For generations, G. Cortese has been a fixture producing Barbaresco in the Langhe.   The Rabaja Cru, with it’s prime South by Southwest exposure, lies in the heart of the Barbaresco region.  The hills around the vineyard offer an almost natural ampitheatre that serves to protect the vines from the harshest winds of winter and forms a key component in the microclimate of the area.
Cortese has 4 hectares in the Rabaja Cru.  He ages his Barbaresco Rabaja for 18 months in large oak barrels of Slavonian and French origin – none of which are new.  The wine is then aged 6 months in bottle before release. 
I’ve had the Cortese Barbaresco Rabaja several times – and in most of the classic vintages.  Despite the knowledge that they typically show best with 10 years of age behind them, I could not resist the temptation to try this.  
Decanted for an hour, in the glass, this is vibrant ruby red with a slight, fiery, orange hue to the rim.  The nose is perfumed and very attractive. Bright berry, cedar, anise and flowers appear and mingle in harmony.  On the palate, the youth of the wine is evident. It appears a bit lean.  The fruit is there, lurking in the background and you can sense it trying to break through.  The overall tactile sensation is monolithic and there are significant tannins and acids asserting themselves.
Rabaja takes time.  I should have heeded my own inclinations.   Judgement Reserved.  I’m tipping my hat to the greatness of this vineyard and the knowledge of the producer.  At the moment, a straightforward wine – about 86-88 points.  I sense, by 2018 and beyond, this will greatly reward those who cellar it.  I’m a buyer.   About $40. 

Barbaresco Rabaja from G. Cortese
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