Giacomo Conterno, Barolo Cascina Francia
Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
The recently-bottled 2005 Barolo Cascina Francia is, as expected, somewhat closed down at this stage from an aromatic perspective. That said, it is impossible to ignore the wine’s richness and depth, both of which are impressive. With time in the glass hints of sweet roses, cherries, spices and tar emerge, all framed by impeccably silky tannins. As always, readers should taste this wine as soon as possible, as it will almost certainly head for a slumber during which it will be impossible to evaluate with any accuracy. Today, this mid-weight, graceful Barolo Cascina Francia looks to be accessible relatively early, which means around age 10-12 give or take. It is another superb Barolo from Giacomo Conterno. Anticipated maturity, 2017-2030. My recent visit to Giacomo Conterno was fascinating, as I had an opportunity to spend several hours tasting through all of the wines in barrel with proprietor Roberto Conterno. The question of succession is always an issue in small, family-run wineries, but this is one example where the younger generation is building on past success by taking things to an entirely new level. I can only imagine how proud Giovanni Conterno would be if he could see (and taste!) the sublime wines that have emerged from this property in recent years. Among the wines still in barrel, the most promising appear to be the 2002, 2004 and 2005 Monfortinos, all of which are spectacular at this stage. I also tasted Conterno’s first wines from his newly-acquired vineyard in Cerretta. The 2008s show a work in progress as Conterno only had control of the vineyard for a few months that year. It will be interesting to see what he comes up with going forward. In 2007, Conterno’s Barbera officially carries the Cascina Francia vineyard designation to differentiate it from a new single-vineyard Barbera from the Cerretta vineyard the estate will release beginning with the 2008 vintage. These two new releases from proprietor Roberto Conterno are stellar. This year there is no Monfortino, as the next vintage that is scheduled for release, the 2002, is still in barrel. Depending on one’s point of view, the lack of a new Monfortino might be good or bad news. I, for one, don’t mind a year without having to make the significant but very worthwhile investment acquiring these wines requires.