When Giuseppe and his father founded this family property in 1971, the Cortese family had already been making wine for generations in the Barbaresco appellation in Piedmont, north-west Italy. In fact, the family had long been based at the top of the Rabajà hill, and this south-west facing site is now recognised as one of the best vineyard crus in the appellation. Giuseppe certainly knew how to make the most of this favourable location, and he has passed this knowhow to his son Pier Carlo, who is now in charge of winemaking. The property is also run by Giuseppe’s daughter Tiziana and son-in-law Gabriel.
Some of the initial nebbiolo vines the family purchased on Rabajá are now 55 to 60 years old. As well as four hectares here, Giuseppe also expanded to nearby Trifolera, where he sources grapes to make Dolcetto d’Alba and Barbera d’Alba. The total vineyard area is now 8 hectares, including a small amount of chardonnay, which the family ages in French oak barrels.
We buy what the family describes as its ‘most important wine’, Barbaresco Rabajà, which spends 22 months in Slavonian oak barrels ranging in age from new to nine years old. It then spends a further 10 months ageing in bottle.