Bruno Giacosa è deceduto a 88 anni

Oggi il mondo del vino italiano ha perso una delle sue leggende, Bruno Giacosa, all’età di 88 anni.

© Paolo Tenti | a bottle of Barbaresco Bruno Giacosa Asili Riserva with the Asili vineyard in the background

I Barolo e Barbaresco di Bruno includono alcuni dei nomi più sacri del Piemonte, tra cui il Barolo Falletto, il Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto, il Barbaresco Asili e il Barbaresco Santo Stefano, mentre le sue bottiglie con l’etichetta rossa delle Riserve – realizzate solo nei migliori anni – sono tra i vini più ricercati al mondo.

Giacosa era un tradizionalista illuminato, che combinava un approccio largamente non interventista in cantina con idee innovative, come il cambiamento dalle tradizionali botti di Slavonia alle botti grandi di rovere francese non tostate fatte da Gamba fin dagli anni ’80, quando molti altri optavano per tostare le barriques che avrebbero mascherato le classiche sensazioni floreali, di frutti di bosco e di note balsamiche del Nebbiolo.

Ma furono le straordinarie capacità di degustazione di Bruno la chiave del suo successo. Ha lasciato la scuola a quindici anni per lavorare nell’azienda vitivinicola di suo padre, trascorrendo le sue giornate camminando tra le colline delle Langhe alla ricerca delle migliori uve, vale a dire Nebbiolo ma anche Barbera e Dolcetto. Il giovane Giacosa divenne presto noto per quello che molti descrivono come il suo palato d’oro, e avrebbe continuato a creare Barolo e Barbaresco di complessità, finezza e longevità dai vigneti più rinomati. Scoprì anche vigneti meno conosciuti che avrebbe reso famosi attraverso i suoi vini eleganti e impeccabilmente equilibrati. Il suo rispetto per le vigne e la sua comprensione del modo in cui davano ai vini personalità individuali arrivarono decenni prima del suo tempo. Le sue prime bottiglie da vigneto singolo, il Barbaresco Santo Stefano Riserva Speciale del 1964, il Barbaresco Asili Riserva del 1967 e il Barolo Vigna Rionda del 1967, sono stati tra le prime in Italia.

Giacosa ha influenzato diverse generazioni di viticoltori, tra cui Franco Massolino, dell’azienda Massolino a Serralunga. “Bruno Giacosa è stato uno dei primi a dimostrare agli amanti del vino di tutto il mondo l’incredibile potenziale dei nostri vigneti”, afferma Massolino.

“Era un vero ‘piemontese, con un carattere riservato e talvolta poteva sembrare, in apparenza, un pò irascibile”, afferma Aldo Vacca, amministratore delegato di Produttori del Barbaresco. “Ma era senza dubbio il più esperto conoscitore dei grandi vigneti delle Langhe, e ancora indietro negli anni ’60, Giacosa ha saputo fare alcuni dei capolavori indiscussi del mondo del vino italiano “.

Sebbene Giacosa fosse ben noto per la sua personalità un pò burbera, ho avuto la fortuna di vedere un altro lato di lui, prima e dopo il suo devastante infarto nel 2006. Un uomo di poche parole, quando era rilassato nella sua cantina mentre assaggiava, scherzava spesso con sua figlia Bruna, e il suo viso si illuminava di un sorriso disarmante ogni volta che parlava dei suoi vigneti preferiti, Asili e Falletto.

© Paolo Tenti | Bruno Giacosa

Ed è così che ricorderò Bruno Giacosa.

The Beauty of Barbaresco

One of Italy’s greatest wines is finally getting the attention it deserves. We take you through the vintages, the communes and the bottles you need to buy.

© Paolo Tenti | The town of Barbaresco

Made with 100% native grape Nebbiolo, you’ve probably heard that Barbaresco is one of Italy’s greatest wines. Yet for many years, it’s also been Italy’s most famous unknown red: even though fine wine lovers had heard of it, until recently, many passed it up for Barolo, its larger, more renowned neighbor (also made entirely with Nebbiolo). But thanks to a new generation of winemakers embracing more natural farming methods that have led to even higher quality, and the denomination’s unique micro-climate that encourages freshness and balance even in the hottest vintages, wine lovers are discovering that Barbaresco is a world-class wine in its own right. And the recent, widespread fascination with Nebbiolo and Piedmont has further helped shine a light on the denomination.

