The following editorial is an excerpt from VinoWire editor Franco Ziliani’s post Why didn’t Bruno Giacosa bottle his 2006 Barolo and Barbaresco?
In a statement on Bruno Giacosa’s decision not to bottle his 2006 Barolo and Barbaresco, Giacosa’s UK importer Armit wrote: “until recently Giacosa had not been able to personally judge the quality of the wines due to suffering a stroke in 2006 which left him unable to work at the winery.”
I would like to make it clear that I believe this was not the decisive element that led to Bruno’s choice not to bottle the 2006.
To say that the 2006 wines did not turn out well because Bruno was not present at the winery is a patent insult to the person who was at Bruno Giacosa’s side for 16 years. I am talking about Dante Scaglione, who was like a son to Bruno: his close, reliable, and able collaborator. As we wrote in a post at VinoWire in March 2008, Dante found himself in an objectively untenable situation that forced him to give up his position with the Bruno Giacosa winery despite the fact that he was widely considered the person who — together with Bruno, thanks to his technical ability and his devotion — could continue to develop the legacy of the Neive winery.
From what I have seen and what I learned during my visits to the winery over the years and in conversations with Bruno and with Dante, from 1996 through 2007, vinification of the wines was largely in Scaglione’s hand, especially when it came to their management and technical choices.
There is no doubt — and no one can deny this — that with his work in the winery, Dante Scaglione helped to raise the quality of the Giacosa wines even higher. Dante has left the winery and has been replaced by enologist Giorgio Lavagna, who is certainly talented and who certainly has his own opinions. Lavagna has yet to show that he can work with Bruno in the same harmonious capacity. Not to recognize Dante’s contribution is a gesture that I hold not to be up to the greatness of the name, the style, and the class that one should expect not just from any winery but from the Bruno Giacosa winery.