1996 Bruno Giacosa "Santo Stefano di Neive" Barbaresco

SKU #1344050 95 points Vinous

 Giacosa’s 1996 Barbaresco Santo Stefano is a picture-perfect example of the year. Still austere and somewhat compact, I imagine the 1996 will never be an especially forthcoming wine. Even so, the 1996 possesses a super-classic profile of sweet red cherry, pomegranate and rose petal, with a kick of white pepper that adds aromatic intrigue and lift. Readers who appreciate the clenched, old school style typical of this vintage will find plenty of those qualities here. Longevity will be determined by the quality of the corks and storage, as the wine itself is pretty much eternal. As it often does, the 1996 Santo Stefano evokes memories of Giacosa’s brilliant 1970s and 1980s wines. (AG)  (3/2017)

95 points Wine Spectator

 Unmistakably traditional Piedmont--in the best sense--this Italian red offers pleasure all around. There's some mocha blended with chestnut, full-throttle, supersweet and ripe black fruit, a full mouthfeel, plus a grip of refined but muscular tannins for the decade or two ahead. *Cellar Selection* (PM)  (8/2009)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The newly-released 1996 Barbaresco Santo Stefano is spectacular. The tight, youthful 1996 requires 3-4 more years of bottle age. The color is a dark ruby/garnet. The bouquet is just beginning to open, revealing scents of dried Provencal herbs, cherry liqueur, tobacco, spice box, and white truffles. In the mouth, the wine is stunningly concentrated, extremely full-bodied, with high tannin, and fabulously pure, sweet, cherry cough syrup-like, licorice, smoke, and dried herb flavors. The finish lasts for over 45 seconds although this 1996 is still young and tight. It should enjoy a glorious evolution. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2030. (RP)  (8/2000)

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- Tar and roses are the two descriptors most associated with this red grape grown, almost solely, in Italy's Piedmont, where it has achieved fame under the guises of the incredibly and age-worthy wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. Characterized by chewy tannins, high acidity, high-tone cherry and raspberry fruit and truffle aromas and flavors, Nebbiolo has rightfully earned its reputation. Sadly the late-ripening varietal is quite delicate and is prone to disease as well as damage by hail that frequently pelts the region. Outside of Barolo and Barbaresco, Nebbiolo is grown in the DOCs of Gattinara, Spanna and Ghemme. The Nebbiolos of the Nebbiolo d'Alba DOC in the southeastern part of Piedmont are generally lighter and more immediately approachable versions of the grape, aged for less time than Barolo and Barbaresco, which also makes them less expensive. Langhe Nebbiolos are generally made from declassified fruit from the aforementioned regions of Barolo, Barbaresco and Nebbiolo d'Alba.


- Once named Enotria for its abundant vineyards, Italy (thanks to the ancient Greeks and Romans) has had an enormous impact on the wine world. From the shores of Italy, the Romans brought grapes and their winemaking techniques to North Africa, Spain and Portugal, Germany, France, the Danube Valley, the Middle East and even England. Modern Italy, which didn't actually exist as a country until the 1870s, once produced mainly simple, everyday wine. It wasn't until the 1970s that Italy began the change toward quality. The 1980s showed incredible efforts and a lot of experimentation. The 1990s marked the real jump in consistent quality, including excellence in many Region that had been indistinct for ages. The entire Italian peninsula is seeing a winemaking revolution and is now one of the most exciting wine Region in the world.


- Piedmont is in the Northwestern region of Italy, bordering France and Switzerland. Piedmont is predominantly a plain where the water flows from the Swiss and French Alps to form the headwaters of the Po river. The major wine producing areas are in the southern portion of the region in the hills known as the "Langhe". Here the people speak a dialect that is 1/3 French and 2/3 Italian that portrays their historical roots. Their cuisine is one of the most creative and interesting in Italy. Nebbiolo is the King grape here, producing Barolo and Barbaresco. In addition, the Barbera and Dolcetto are the workhorse grapes that produce the largest quantity of wine. Piedmont is predominantly a red wine producing area. There are a few whites made in Piedmont, and the Moscato grape produces a large volume of sweet, semi-sweet and sparkling wines as well.
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- Barbaresco is a small village in Piedmont rising up out of the plain to sit in the Langhe hills. Here they produce a 100% Nebbiolo wine that takes its name from the village. Barbaresco is a serious wine of power and depth with an ability to age for multiple decades. Often thought of as the feminine version of Barolo, Barbaresco is a dramatically smaller region than its cousin. Barbaresco can only be produced within 1265 acres, and a maximum of 85,000 cases per year can be produced from the more than 500 growers. It is separated into four different communes of which three dominate, Barbaresco, Neive and Treiso. Angelo Gaja is perhaps one of the best known producers in the wine world, let alone Barbaresco, lives in the village. Recent technological and viticultural advances have made the wines more consistent, deeper in color and more flavorful. A wine of great perfume, the classic nose is "tar and roses", and complexity. Barbaresco is best served with roast meats, game birds or powerful cheese.