0 immediate, 11 marketplace
0 immediate, 8 marketplace
Average critic rating : 94.0 points
The 2012 Barbera d'Alba Francia is a stunning wine that shows precision, poise and focus. The aromas are fully developed and harmonious with dark berry, blackcurrant, spice and sweet tobacco. The single-vineyard Francia is especially impressive in the mouth thanks to its generous and fleshy texture and the great intensity and persistence of the finish. Barbera is celebrated, or sometimes criticized, for its high acidity. That freshness is expertly managed and tamed in this standout wine. The 2012 vintage was especially kind to Barbera. ||I was very disappointed not to be able to taste from barrel this year at Roberto Conterno's historic estate in Monforte d'Alba. Due to construction work at the winery, Roberto was not receiving visitors during my two-week residency in the area. I was however very excited to review the excellent 2012 Barbera d'Alba Francia and the 2009 Barolo Cascina Francia (that I had previously tasted in barrel). He did not produce his Barolo Riserva Monfortino in 2009. The big news from the estate this year is Roberto's purchase of the 9-hectare Arione cru from neighbor Gigi Rosso in Serralunga d'Alba. The acquisition was ripe with controversy stemming from irresponsible reporting in local Italian media that suggested both buyer and seller were motivated by anti-American sentiment. A U.S. based retail group had originally made a bid for the property before Roberto successfully nabbed it. Historically speaking, vineyard land in the Langhe has overwhelmingly stayed in Piedmontese hands unlike Tuscany that sees a great number of foreign investors from around the world. Those unfounded conspiracy theories went up in smoke when Roberto Conterno revealed that he had simply followed Italian legal protocol that allows him (a direct neighbor as owner of the adjacent Francia cru) the right of first refusal. But the acquisition remains controversial for a second, more significant reason. Roberto paid an enormous sum for the celebrated cru (I was told that figure reached 7 million euros) thus raising the collective psychological bar on property prices in the Langhe. Many fear that a buying and selling frenzy with sky-high prices is on the horizon. Giacomo Conterno will reportedly begin to produce a Barolo Arione with the 2015 vintage and Gigi Rosso will release his last Barolo Arione in 2014. eRobertParker.com.June, 2015
For any wine collector, Giacomo Conterno is a name that makes you sit up straight and pay attention. Widely acknowledged as the most majestic examples of traditional Barolo, these wines are some of the most thought provoking heavy-hitters known to the wine world. Power, massive structure, richness tempered with delicacy and the ability to age beautifully for 30+ years are just some of the reasons for Conterno’s world-class reputation.
A NEW DIRECTION
The winery, established in 1908, initially conformed to the way other producers in the region made Barolo; in cask or demijohn suitable for early consumption. In the 1920s Giacomo Conterno set his sights on making a higher quality Barolo that could age for decades. He started by extending maceration periods extensively and began aging his wines in large wooden botti. The shift in quality kept the winery afloat during difficult economic times and eventually led to the ability to purchase the Cascina Francia vineyard in the 1970s.
Cascina Francia is one of Piedmont’s greatest sites and the exclusive source of Conterno’s Baroli – Monfortino and Cascina Francia. The densely planted 14 hectare site boasts southwest exposure and sits 4,000 metres above sea level, offering ideal conditions for deep tannins and big, ripe acidity. This vineyard is the key in producing Conterno’s powerful, age-worthy style of Barolo.
BAROLO MONFORTINO RISERVA
In great vintages, Barolo Monfortino Riserva is made from a selection of the best fruit. It is vinified differently than Cascina Francia, first undergoing an uncontrolled fermentation at a high temperature, followed by an additional three years of maturation in cask. Antonio Galloni remarks “Baroli Cascina Francia and Monfortino... rightly considered by most observers as among the most profound wines in the world.”
Today, the winery is run by Roberto Conterno, who benefits from the wisdom and legacy of his late father, Giovanni, and grandfather, Giacomo. The winemaking is still rigorously traditional with long fermentations followed by periods of 7+ years in cask, practices reminiscent of other great Italian producers Gianfranco Soldera and Giuseppe Quintarelli. This powerful style of Barolo continues to shock and amaze those lucky enough to open them.
FINE & RARE
Made in tiny quantities of only around 1,000 cases per year, this is a hugely desirable and collectable wine with a rarity factor similar to Petrus in Bordeaux and Domaine Romanée Conti in Burgundy. Highly rated by Antonio Galloni, the vintages 2010, 2004, 1999, 1978 and 1970 are among some of the most sought after wines in the world.
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