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July 12, 2006

97 Bruno Rocca, Barbaresco Rabaja

From just south of the village of Barbaresco in Piedmont, this austere nebbiolo typifies, for me, the classically light elegance of wines from this region. A full 180 from something like Gaja's rich, robust style, the 97 Rocca lingers with the slowly seeping aroma of black tar. The oak seems very light--despite what I've heard about Rocca being a modernist--and the wine overall reminds me of young Bruno Giacosa. Maybe it's just the first names. Rocca's Rabaja, in any case, is a study in purity--showing how alluring simple flavors like dried fruit and licorice can be against natural acidity and chalky, steak-friendly tannins. It whispers.


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