Giacomo Conterno, Barolo Riserva Monfortino
Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
Roberto Conterno is giving us two back-to-back vintages of Monfortino, all Monfortino. He considers 2013 and 2014 to be similar vintages from a structural point of view. The 2014 vintage is perhaps more tannic compared to the softer 2013. Tasted from barrel, the 2013 Barolo Riserva Monfortino is experiencing fast evolutionary changes at this moment in its young life. These wines undergo six to seven years of aging in large oak barrel, so the evolutionary increments are slow and steady over the course of time. The barrel I tasted is evidently coming together in seamless fashion. The wine is underlined by an undying sense of firmness and deep inner integrity. It has a strong backbone, and you can taste the rich fruit and spice nuances that lean on that structure for support and balance. I look forward to tasting the finished product. My last winery visit in Barolo before my flight back to Rome was with Roberto Conterno at Giacomo Conterno. This was my happy sendoff, Barrel tastings of Monfortino and an unforgettable sample of the 2010 Barolo Riserva Monfortino (a stunning 100-point wine) that reset my palate and stayed in my thoughts (and on my taste buds) for the entire length of my flight and transfer back home. With this final tasting completed, I knew I had experienced one of the finest groups of new releases ever (spanning from 2013 Barolo to 2010 Barolo Riserva)—not only from this celebrated estate but from the Barolo region as a whole. Roberto Conterno has a few more surprises up his sleeves. He is making Monfortino in 2013 and in 2014. In fact, he is only making Monfortino in those years. This is a huge endorsement for the controversial 2014 vintage in particular. He describes 2013 and 2014 as similar vintages that performed in opposite ways. The 2013 vintage was normal and warm during the height of summer but saw more cloud coverage and cooler temperatures in the fall. In 2014, the summer months were grey and soggy, but the fall period was warm and dry instead.