The Cortese winery is built on topc of one of the hills in Barbaresco and the picture shows what one can see from the tasting room's balcony. These are vineyards that belong to the winery.
The evening before visiting this winery we had dinner at Antine restaurant in Barbaresco. Excellent restaurant, serving very good piedmontese dishes and with a very reasonably priced yet deep wine menu. We had the Giuseppe Cortese Rabaja Riserva 1996. It was excellent and a perfect match to the local food. This has built high expectations for our next day visit, which were fully fulfilled. The visit started with an overview of the winery, where the most important point is the use of traditional large Slovenian barrels along with the more modern small barrels.
We were then given the opportunity to taste the Barbaresco Rabaja 2000-2004 and the Riserva 1999.
Barbaresco Rabaja 2003
Pretty deep color for the vintage, not very fruity, good earth on the nose but overall seems to be a bit shy there. However it is very balanced, the tannins announce their presence but don't bite. Very good finish. 88
Barbaresco Rabaja 2001
Blackberries, smoke, truffels all interweave to a very balanced wine with a very long and excellent finish. It still needs significant time as its too tannic, the structure is great. Overall a very fine wine. 94
Barbaresco Rabaja 2000
Dried plums, ripe red berries, leather. A very nice finish and good structure. 89
Barbaresco Rabaja 2004
Beautiful deep color, very fruity with mainly red berries. The tannins are right now biting, but this is typical for this young wine. A bit hard to judge but seems a wine with an excellent potential. 90
Barbaresco Rabaja Riserva 1999
The vines that are used for this wine are 55 years old and the production is only 6000 bottles. The results are great: Dried plums, blackberries, Mediterranean herbs, leather and tobbaco - very layered wine. The tannins are a bit too harsh to allow current drinking, but its still very enjoyable now. Build to last. 95