2001 Cortese, Barbaresco, Rabaja (RT 93) Sourced from prime soils in the spectacular Rabaja cru, the 2001 is now in its peak drinking window showing all the magic of tertiary evolution and should hold in this stage for another decade. Crafted in an approachable style, the normale’s Rabaja bottling isn’t built for the ages like Cortese’s Riserva Rabaja, but it nonetheless reveals what makes this vineyard so alluring. Showing a deep dark ruby garnet hue, it wafts up a glorious, late Fall cornucopia of notes built on a frame of mentholated black cherry, spiced plum, brambles, sous bois and dried rose petal. The palate shows welterweight fruit with soft acidity and fully integrated tannin, making it very pleasing and food friendly. Cortese’s Rabaja remains an amazing value on release – in the low $40s – but like many Barbaresco’s and Barolo’s in the current market, the price spirals upward just a few years after import. Drink now-2029