Tasting with Roberto Conterno at the Giacomo Conterno Winery

These tasting notes were the result of a remarkable visit to the Giacomo Conterno winery in June of 2018. Roberto was incredibly informative and very proud of his 2015’s, as he should be. The wines are showing a vibrancy and balance that isn’t found at many of the other estates I’ve visited. Keep in mind that this is a riper vintage, with heat waves in May and June, followed by a persistently warm July with little rainfall. The saving grace for 2015 were the months of August and September, yet the resulting wines are often luminous with sweet ripe fruits.  While this is a style that many critics, and a good deal of consumers will love–It will not be the classic year that most Barolo collectors crave.

However, in Roberto’s wines you don’t find this ripeness, instead they are pure, lifted, complete and perfectly balanced. It was also extremely exciting to taste two separate barrels from the Arione vineyard, one which may end up blended into the 2015 Monfortino. What’s more, I was able to clear up the rumor that has been circulating around Monfortino and Barolo Francia, where people have been speculating that new vintages will either be all Monfortino, or all Barolo Francia. In fact, this was only a coincidence in 2013 and 2014, where Roberto loved each of the barrels so much that he deemed them all Monfortino. Going forward, the production of both wines will continue as they always have.

In closing, there’s a lot to get excited about in the Giacomo Conterno cellar.

  • Since everything we tasted was from barrel, I have declined posting final scores. Instead, my ranges can be found in the tasting notes.
On To The Tasting Notes

2017 Giacomo Conterno Barbera d’Alba Francia – (Barrel Sample) Here I found a display of intense dark red berry fruit offset by minerals, and sweet, haunting florals. On the palate, it was so juicy and primary, as masses of red fruits and sweet spice permeated the senses. It finished on freshness, even with its drink-me-now personality. I wonder if collectors of this wine will be able to keep their hands off long enough to watch the 2017 mature. Simply gorgeous. (93-95 points)

2015 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cerretta – (Barrel Sample) The nose showed sweet spices up front, like Christmas with medicinal cherry, as balsamic and sweet herbal tones developed. On the palate, I found a tense, young adolescent of a wine, with mineral-infused dark red fruits offset by zesty acidity. It finished long and tannic, gripping the senses and leaving hints of dried berries and leathery spice. (94-95 points)

2015 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Arione – (Barrel Sample 1) The 2015 Arione Barolo was so pretty and lifted with exotic florals giving way to spicy minerals and hints of tobacco. On the palate, I found a tense, high toned expression of fruit, with supporting earth and mineral tones. The finish was long with grippy tannins, lasting minerality and inner florals which seemed to go on for days. This was such a beautiful and unique expression from the barrel that may end up blended into Monfortino. (94-96 points)

2015 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Francia – (Barrel Sample) Here I found a dark, inward expression with floral infused fruit, orange peel, sweet spice, minerals and dusty earth. On the palate, tension ruled the day, with sour red fruits, dark inner florals and minerals, as a coating of fine tannin settled on the senses. It finished structured yet refined as dark red fruits and inner floral tones lasted long. (94-96 points)

2015 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Arione – (Barrel Sample 2, which may be blended into Monfortino) The bouquet was amazing with exotic florals, marine-inspired minerality, masses of black cherry, orange peel, and sweet and savory herbs. On the palate, I found a sweet, rich, yet structured expression of spiced red fruits, with dark minerality and spice; all the while remaining energetic and pure. The finish was long with incredibly pure lasting red berries, florals and spice. I can see why Roberto loves this barrel of Arione so much. I can’t decide if I’d rather this be blended as Monrfortino or Arione because it is so compelling. (97-98 points)

2015 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino – (Barrel Sample) The nose was incredibly floral and layered, showing red berries, minerals, dusty earth, cedar, and sweet spice. On the palate, I found a complex and full-bodied expression with wonderfully balanced acids, as tart red berry fruits gave way to notes of cedar with inner floral tones, and sweet and savory spice. It finished incredibly long and structured with mounting tannin clenching the senses as dried berry and autumnal wood and spice tones lingered. Incredible. Roberto has really mastered the raw ingredients in 2015 to create a selection of stunning wines. (97-99 points)

Article, Tasting Notes and Photos by Eric Guido

The Wines of Giacomo Conterno can be found at: Morrell Wine and Spirits