Robert Parker 93
The classic 1997 Barbaresco Santo Stefano is evolved and flamboyant. A medium ruby/garnet color with an amber edge is followed by a sweet perfume of black cherries, tobacco, leather, spice box, licorice, and tar. Full-bodied, with a creamy texture, superb concentration, and an exquisite finish, it can be drunk now or cellared for 15+ years.
Anticipated maturity: 2001-2016
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.
Anticipated maturity: 2016-2021