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.