The 1997 Barbaresco Santo Stefano is a pretty wine, but it is also a touch faded. Dried cherry, kirsch, smoke, spice cake, licorice and sweet tobacco add to an impression of a wine that is pretty much fully resolved. I would prefer to drink the 1997 sooner rather than later, while there is some freshness left to match the wine’s soft, nuanced feel. Stylistically, the 1997 bears some resemblance to the 2000 – which is not surprising given that both were warm vintages – but is perhaps a bit richer and deeper, but also more forward.
Medium red, orange at the rim. Superripe, perfumed aromas of cherry, redcurrant, smoked meat, cinnamon and dried flowers, plus an exotic whiff of amaretto. Supersweet, dense and smooth but with lovely vinosity. Not as deep as the '98 version but already offers superb inner-mouth complexity. Finishes sweeter than the Rabaja, with substantial tongue-dusting tannins. The fermentation was difficult and protracted, said Scaglione, and the fermentation of sugar ultimately finished at the same time as the malolactic, leaving 2.5 grams of residual sweetness.