1996 Barolo Monfortino Riserva Giacomo Conterno

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Average critic rating : 97.0 points



1996 G. Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino—Dark red. The 1996 Monfortino opens with a breathtaking nose that is to die for. Expressive aromas of leather, spices, cocoa, and roses gradually emerge from the glass. On the palate the wine displays masses of concentrated fruit that coat the palate with extraordinary length and expansiveness and with a purity of expression that keeps me coming back to wine time and again. Although it remains quite youthful and somewhat dominated by its structure, I am encouraged by its development. Perhaps we won’t have to wait decades to enjoy this wine at its prime. That said, my earlier drinking window (after 2006) appears to have been overly optimistic. This was a great showing by one of Barolo’s legendary wines from a legendary vintage. Drink after 2012. Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate May 2006.


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.


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.


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.


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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