Bruno Giacosa, in Neive, is one of the finest producers of Barolos and Barbarescos. The 44-acre estate is owned by the Giacosa family and until his death in 2018 at age 88, Bruno Giacosa himself ran the vineyard and cellar. His daughter Bruna joined the family business in 1982 and has long handled all business aspects. Bruna will continue to run the estate. Bruno was considered a brilliant producer by his colleagues in the region, and for many years made outstanding wines with purchased grapes. These days, however, the family owns its own vineyards and grows Nebbiolo d’Alba, Barbera d’Alba, and Dolcetto d’Alba. About 400,000 bottles are produced annually. Gambero Rosso, Italy’s leading wine journal, has awarded Bruno Giacosa wines its highest rating, The Three Glass (or three bicchieri) award. Robert M. Parker Jr. has noted Bruno Giacosa’s “consistent brilliance.”
Barbaresco is one of the two most acclaimed DOCGs in Piedmont, the other being Barolo. Located just a few miles north of Barolo, Barbaresco is a small town of fewer than 700 people and 1,680 vineyard acres, making it less than half the size of the Barolo DOCG. The other communes in this DOCG of rolling hills are Neive and Treiso. As in Barolo, the DOCG requires that Barbaresco DOCG wines be 100% Nebbiolo, a grape thought of as the Pinot Noir of Italy. Records show that Nebbiolo was grown in the Piedmont as early as the 14th century, and despite being somewhat finicky – it is late to ripen and easily damaged by adverse weather --- Nebbiolo makes highly aromatic and powerful red wines. Until the mid-19th century Nebbiolos of Piedmont were vinified as sweet wines, though that ended in the late 19th century when a French oenologist was invited to Piedmont to show producers how to make dry reds. By the late 20th century respected producers were making outstanding Nebbiolos, as well as Nebbiolo blends that do not carry the DOCG label. Barbaresco was made a DOC in 1966 and upgraded to a DCOG in 1980. DOCG Barbaresco must be aged a minimum of two years, with a minimum of one year in wood. Barbarescos are regarded as more subtle and refined than Barolos, and more approachable when young.
This red grape is most often associated with Piedmont, where it becomes DOCG Barolo and Barbaresco, among others. Its name comes from Italian for “fog,” which descends over the region at harvest. The fruit also gains a foggy white veil when mature.