Giacomo Conterno Monfortino Barolo Riserva is unequivocally the acme of Piedmont, both in terms of global cachet, critical acclaim and price. It must be considered in the same breath as Petrus, Screaming Eagle, Masseto and Romanee Conti. It also has the smallest average production of any of these, producing less than 580 cases a year, but unlike the others, it is only produced in great vintages. Single vineyard Barolo in general shadows the tiny production and fragmented vineyard holdings seen in Grand Cru Burgundy. Its ability to age, together with it’s aromatic profile, tell a similar story to the leading Burgundian wines. As such, leading wines of Barolo are extremely investible, foremost of all, Giacomo Conterno Monfortino Riserva. In fact, the average secondary market price of all trading vintages of Monfortino Riserva has increased 108% since January 2013, returning an average of 1.27% month on month. Only released in great vintages, this global powerhouse has produced potentially it greatest ever vintage in 2010, with another perfect score, with 100 points from the Wine Advocate and Vinous Media. The only thing rarer in Barolo than Monfortino cases is magnums and we have been buying up the market in order to do an exciting magnum offer. Magnums of Monfortino are rarer than hen’s teeth and the 2010 promising to be the greatest ever, securing a magnum within its own casing is a real prize, with short and long-term upside. It also promises to be considered as one of the finest wines produced in the last 100 years, if you wait twenty years, this could be one of the most joyous wines you ever taste. We are delighted to offer these today at £2,250 per magnum.
In her recent tasting note, which awards a perfect score, Monica Larner says, ‘The bouquet offers an immediate curtain-raiser with chiseled aromas of wild berry, licorice, white truffle and tar.’ Antonio Galloni also awards it a straight 100 points, we don’t normally include long tasting notes but this is a good use of ink. ‘Conterno’s 2010 Barolo Riserva Monfortino is shaping up to be a modern-day legend, and I say that having very recently enjoyed perfect bottles of the 1947, 1955, 1961, 1971, 1978, 1982, 1999 and 2002, among others… There is no real need to taste the 2010, as the aromas alone are captivating… With time in the glass, a darker range of smoke, iron, tar, tobacco and new leather come to the fore. As great as a Grand Cru Burgundy, First Growth Bordeaux or top-flight Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2010 is a towering, majestic Monfortino that will thrill readers for decades… so it may be a while before the 2010 sees the light of day. When it does, the 2010 will make an eloquent case for itself among the greatest Monfortinos ever made.’ As a result, the 2010 has seen feverish demand already, with collectors very eager to own what is being touted as potentially their greatest ever. Just as with Romanee Conti, the miniscule production cannot fulfil global demand, market mechanics that make the 2010 vintage highly investible.
The inception of Catine Giacomo Conterno began in 1920 when Giovanni Conterno returned from the First World War. His family could track their vinicultural roots back to the 18th century and even then, they were considered one of the smallest Barolo producers to bottle their own wine; at the time, the norm was to sell one’s wears in cask or demijohn. Giovanni Conterno died in 1934, when Giacomo Conterno created Monfortino, the principle Barolo, designed not to be drunk for decades. It was named after Monfortino, their home village of Monforte d’Alba. The progeny was that the normale and riserva were produced from grapes bought from local farmers, under the motto that the wine must be undrinkable after bottling, only after a minimum of twenty years should it be opened: the 2010 has a drinking window until 1960!
Giacomo’s sons Giovanni and Aldo Conterno took over the running of the Estate in 1961, with Giovanni responsible for winemaking, from 1959. In 1969 the two brothers had a disagreement, leading to Aldo founding his own Estate, Poderi Aldo Conterno. This riven is representative of two styles that would dominate Barolo for half a century until today. Aldo’s wine embodied the modernist style, using small barriques, with less maceration, while Giovanni remained a purest until the end. In 1974 Giovanni Conterno extended the Estate by buying a vineyard in Serralunga called Cascina Francia. This ended the period of only buying grapes and the first vintage made from his own vineyard was in 1978, with Cascina Francia appearing on the label for the first time in 1980.
Giovanni’s son Roberto started to work with his father in 1988 and following Giovanni’s death in 2004, took over the reins. He has continued his family’s legacy, loyal to strict traditionalist methods. In 2008, Roberto purchased a vineyard in Serralunga’s Cerretta and in 2009 the first vintage was produced.
However, Monfortino Riserva remains the pinnacle of their art. Only considered in exceptional vintages the wine macerates on its skins for five weeks, with no temperature control, with incredible faith and loyalty derived from the truly great legacy this wine boasts. It is aged for seven years in bottle and with less than 500 cases produced in many vintages, makes too little for the domestic market, let alone the great global demand.
100 Points, Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate
‘The 2010 Barolo Riserva Monfortino is a perfect wine and there are few things I am more sure of in this life. This is an extraordinary creation that bursts from the glass with a level of distinct intensity and elegance that is nothing short of breathtaking. The wine literally evokes an emotional and deeply visceral reaction thanks to the lasting impression it makes on your heart, mind and gut. This Barolo opens to a delicate garnet color that is brightened with crystalline luminosity. The bouquet offers an immediate curtain-raiser with chiseled aromas of wild berry, licorice, white truffle and tar. That explosive start is followed by a mounting crescendo of complexity and nuance. The wine is extremely silky and polished in terms of mouthfeel and this helps to underline its impressive persistence. Bravo!’
100 Points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
‘Every bit as magnificent as it has always been from cask, the 2010 Barolo Riserva Monfortino is utterly compelling. Captivating aromatics make a strong first impression. Nuanced and vivid on the palate, the 2010 Monfortino possesses remarkable finesse and power. Classic Monfortino notes of dried rose petal, leather, licorice and incense develop beautifully in the glass as the wine literally takes hold of all the senses. When it was in cask the 2010 was quite structured, but in two tastings after its recent bottling the 2010 has been much more elegant. At times, the 2010 reminds me of the 2004, with perhaps a bit less aromatic intensity but more structure. On paper the 2010 is very high in tannin, and yet that is not the way it feels at all, at least not at this point in its life. A vivid, thrilling wine, the 2010 will soon take its place among the greatest Monfortinos ever made.’
Giacomo Conterno Monfortino, Barolo Riserva DOCG, 2010, 1×150 – £2,250 IB
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