2012 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Falletto ‘Vigne le Rocche’ Riserva


This is undoubtedly one of the great estates, not just of Piedmont, but in all of Italy. Giacosa are revered globally, with a reputation built on the elegance, purity and complexity of wines produced over the lifetime of Bruno Giacosa. Over the course of 60 years at the winery, Bruno came to be recognised as one of the greatest winemakers in Piedmont.

Bruno was born into wine. In 1945, at the age of 16, he began working full-time in the family cellar with his father Mario. Rather than studying oenology, he instead absorbed the traditional knowledge and techniques passed down through his family. His approach was deeply considered, single-minded and perfectionist. Famously exacting and modest, a man more at home in the cellar than in the public eye, he preferred to let his wines speak for themselves. When prompted, he once stated: “Winemaking involves a great many small decisions, each affecting the next. One can only hope to get them right, to capture what there was in the grapes to begin with.”

Bruno became known for extraordinary wines from both Barolo and Barbaresco, made from fruit sourced from the finest crus. These include the iconic “red label” Riservas, made in only the very finest vintages. It was not until 1982 that he started to buy his own vineyards. Today, the estate comprises 20 hectares of vines, including 13 hectares of Barolo Falletto and Falletto Vigna Le Rocche, and just over three hectares combined of Barbaresco Asili and Rabajà.

Since 2006, with Bruno’s illness and subsequent passing in 2008, the estate has been ably run by Bruno’s daughter, Bruna, with winemaking lineage assured by the presence of Bruno’s long-time oenologist, Dante Scaglione, through Francesco Versio and now Giuseppe Tartaglino. Bruno’s standards have unquestionably been upheld, with an immaculate and suitably understated renovation of the winery, and continued, unwavering commitment to producing wines of both the highest quality and of true vineyard expression. Since the 2012 vintage, all of their Barbaresco and Barolo have been made exclusively from estate-grown fruit.

Made in a traditional style, with alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tanks for 21 days, the wines are subsequently aged for 20 months in large barrels, with no oak toast. Unusually, each wine is aged in the same single barrel until it is ready to be bottled – in their view, to minimise the influence of oak and bring to the fore the individual character of each vineyard.

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98 Points James Suckling
A rich and decadent Barolo with dark berry, meat and hints of chocolate and spice. Full body, layered and dense with some leather and walnut underlying the ripe fruit.

96 Points Robert Parker Wine Advocate
The 2012 Barolo Riserva Falletto Vigna Le Rocche (red label) was bottled last September and has already eased into a comfortable and promising stage in its very early evolution. Bruna Giacosa tells me that this wine will be made in 2014 and 2016, so future supplies are plentiful. The jury is out on whether the wine will be produced in 2015, but Bruna tells me it is unlikely (albeit by no means confirmed at this point). Fruit selection was extreme in 2012. This is a warm vintage expression, and the wine is beautifully rich and velvety as a result. That textural richness is what stands out most. The primary fruit is bold and very well defined. There is a point of dark cherry ripeness, but it adds to the generous fiber and softness of the mouthfeel. Of the many beautiful vintages I have tasted of this wine, I suspect the 2012 might be faster in its evolution.

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Bruno Giacosa



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