely warm note. This is just a great, mature, expressive wine that one just has to surrender too.
98p   (tasted 2009/10)

1982 Barbaresco Santo Stefano di Neive Riserva, Bruno Giacosa
A deep, complex, intense nose with more tight fruit than the 85 version. This is less mature and the fruit is not so sweet, in that in-your-face kind of a way. But there is great potential here with boatloads of dark sweet fruit, great concentration and structure. Notes of sweet undergrowth, raspberry chocolate and licorice. Very, very good.
The taste is more powerful and younger than the 85 with tight tannins, lots of sweet dark fruit and a long, impressive finish. More impressive than hedonistic, as the 85 is today. But it will get there, just wait at least 5 years. A great wine all the same.
95p   (tasted 2009/10)

With the last flight I had some cheese prepared – an old Gruyere, an Epoisses and, of course, a Testun al Barolo. I have saved the brute monsters of Barolo Falletto for last and they proved their part….
1985 Barolo Falletto di Serralunga Riserva, Bruno Giacosa
This is bottomless deep on the nose with lovely notes of red sweet cherries, leather, meat and dried tobacco. Very sweet and very deep. This is pure hedonism on the nose. Just great!
The taste is very big, powerful and tight with oceans of sweet black fruit, some dried leather, sweet undergrowth and tobacco. Very long and intense. Some maturity but this has a long way to go. Great wine!
96p   (tasted 2009/10)

1990 Barolo Falletto di Serralunga Riserva, Bruno Giacosa
A sweet but tight nose that is not that developed yet, but with some force swirling of the glass you get notes of almonds, dark chocolate, licorice and meat. Very, very deep and sooo young! Needs a lot of time. But very, very good.
The taste is deep, tight and powerful with lots and lots of sweet black fruit, some new leather and licorice. The tannins really show of in the finish, almost hurtful so! Very, very long. Oh, so promising but a little undeveloped at the moment.
95p   (tasted 2009/10)

1996 Barolo Falletto di Serralunga Riserva, Bruno Giacosa
Oh boy – how can a young wine, for it is very young, be so impressive, so tight and lip smacking good at the same time? This is firing on all cylinders with boatloads of sweet candied fruit, masses of rose hips, licorice and tobacco. Sweet, sweet wet earth and minerals. So, so deep! This is just perfect!
The taste is as impressive as the nose with perfect fruit, perfect tannins and perfect structure. The only thing missing is the beautiful character that comes with maturity, and when this hits maturity, 100p won´t be enough…
99p   (tasted 2009/10)

The dessert wine, a 1959 Vouvray, was corked, but I couldn´t be bothered – I was deeply focused on the brilliant work of Bruno Giacosa. It was a great night of wine, food, companionship and laughter!


  1. Uha! Beats our Cappellano tasting by far.

  2. Joakim, thanks for great notes on a fantastic selection of wines from my favourite producer. You have surely had pristine examples of all bottles - my experiences with the '82's and the '90 Rionda is unfortunately a bit mixed but wow - what an evening for you guys :-)

    ///Martin P

  3. Thanks! Yes it was, probably the best dinner I have had, yet...:-)


  4. Vilken samling viner! 100 procent avis. BG for life. Bra blogg.
    Alf Tumble