The story of the winery begins in the sixties when Giuseppe Cortese, being the brilliant winegrower he was, with Barbaresco wine becoming increasingly popular worldwide and having overcome the difficulties of the postwar period, realized that he could do more and better: the winegrowing activity that the family has been committed to for generations could develop into an independent and family-owned business. As a matter of fact, the family lived on the top of a hill that had been giving top-quality grapes, RABAJA, for as long as he could remember!
The first challenge, that of producing Barbaresco wine from grapes grown in the Rabajà area, was successfully met in 1971, when the winery set up by Giuseppe with the help of his father Giacomo created the first RABAJA – GIUSEPPE CORTESE wine. The goals that followed were achieved through the pragmatism and determination of Giuseppe and his wife Rosella: they purchased new vineyards in the Rabaja area and neighbouring Trifolera zone (ideal for the production of the other wines), expanded the production to include other typical Langa wines (Dolcetto and Barbera) and, above all, put their own, unmistakable and immutable mark on Barbaresco Rabajà wine.
The wine’s typicalness did not go unnoticed and, long before his son Pier Carlo stepped in as winemaker, Giuseppe Cortese wines were found at all major national and international wine fairs and were exported to several countries. In more recent years, the winery’s story revolves around the new Cortese generation: though Giuseppe and Rosella go on safeguarding the family’s winegrowing tradition, Pier Carlo is now successfully in charge of the wine cellar, while his sister Tiziana takes good care of sales and customer service.
In the past few years, the winery, whose vineyards now spread over an area of 8 hectares, has been constantly developing and expanding its production range. In addition to the Barbaresco Rabajà, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto d’Alba and Barbera d’Alba wines, it produces Chardonnay (the only non-native grape variety, which gives however a highly mineral wine if grown in the Barbaresco area) in a more traditional version and one aged in small French oak barrels, a wood-aged version of Barbera d’Alba, and Pier Carlo’s pride and joy: the superb Rabajà Reserve. This is a truly unique wine, of matchless complexity. Produced only in the most classic vintages and by using carefully-selected grapes from the oldest Rabajà vineyard (about 55-60 years old), the wine ages for 40 months in wood barrels and for another 3 years in bottle (while wine law requires minimum ageing of 50 months) and is widely considered to be one of the best expressions of Nebbiolo grapes from Barbaresco.
The winery has also undergone major extension works to include larger winemaking rooms, an underground cellar whose temperature and humidity level is ideal for wine ageing and a lovely tasting area to welcome Giuseppe Cortese wine fans!
Gabriele, Tiziana’s husband, has recently joined the family and winery staff and today the company, confident of its worldwide popularity, looks ahead with the determination that runs in the family, while being aware that it ranks among the most passionate producers of one of the world’s greatest wines.