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2015 Giuseppe Cortese "Rabaja" Barbaresco

SKU #1408519 95 points James Suckling

Outer quote mark Wow. What a nose of pure blueberries, rose petals, lavender, crushed minerals, elderflower and so much vivid orange and candied citrus peel. Full body, electric acidity, firm and wonderfully polished tannins and a long, mineral finish. Drink in 2021. Inner quote mark (7/2018)

95 points Wine Enthusiast

Outer quote mark This opens with aromas of ripe berry, crushed herb, scorched soil and dark culinary spice. Mirroring the nose, the firm full-bodied palate evokes juicy Marasca cherry, black raspberry, star anise and clove. Taut, tightly knit and noble tannins provide the framework. Give it time to unwind and fully develop. Drink 2023-2035. *Cellar Selection* (KO) Inner quote mark (2/2019)

93 points Vinous

Outer quote mark Cortese's 2015 Barbaresco Rabajà is open-knit and attractive, qualities that can be enjoyed with minimal cellaring given the wine's mid-weight structure. Crushed raspberry, rose petal, mint, dried herbs, orange zest and anise add super-classic Nebbiolo signatures to this very pretty, inviting Barbaresco from Cortese. The 2015 is all class. In 2015 Cortese did not bottle their flagship Riserva. Instead, all of the wine went into this, the straight Barbaresco Rabajà. The 2015 spent 20 months in cask. (AG) Inner quote mark (10/2018)

93 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark This red shows an appealing combination of cherry, licorice and underbrush aromas and flavors. Smoke and leathery accents add depth, and the finish is long and solid. Best from 2021 through 2036. (BS) Inner quote mark (2/2019)


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Price: $49.99
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By: Mike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/19/2019 | Send Email
Love the 2015 vintage of this wine. The nose brings aromas of dried cherry and roses, and on the palate you will find raspberries, tar, tobacco, truffle, and a little Langhe dust with a good tannin structure. I love the elegance to this wine, and with all of its varietal purity here (Rabaja at its best), I recommend decanting for a couple hours...or even aging a couple of years (up to five or six years if you are that patient). This would show extremely well with a wild mushroom risotto or a barbecue Tri-tip.

By: John Downing | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/20/2019 | Send Email
Cortese has long been among the top producers in the Barbaresco zone yet has remained seemingly under the radar by comparison to many of their contemporaries. They are also one of the few to own a portion of the famed Rabaja vineyard and their 2015 from this site is sublime. It captures the warmth of the vintage with sweet, forward fruit and ripe tannins yet retains plenty of acidity that allows for aging. Whether you open the wine today or stash it away for a later date, it's certain to impress.

By: Kate Soto | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/18/2019 | Send Email
This is a gorgeous wine. Rose petals and black tea leaves and an epically long finish. There is an understated elegance here; it's not showy or flashy at first, but once you take a sip, you realize this wine has got the goods. I'd invite it home any day.

By: Kaj Stromer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/17/2019 | Send Email
Stylistically, this is my dream Barbaresco. That should come as no surprise given the pedigree of the wine. This small, family-owned winery is renowned for their pure expression of Nebbiolo. The fruit comes the Rabaja vineyard, one of the most successful sites in all of Barbaresco, aged 20+ months in 5-20 year-old Slavonian oak barrels. The resulting wine has the most charming bouquet of wild berries, raspberries, flowers, a touch of leather and a hint of spice. A similar flavor profile continues on the palate finishing with firm but ripe tannins. This is serious Barbaresco made the right way. I’m putting a few of these away for myself.

By: Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/17/2019 | Send Email
You can get lost in the nose of this wine. It is not effusive but it is seductive Nebbiolo at its best. As you try to wrap your mind around the fruit, there are layers and layers of superfine spices, the word foliated comes to mind. I knew I was going to like because I spent so much time with the aromatics; the palate is fruit and spice and floral notes over and over. This is Rabaja, it is structured and very long. If you drink it in the near term think rich food if not please wait. This is a wine that will repay your patience.

By: Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/16/2019 | Send Email
Full disclosure up front, Rabaja’ is my favorite vineyard in Barbaresco, I’m pre-disposed to its character, that soaring fruit, the power but elegant balance and long finish. This wine is a classic, it’s old school made from 50 year old vines aged for 20 months in large, old Slavonian oak casks. The nose is brooding, yet is full of vibrant aromatics, the classic rose petal, orange peel but in a more savory setting. On the palate you see this wine is dynamic, powerful and full-bodied and has tannins, but the are fine grained not harsh. The finish is a misnomer because it doesn’t seem to finish just and endless replay of the earth, spice, fruit, herbs and leather, one for the cellar but a sensational wine.
Drink from 2022 to 2040

By: Ryan Moses | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/16/2019 | Send Email
For many, Rabaja is about as good as it gets for Barbaresco, and Guiseppe Cortese's is not only one of the standard bearers for the vineyard, but the wines remain superbly priced. The aromatics are intriguing, with nuances of orange peel, raspberry, rose petal, and red cherry. On the palate it somehow combines the ripeness of the vintage with a hint of rusticity and a good amount of mouthwatering, deep red fruit. There's a lot going on here, but it might need a few years to really strut all its stuff - it is pretty structured for a '15.

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