Reviews & Scores
While I have tasted many of the top wines from the great 1989 vintage in recent times, I had not crossed paths with a bottle of the ’89 Santa Stefano Riserva from Signor Giacosa in many, many years. Not surprisingly, this wine is a legend in the making and will probably be proven to be the greatest vintage of this bottling produced since the legendary 1964. The bouquet is pure and stunning, offering up a still youthful constellation of sappy red and black cherries, gamebird, a touch of tariness, a very complex base of soil, fresh oregano, orange peel, woodsmoke and an exotic touch of menthol in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and absolutely seamless, with bottomless depth at the core, tangy acids, ripe, suave tannins and stunning length and grip on the complex and perfectly balanced finish. This wine is still climbing and will be even better ten years down the road. It is hard to imagine this not meriting a perfect score when it is fully ready to drink! (Drink between 2025-2085)
Of the wines of the 1980s, the 1989 Barbaresco Riserva Santo Stefano vies for the 1982 as the best wine of a decade that saw Bruno Giacosa make a dizzying array of stunning Barolos and Barbarescos. Still explosive and heady, the 1989 captures the best of Santo Stefano vineyard as interpreted by Bruno Giacosa. There’s not much more to say. Heady Nebbiolo aromatics and dense fruit infuse this exotic, deeply satisfying Barbaresco from Bruno Giacosa. The 1989 was the first young Giacosa Riserva I bought on release. The price was $55 a bottle, which was a fortune for me at the time. Many things have changed since then. But the wine? Well, it is as monumental as ever.
The 1989 Barbaresco Riserva Santo Stefano explodes from the glass with an array of soy, spices, menthol, minerals and pine in a profound, kaleidoscopic expression of this great, great vineyard. Endowed with never-ending layers of perfumed fruit, the wine reveals mind-bending complexity and a profound personality that words will never do justice to. This remains one of Giacosa’s all-time monumental wines, and it simply must be experienced by anyone who seeks to understand the genius of Bruno Giacosa. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2030.