Bruno Giacosa is where my love of wine started—and not just Italian wine, but the whole wide wine spectrum, wine from all corners of the earth.
I grew up around wine; my parents owned a wine shop and my brother was a Burgundy fiend, but my love for it was not immediate.
It took years of sweet drinks, bad beer, good beer and more before my palate finally came around.
It was New Year’s Eve 2010 at La Pizza Fresca on 20th Street when a 1989 Barolo from Bruno Giacosa switched the wine light on.
It’s been a love affair ever since and I see no signs of my passion slowing.
I’ve chosen two wines from the iconic Giacosa estate to celebrate my wine epiphany—and to deepen your wine love.
Casa Vinicola Bruno Giacosa 2013 Barbera d’Alba $32.99/btl Barbera is one of the most widely planted grapes in Italy but it’s mostly known for being the little brother to Piemonte’s Nebbiolo-based Barolo and Barbaresco.
Nearly all of the producers who make these great wines also grow and make a Barbera because, realistically, you can’t have a Barolo every night.
This Giacosa Barbera is bursting with sweet fruits, a lively acidity, and a surprisingly long finish. Bruno Giacosa 2008 Barolo Le Rocche Falletto Riserva $449.00 While the Barbera is all about sweet fruit and accessibility, the Barolo Riserva or “Red Label,” as it is known at the Giacosa estate, is an absolute powerhouse.
Feel free to pair this with pasta, risotto, burgers, pizza—nearly any dish under the sun. In its youth this wine’s Nebbiolo fruit is tight and foreboding, but as time passes and the tannins integrate, this bottle becomes a wine of extraordinary elegance and remarkable complexity.
This bottle will never hit you over the head with bombastic flavors; it would much rather seduce you over a long, long time. Historically known as “the people’s grape,” and currently recognized as the “fun” alternative to Piemonte’s more austere Nebbiolo-based Barolo and Barbaresco, the wines of Piemonte’s Barbera DOCs offer an easy-going, cheerfully acidic and very tasty way to experience the renowned region.
The most widely grown varietal in Piemonte, there are two Barbera DOCs, Barbera d’Alba Barbera del Monferrato, and one Barbera DOCG, Barbera d’Asti.