The wines of Giuseppe Cortese are every Piedmont aficionado’s dream. Located in the heart of the famous Rabajà “cru”, the estate is known for producing exquisitely balanced wines from the Barbaresco area thanks to an intimate knowledge of the Nebbiolo grape. With deep respect and understanding of the Barbaresco terroir, and long-held family traditions, Giuseppe Cortese crafts some of the most exceptional Barbarescos.
In 2015, there was no Rabaja Riserva made. Instead the fruit usually set aside for his flagship Barbaresco went into the regular Rabaja, making it a wine of unparalleled quality for its price. If you were only going to pick one Barbaresco, this would be at the top of the list.
100% Nebbiolo from a 50-year-old vineyard. Limestone and clay soils rich in minerals and stratified with layers of 'tufo.'
Approximately 30 days of fermentation in stainless steel and cement, before transfer to large format Slavonian oak foudre, for 20-22 months maturation. 10 months further maturation in bottle before release.
Traditional version of the great Cru: a wine featuring structure, elegance and a personality of its own. Barbaresco Rabajà has an intense and ethereal perfume with fresh notes that evolve into scents of spices, tobacco and brushwood notes as it ages. A dry, full and robust flavour with a rich and harmonious structure; garnet red colour.
A native of Barbaresco, Giuseppe Cortese began a lifelong passion for winemaking by working with his father Giacomo in the family business. Before running his own winery, Giuseppe Cortese served as cellar master and vineyard manager for some of Piedmont’s most prestigious wineries. During this time, he gained invaluable knowledge of the Nebbiolo grape and learned how to maximize its potential in and around the Barbaresco area.
After several years of experience, he realized the future of high-quality Barbaresco wines was in developing the potential of the terroir. With this in mind, Giuseppe began re-orienting the family’s wine business and remodeling the winery, improving winemaking techniques, and purchasing new land, in particular in the famous Rabajà site, one of the best vineyards in the Barbaresco area.
Today, Cortese is the typical small, family owned winery, which is run by Giuseppe’s children: Pier Carlo, in charge of winemaking, and Tiziana, who plays an active roles in the commercial aspects and public relations. Giuseppe’s son-in-law Gabriele has also joined them in the family business.
KERIN O’KEEFE - WINE ENTHUSIAST
This opens with aromas of ripe berry, crushed herb, scorched soil and dark culinary spice. Mirroring the nose, the firm full-bodied palate evokes juicy Marasca cherry, black raspberry, star anise and clove. Taut, tightly knit and noble tannins provide the framework. Give it time to unwind and fully develop.
Wow. What a nose of pure blueberries, rose petals, lavender, crushed minerals, elderflower and so much vivid orange and candied citrus peel. Full body, electric acidity, firm and wonderfully polished tannins and a long, mineral finish. Drink in 2021.
ANTONIO GALLONI MW - VINOUS
Cortese's 2015 Barbaresco Rabajà is open-knit and attractive, qualities that can be enjoyed with minimal cellaring given the wine's mid-weight structure. Crushed raspberry, rose petal, mint, dried herbs, orange zest and anise add super-classic Nebbiolo signatures to this very pretty, inviting Barbaresco from Cortese. The 2015 is all class. In 2015 Cortese did not bottle their flagship Riserva. Instead, all of the wine went into this, the straight Barbaresco Rabajà. The 2015 spent 20 months in cask.
GARY WALSH - THE WINE FRONT
These wines are always kind of jubey and unresolved when they first land, but give them some air, or better still, a couple of years to settle, and they really begin to shine.
STEPHEN BROOK - DECANTER
The Cortese family own 4ha in one of Barbaresco's greatest crus, Rabaja. The nose is reserved but shows intense red fruit and floral aromas too. Although it's medium-bodied, this is nonetheless intense and concentrated, with firm but ripe tannins. The mid-palate shows a light touch and there's ample acidity to lift the finish, which is stylish and long.
WALTER SPELLER - JANCISROBINSON.COM
Barbaresco. Tasted blind. Mid ruby. Pretty nose of ripe, sweet red fruits. Tea leaf and nutmeg. Very restrained on the palate but with aromatic depth. Elegant and long with firm tannins. Perhaps not as substantially fruity as the rest, for that the more elegant. 17 / 20 Points
MONICA LARNER - WINE ADVOCATE
Sweeping, broad and succulent, the 2015 Barbaresco Rabajà is a child of a warm vintage, no doubt about it. The wine's fruit is soft and rich with black cherry, plum and candied orange peel. Equally important are those background tones of spice, smoke and tar. This Barbaresco has soft, yielding tannins that suggest a near or medium-term drinking window.