07 October 2018

Franco Conterno - Monforte d'Alba

We had tasted the wines of Franco Conterno at the tasting at Roddi earlier this year.  Since we had seldom ventured out of the Barolo/La Morra area to taste wines from the other nine towns that have producers that make Barolo (by law here in Italy), we decided to try one that we had tasted previously.

Franco Conterno's wines are produced, for the main part, from grapes in the Monforte area.  Some grapes are taken from other areas but as we said, most are from around the cantina.

All wines tasted had been opened for 24 hours.  This will subtract from the estimates of time needed for the wines before they are opened so the number of years below should be adjusted to reflect this.  Our estimate is that adding two years to the number of years below should be sufficient.

The first wine presented was the 2016 Nebbiolo, 14% alcohol.  This Nebbiolo is a very good example of the grape in the mouth.  It is slightly acidic which should blend in once the wine stays in the cellar for two years.  The nose is a little restrained.  Euro 12 a bottle.

Second was the 2014 Barolo base with the name Pietrin, 14% alcohol.  It is ready to drink (remember the bottle was open for 24 hours prior to our arrival).  It is a light Barolo, good for conversation and lightly spiced foods.

The next was the 2013 Panerole Barolo, 14.5% alcohol.  The 2014 grapes from this cru, which is a  little higher in altitude, caused the grapes not to ripen enough to make the wine so they are presenting the 2013.  There is a very good nose that tells you that it is a good Barolo.  The color is quite dark indicating a slightly longer maceration.  Very good wine, drink with medium spiced foods.  Needs time in the cellar to allow the mouth to evolve.  We recommend another three to four years (plus the two from the open bottle) before opening.  Euro 27.50 a bottle.

There were then two Riserva Barolos presented.  The first was the 2012 Bussia, 14.5% alcohol, so named for the localita` of Bussia where the cantina is situated.  Riserva designation is because the wine spent five years in wood rather than the three to four for normal Barolos.  Again, a very good nose indicating the grape.  Medium color, light mouth.  A very smooth wine.  You could drink this today or save for a few more years.  Euro 39 a bottle.

The second Riserva and the final wine was the 2010 Sette7anni Riserva, 14.5% alcohol.  The wine is called Sette7anni because the wine spent seven years in wood before being bottled.  Initial reaction was a quite hard nose.  After some swirling of the wine, there was a small off scent that quickly blew off.  Mouth is quite nice, smooth, light tannins, ready to drink but it should last another five years in your cellar.  Euro 59 a bottle, purchased for our cellar.

15 March 2020  We opened a bottle of the Sette7anni Riserva for lunch today.  Referencing the information when we tasted it the first time, the nose was not there but gradually appeared as the wine was in the glass.  The mouth is light with the tannins appearing only during the last ten minutes of the bottle.  For most of the time, the acids had the stage.  The wine was served with porcini and bean soup and pasta with hearts of carciofi, green olives capers and burro with Pecorino Romano grated on it.
We think that we will go back to the original idea that it might need five years.  We will not be in a rush to open the last bottle that we have.  Give it time, you will not be sorry.

13 December 2020  As mentioned previously, we have a problem that most of our bottles of Barolo are a long way from being ready to drink.  So, a little sooner than we would have liked, we opened the last bottle we have of the Sette7anni Riserva for lunch today.  The main course was Natalya's pirogi of chicken breast and porcini mushrooms.  A very good match.  Wine can be drank now or give it another year.  It is quite good!!

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