BRUNO GIACOSA SANTO STEFANO BARBARESCO
at John Gilman's in Croton-Harmon, NY (11/29/2006)

Photos are here.

This dinner was organized by Mark Golodetz who provided all the wines except for the 87, the 74 and the 78 riserva which Mannie Berk brought.

Flights 1-4 were decanted between 5 and 5:30 pm. The tasting began at about 7:30 pm. Flights 5-8 were decanted in sequence as the decanters became available, about 2 hours before each was drunk. The tasting ended about 11pm.

The first 5 flights were served with bread and cheese. Flight 6 with a delicious Wild Mushroom Strudel. Flights 7 and 8 with tasty Osso Bucco. The cheeses we had were Edel de Cleron, Boucheron, Ste. Nectaire, Epoisses, Manchego and St. Marcellin. All very good, but the Epoisses was really special. According to the chef, John Gilman, "The Wild Mushroom Strudel was a signature dish of Veritas Chef Scott Bryan when he ran a small restaurant in Greenwich Village called Indigo. It is a filo dough preparation, stuffed with a wild mushroom, cream cheese, thyme and sherry vinegar filling. It was served with a simple wild mushroom-Madeira cream sauce. The main course was Osso Bucco, with nothing special done to it other than a big dose of orange zest to brighten it up and sage as the main herb."

The scores and notes are mine. Day 2 notes are from the dregs run through an unbleached coffee filter after sitting open for 24 hours. Needless to say, they should be taken with a grain of salt or two.

Many thanks to Mark for organizing, John for cooking and hosting, and everyone for such good company!


FLIGHT 0

2000 Raveneau Chablis Butteaux was poured, but I didn't try it. Perhaps someone else can comment on it.


FLIGHT 1

2000 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Sfefano di Neive (white label)
Heavenly nose of cherries, licorice, and tree bark. Ripe, sweet red and black fruits. Some tannin and some fruitcake on the finish. So ripe and sweet. Drink now-2015. 93 points
Day 2: Terrific fruit. Balanced and harmonious. OK, it's not as serious as the 01 or 99 or 98 or 96, but man that's some tasty juice!

2001 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Sfefano di Neive (white label)
More floral and ethereal nose than the 2000. More structure as well. More obvious tannins, but silkier tannins. Structured and balanced. Mary said she thought it would put on weight over time. I think so too. If so, it will be truly great! Drink 2012-2025. 93-96 points.

FLIGHT 2

1999 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Sfefano di Neive (white label)
Exquisite, ripe red fruit nose with touches of licorice and tar. Big and tannic in the mouth. Very, very long finish of licorice, cherries, and tar. This might turn out to be better than the 2001 someday! Drink 2015-2030. 94-96 points.
Day 2: Very aggressive now, but balanced. Has excellent potential.

1998 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Riserva Santo Sfefano di Neive (red label)
Classic Giacosa nose of fruitcake, roses, tar, and red fruits. Great structure and tannin. Very long and very classic in style. The first wine to have any signs of mature character, but no where near maturity. This will be a truly great wine around 2015-2025. 95-97 points.
One hour later: Amazing with the osso bucco. Could be the equal of the 1990 SSR someday!


FLIGHT 3

1997 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Sfefano di Neive (white label)
Off nose of bleach. Very tart and nasty on the palate. A bad bottle. NR
Day 2: Still corked!

1996 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Sfefano di Neive (white label)
Big woody nose of ripe red fruit. Big and round in the mouth. Full bodied with a tsunami of tannins on the finish. Really classic! Underneath the tannin there are plums. This is a beauty, but will require great patience. Drink 2015-2030. 95-98 points.


FLIGHT 4

1990 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Riserva Santo Sfefano di Neive (red label)
Herbaceous, tarry nose. Huge and rich in the mouth. So expansive! The nose is a little disappointing, but in the mouth, this is the WOTN so far! A powerhouse! Drink now-2025. 98 points.

1988 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Riserva Santo Sfefano di Neive (red label)
Mature, slightly oxidized, turpentine nose. Tarry, fading. Tasty, but over the hill. John says he has much younger tasting bottles. I have had another bottle like this one in the last year, but agree with John that there must be better bottles out there. Still, drink `em if ya got `em! 88 points.

FLIGHT 5

1987 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Sfefano di Neive (white label)
Animal nose. Surprisingly rich and tannic. Excellent length. An impressive wine for this vintage, especially at 20 years old! 91 points.
Day 2: Tannic, but some fruit left. Quite an impressive wine!

1986 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Sfefano di Neive (white label)
Floral and shoe polish nose. An off bottle. One I had early this year was much better. 86? points.
Day 2: Tarry and astringent. Gone.


FLIGHT 6

1985 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Riserva Santo Sfefano di Neive (red label)
Cheesy nose. Lovely in the mouth. Mellow with a pleasing, long finish. 94 points.

1982 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Riserva Santo Sfefano di Neive (red label)
Wow! Mind-blowing nose of leather, fruitcake, and tar. Acidic and a touch hot on the long finish. Lots of earth, cheese, and plums in the middle. Just a bit off in the mouth, but that nose is gorgeous! 95? points.


FLIGHT 7

1978 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Sfefano di Neive (white label)
A touch of ammonia in the nose. In the mouth, tart and acidic. Mildly corked in my glass, but does not have that off smell in John's glass. Weird. Better with the marrow from the osso bucco. NR
Day 2: Doesn't taste bad, but completely flat.

1978 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Riserva Santo Sfefano di Neive (red label)
Fabulous nose of roses, earth mulch, iron, and blood. Has the fresh nose of a young wine. Big and tannic still! Riveting and expansive. The wine that all the wines above want to be. Wonderful. Simply perfect. Power and grace. 100 points. Hands down WOTN for me.
Day 2: Still has gorgeous fruit! Still beautiful, but less complex.


FLIGHT 8

1974 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Riserva Santo Sfefano di Neive (red label)
Heavenly, mature nose of forest floor, dried red fruits, tar, licorice, and orange peel. Balanced, expansive, tannic, stunning. Surely at its peak or slightly past. 95 points.
Day 2: Gone.

All in all, quite a wonderful tasting. Some problems with some bottles, but that is to be expected. Much better than the last tasting I went to where nearly every bottle was defective in some way. Here, really only the 97 provided no enjoyment whatsoever. Anyway, I would sit through anything just to drink that 78 Riserva again!

 

 

 


All original content © Ken Vastola