The Fine Wine Lectures – Barolo Masterclass – 17/10/14
The latest installment of The Fine Wine Lectures featured a horizontal tasting of 5 Barolo from the 2006 vintage, and the 1997 Sori Ginestra from Conterno Fantino. It proved to be a stellar line up with wines selected to demonstrate the differences between the various top crus of Barolo, as well as different winemaking styles.
We started with the Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo 2006. One of the most famous families in Barolo, we had 3 wines in this tasting from the various Conterno family factions. The entrepreneurial spirit of Aldo Conterno caused him to break away from the original family estate in 1969 and set up his own winery, now managed by his 3 sons, Franco, Stefano and Giacomo. Aldo’s winemaking philosophies differed somewhat from his brother’s, Giovanni, who took over the helm at their father’s estate Giacomo Conterno, now run by Giovanni’s son Roberto. Both wineries are considered to be two of the top estates in Barolo.
The Barolo 2006 was certainly the most good value and drinkable wine of the tasting. With lovely rounded fruit, cranberries and plums, a touch of tar and some mineral character, it had lovely smooth, very fine- grained tannins and great balance and texture. A very drinkable wine to drink now and over the next few years. 17.5
Next up was Poderi Einaudi Barolo Cannubi 2006. Cannubi is one of the most highly regarded cru vineyards of Barolo, located in the heart of Barolo. This displayed dried red fruits, balsamic notes, pine and menthol. The tannins, however, were a bit dry with not enough fruit concentration to back them up. The finish was a touch short. The least favourite wine of the day. 16.5
Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia 2006 is made in the traditional style of Barolo: extended oak aging in old oak as opposed to shorter maceration and shorter time spent in new French oak barriques. The Francia vineyard is located in the very south of Serralunga d’Alba, and is considered to be one of Barolos top crus. The less fertile sandstone soils of Serralunga d’Alba tend to produce more intense, structured wines than those in Barolo and La Morra, which have richer, calcareous marl soils and produce wines which are slightly softer, more aromatic and fruity.
Only made in exceptional vintages, the Cascina Francia was the winner for me for the evening. Very savoury on both the nose and palate with notes of farmyard, mushroom and earth accompanied by some nice plum fruit and fruits of the forest. Incredibly fine tannins with lots of concentration and layer upon layer of complexity. A very long, savoury, contemplative finish. A stunning wine drinking fantastically now but can age for many more years. 18.5+
Massolino’s Barolo Vigna Ronda Reserva 2006, from another cru vineyard a bit further north in Serralunga d’Alba,is made in a more modern style with more new oak. Creamy black plum fruit with lots of liquorice spice, fine tannins, long and complex. Perhaps a touch oaky on the finish which would be my one criticism but otherwise delicious. A wine to keep for a number more years.18
Paolo Scavino Rocche dell’Annunziata Barolo Riserva 2006 comes from La Morra and was certainly one of the most aromatic wines of the evening. Unmistakable violet character with plums, balsamic notes and very fine yet grippy tannins. Still very young this has a long way ahead of it. Another favourite of the group. 18
Conterno Fantino Barolo Sori Ginestra 1997 was the piece de resistance in terms of tasting something a bit older which is always such a pleasure with Barolo. Located in Monteforte d’Alba, the Ginestra vineyard is the nucleus of the estate established in 1982 by great friends Guido Fantino and Claudio Conterno.
This was by far the most savoury of all the wines, with flavours of bouillon and beef stock, some dried red fruits coming through later with lovely fine tannins. A very long and complex wine drinking very nicely now but not to keep for much longer. 18+