Out of this world. A triumph. Not very dark in color, but shows loads of smoky tobacco, grilled meat and ripe fruit. Full-bodied, with huge, ripe, velvety tannins and a finish that goes on for minutes. Seductive wine. -- Piedmont retrospective.
Giacosa's 1988 Barbaresco Riserva Santo Stefano is a wine famously plagued by huge amounts of bottle variation, but this was as good an example as I have ever tasted. The next wine was one of Giacosa's all-time masterpieces, but a rare wine few have had the privilege to experience. (AG)
The 1988 is the most advanced of these Santo Stefanos. It is fully mature, with notes of leather, tobacco, beef bouillon, prunes and spices on a medium-bodied frame with soft tannins and excellent length. There appears to be little upside in cellaring bottles any further and I would choose to drink my remaining bottles within the next few years. A second recent bottle appeared to be at a similar stage of its evolution. (AG)
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