Bruno Giacosa   Barolo Falletto DOCG

2003 Barolo Falletto D.O.C.G.

By Bruno Giacosa

The enigmatic 2003 Barolo Falletto D.O.C.G. from Bruno Giacosa

As the saying goes, “like a fine wine, it improves with age” and so it is with the 2003 Barolo Falletto D.O.C.G. from Bruno Giacosa. This something of an enigma amongst Italian fine wines, it defies the conventions of its era, skilfully navigating the climatic obstacles of the languid 2003 European summer.


Masterfully crafted under challenging conditions

This wine whispers the story of empowerment under adverse circumstances. The year 2003 wasn't optimum for vine cultivation in many parts of Europe and presented formidable challenges to winemakers. But, the tried and tested vintner Maestro Bruno Giacosa worked like an alchemist, transmuting this testing vintage into a creative opportunity that now stands as an ode to his prowess.

The result is a Barolo that seduces the senses with a fascinating aura of black truffle and tobacco aromas, accompanied by slight suggestions of amaretto against vanilla undertones that intrigue rather than overwhelm.


A vintage for the discerning palette

On arrival at the palate, its fortitude becomes evident. It delivers an intricate dance of ripe cherries and apricots, escorted by strands of white pepper which flirt with a tannic backbone claiming finesse beyond expectation from this searingly hot year. The finish lingers, intense yet balanced, highlighting Giacosa's signature composition of power and elegance.

It is therefore not surprising that investors oriented towards Italian fine wines find solace in the arms of this paradoxically harmonious vintage. Its remarkable evolution over time has taken many by surprise, further underpinning its investment allure.


Final Verdict: A compelling investment proposition.

Despite its beguiling conception story, the 2003 Barolo Falletto D.O.C.G. from Bruno Giacosa stands not merely as a testament to its creator's expertise but boldly claims a pivotal position in any premium wine investment portfolio. Placed amongst the world's most captivating fine wines from Italy, its captivating charm and continually developing profile have made this vintage an exceptional asset promising intriguing returns.

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Giacosa’s 2003 Barolo Falletto is made in an especially weighty, super-ripe style. It offers notable length but shows the adverse effects of the heat, especially on the finish. The Falletto has shut down considerably since bottling, making it hard to evaluate today. It was much more open when I tasted it last year. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2019. At a time in life when many of his colleagues have begun to slow down, Bruno Giacosa continues to make stunning wines of the highest level. Of course Giacosa has the good fortune of having the services of long-time oenologist Dante Scaglione, who is one of the most prodigiously talented winemakers in Italy. Although age has slowed Giacosa down somewhat, he was in fine form during the several hours we spent tasting his 2004, 2005 and 2006 Barolos and Barbarescos from barrel earlier this year. Simply put, 2004 will go down as one of the all-time great Giacosa vintages for both Barolo and Barbaresco. The Red Label Riservas are the Barbaresco Asili and the Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto, but his other wines aren't too far behind in terms of quality. From cask, the Barolos revealed slightly more promise, but that may be splitting hairs at this level. In 2004 Giacosa also fulfilled a long-standing dream by making his first Barolo from La Morra, the Barolo Croera, which will be released next year. The Croera is made from a newly-acquired vineyard in the Serradenari district of La Morra, an area best known for its Dolcettos. So far Giacosa's 2005s appear to be well-balanced, yet smaller-scaled wines that will likely drink well relatively early, while the 2006s are decidedly bigger and more powerful. I also noted a marked improvement in the quality of the Barbaresco Santo Stefano, which is the only single-vineyard wine the estate still makes from purchased fruit. Our tasting ended with the 1967 Barbaresco Riserva Asili. It was, in a word...sublime. The world will have to wait for the 2004 Barolos and Barbarescos to be released, in the meantime readers will find no shortage of compelling offerings among this set of new releases from Bruno Giacosa. The 2006 Dolcettos are excellent to outstanding, while the 2005 Barberas reflect the more modest qualities of that vintage. Giacosa is among the producers whose views on the 2003 vintage for Barolo and Barbaresco have changed dramatically in recent years. While many producers draw comparisons with 1947, Giacosa is one of the very few who can speak from personal experience. At first pessimistic, he initially thought he might not bottle any of his top wines but as time has passed his stance has changed, and today he is much more enthusiastic about the vintage. Importer: Winebow, Hohokus, NJ; tel. (201) 445-0620

Antonio Galloni - The Wine Advocate, 30 October 2007

Vintage performance