Good medium red. Superripe aromas and flavors of cherry, raspberry, smoke, mocha and underbrush. Plush, large-scaled and harmonious from the outset; utterly seamless. This classically dry Barolo, which includes the Monfortino juice, is as chewy as a solid. Saturates the entire palate with broad, ripe tannins. If I had to quibble, it lacks the energy and force of the very best vintages, but it’s a mouthful of pleasure.
Robert Parker 96
The 2007 Barolo Cascina Francia is an unusual version of this benchmark wine. In 2007 Conterno decided against bottling his Monfortino. Conterno believes Nebbiolo can handle rain and humidity (hence his decision to make Monfortino in rainy years such as 1987 and 2002), but not drought. The result is a Cascina Francia that is unusually dark, rich and powerful. The floral, herbal notes that are typical in young Cascina Francia have been replaced by deeper notes of tar, smoke and licorice to match the layers of intense dark fruit. The 2007 is powerful and imposing from start to finish. It is going to be a fascinating Barolo to follow over the coming years and decades. Cascina Francia is often accessible for the first year or two after it has been bottled. That has not been my experience with the 2007. It seems already headed for a period of dormancy. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2037. The drive from Barolo to Monforte was a little different this year. Peering across the valley over the hillside where the Conterno winery sits, the observant eye will notice a number of large barrels outside the main building. Roberto Conterno had no choice but to replace a number of his casks this year as the staves had begun to bend from many years of use, and Conterno was understandably afraid of the unthinkable, that the casks could finally yield to old age full of wine. Still, he was clearly upset by having to replace barrels that he personally moved into the new winery with his father during the summer of 1985. Just to think of the wines that were racked during that move. The 1978, 1979 and 1982 Monfortini were still in cask. To be honest, seeing the empty space in the winery as the new casks were about to arrive was quite a shock. The wines, however, were not. I tasted all of the wines currently in cask plus the new releases from bottle. My high expectations were easily surpassed. Conterno fans have a lot to look forward to. Roberto Conterno has decided to give his new Nebbiolo from the Cerretta vineyard another year in barrel. At the moment Conterno is leaning towards releasing the 2009 as a Langhe Nebbiolo rather than Barolo, although that could always change. Readers who want to learn more about the 2011 harvest at Conterno may want to take a look at my video interview with Roberto Conterno. Importers: Polaner Selections, Mt. Kisco, NY; tel. (914) 244-0404, The Rare Wine Co., Sonoma, CA; tel. (707) 996-4484
Anticipated maturity: 2017-2037