Bruno Giacosa Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto 2015
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Bottled in July of last year, the 2015 Barolo Falletto Vigna Le Rocche is a daring and absolutely profound expression of Nebbiolo with the depth, thickness and volume you can expect from a warm vintage such as this. This wine is a veritable bomb of aromatic intensity with thick layers of dark fruit, spice and crushed stone that all vie for your attention in equal measure. The mouthfeel is characterized by thick fiber and lasting succulence, all capped with fresh acidity and a firm tannic backbone. This Barolo is classic Giacosa.
One of the legendary winemakers of the world, Bruno Giacosa crafted the most prestigious single-vineyard Barolo and Barbaresco wines during a career that spanned nearly eight decades. He joined the family business at the age of 15, representing the third generation of his Langhe winemaking family. Giacosa’s unfailing pursuit of perfection, his unrivalled palate and his intimate knowledge of vineyards in the Langhe quickly drew recognition and helped establish Piedmont as a leading wine region. In 1982, Giacosa began to acquire prime parcels in Serralunga d’Alba, La Morra and Barbaresco to produce wines that are rightly regarded as the finest expressions of Nebbiolo.
His legacy rests with daughter Bruna, who continues to uphold her father’s winemaking philosophy to respect traditional techniques while using the best of modern technology. The goal is for each distinguished site to produce articulate, unique wines.
The “Azienda Agricola Falletto – di Bruno Giacosa” label represents wines made from estate vineyards. The “Casa Vinicola Bruno Giacosa” label appears on wines made from purchased grapes that are made with the same care in the Nieve winery.
The center of the production of the world’s most exclusive and age-worthy red wines made from Nebbiolo, the Barolo region includes five core townships: La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, Serralunga d’Alba, Castiglione Falletto and the Barolo village itself, as well as a few outlying villages. The landscape of Barolo, characterized by prominent and castle-topped hills, is full of history and romance centered on the Nebbiolo grape. Its wines, with the signature “tar and roses” aromas, have a deceptively light garnet color but full presence on the palate and plenty of tannins and acidity. In a well-made Barolo, one can expect to find complexity and good evolution with notes of, for example, strawberry, cherry, plum, leather, truffle, anise, fresh and dried herbs, tobacco and violets.
There are two predominant soil types here, which distinguish Barolo from the lesser surrounding areas. Compact and fertile Tortonian sandy marls define the vineyards farthest west and at higher elevations. Typically the Barolo wines coming from this side, from La Morra and Barolo, can be approachable relatively early on in their evolution and represent the “feminine” side of Barolo, often closer in style to Barbaresco with elegant perfume and fresh fruit.
On the eastern side of the region, Helvetian soils of compressed sandstone and chalks are less fertile, producing wines with intense body, power and structured tannins. This more “masculine” style comes from Monforte d’Alba and Serralunga d’Alba. The township of Castiglione Falletto covers a spine with both soils types.
The best Barolo wines need 10-15 years before they are ready to drink, and can further age for several decades.
Responsible for some of the most elegant and age-worthy wines in the world, Nebbiolo, named for the ubiquitous autumnal fog (called nebbia in Italian), is the star variety of northern Italy’s Piedmont region. Grown throughout the area as well as in the neighboring Valle d’Aosta and Valtellina, it reaches its highest potential in the Piemontese villages of Barolo and Barbaresco. This finicky grape needs a very particular soil type and climate in order to thrive. Outside of Italy, growers are still very much in the experimentation stage but some success has been achieved in parts of California. Tiny amounts are produced in Washington, Virginia, Mexico and Australia.
In the Glass
Nebbiolo at its best is an elegant variety with velveteen tannins, mouthwatering acidity and a captivating perfume. Common characteristcs of a well-made Nebbiolo can include roses, violets, licorice, sandalwood, spicebox, smoke, potpourri, black plum, red cherry and orange peel. Light brick in color, Nebbiolo is a more powerful wine than one might expect, and its firm tannins typically need time to mellow.
Nebbiolo’s love affair with food starts in Piedmont, which is home to the Slow Food movement and some of Italy’s best cuisine. The region is famous for its white truffles, wild boar ragu and tajarin pasta, all perfect companions to Nebbiolo.
If you can’t afford to drink Barolo and Barbaresco every night, try the more wallet-friendly, earlier-drinking Langhe Nebbiolo or Nebbiolo d'Alba. Also search out the fine offerings of the nearby Roero region. North of the Langhe and Roero, find earthy and rustic versions of the variety (known here as “Spanna”) in Ghemme and Gattinara.