Read the article: The Beauty of Barbaresco

Bruno Giacosa: Pioneering Precision in Piedmont

No discussion of Barolo and Barbaresco would be complete without mention of Bruno Giacosa, one of Italy’s most esteemed producers. Paolo Tenti reports on “the genius of Neive.”

© Paolo Tenti | Bruno Giacosa

He’s the producer who inspired a generation of winemakers. A pioneer in introducing single-vineyard bottlings of Barolo and Barbaresco. And a man who’s not afraid to say no to a vintage if he thinks the grapes are not good enough.

Read the article: Bruno Giacosa

Bruno Giacosa

This eminent Barolo producer has been around the block more than once since starting in wine 68 years ago. Kerin O’Keefe pays the great man a visit and hears how he has overcome the formidable challenges of recent years, including illness and the firing and re-hiring of his winemaker.

At first glance, things appear remarkably unchanged at Bruno Giacosa’s winery during my recent visit. It is almost as if the daunting challenges that the legendary Barolo and Barbaresco producer has faced over the past five years had never happened. Giacosa, one of Langhe’s trailblazing winemakers and an undisputed expert on the area’s top sites, showed off the latest vintages and discussed the past, present and future of this iconic estate alongside daughter Bruna and winemaker Dante Scaglione.

Giacosa, now 82, began his illustrious career at the age of 14, when he started working for his father’s grape-buying and winemaking estate. The young Giacosa soon gained renown for what many describe as his golden palate, and he went on to create Barolos and Barbarescos of extraordinary complexity from renowned vineyards, while discovering lesser-known sites that he would later make famous. Today, Giacosa’s acclaimed bottlings read like a wish list for wine connoisseurs, and include some of the most hallowed names in Piedmont, such as Falletto and Le Rocche del Falletto in Barolo, and Asili and Santo Stefano in Barbaresco. His red-label Riserva bottlings – made only in the best years – are among the most sought after wines in the world.

Giacosa was one of the first Italian winemakers to fully understand the importance of Langhe’s vineyards and, in 1967, he began bottling the famous hillside vineyard yields separately. Thanks to decades of experience as one of Langhe’s foremost grape buyers and winemakers, Giacosa decided years ahead of time which properties hewanted to own. The main object of his desire? Falletto. Located in the venerable village of Serralunga, perhaps the most prestigious of all the Barolo villages, Falletto has perfect southwest exposure that allows the grapes to mature slowly but fully, while its calcareous soil adds complexity and structure. ‘I’d been buying grapes from Falletto since 1967 and had always wanted to buy it,’ says Giacosa. ‘In 1982, I finally realised my dream.’ In 1996, he went on to acquire a parcel of land on the top of the notable Asili hillside in Barbaresco. Today he admits that this is the vineyard closest to his heart. ‘No other vineyard in Langhe yields a bouquet as elegant, or possesses such finesse and balance as Asili,’ says the veteran, who attributes the vineyard’s performance to its sandy, almost silty soil, full southern exposure and high altitude.

Read the article: Bruno Giacosa

Pioneer Luigi Veronelli dies

Italy’s most celebrated wine and food critic Luigi Veronelli died at his home in Bergamo yesterday after a long illness. He was 78.

‘Gino’ Veronelli was among the first to celebrate the men and women who dedicated their lives to viticulture and agriculture. His pioneering guide to Italian wines, first published in 1959, set the standards for wine writing and wine guides around the world, and his television series on cooking and wine in the 1960s introduced millions of Italians to Italy’s regional specialities.

His advice on wine and viticulture was not only for consumers. According to Barolo and Barbaresco producer Bruno Giacosa, the critic also influenced Italy’s top wine producers.

‘Gino was all heart,’ Giacosa told decanter.com. ‘He was the first person to teach us that a great wine was born in the vineyards. He was the first to point out the absolute necessity of carefully selecting grapes in the vineyards, the importance of terroir, of realising the potential of one vineyard or cru over another.

‘He believed Italian wine could be brought to exceptional levels if we worked closely with the earth. Back in the 60s and 70s, no one thought like this. He truly was a pioneer.’

Read the article: Pioneer Luigi Veronelli dies