94 Points, Antonio Galloni, The Wine Advocate, 27th February 2010
In this context, the 1990 Barolo Riserva Monfortino is almost too much. While the 1990 Cascina Francia delivers tons of pleasure, the 1990 Monfortino is still years away from offering its finest drinking. Still, this breathtaking Barolo is a pleasure to drink for its round fruit and long, powerful finish. It is exceptional in every way. Here the fruit is quite a bit darker in tonality than the Cascina Francia, with mesmerizing layers of mocha, leather, licorice and tobacco that develop in the glass and add further complexity. This is a marvelous effort from Conterno, but it will require the patience of a saint. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2050.
Giovanni Conterno was one of the icons of his generation. These three Barolos are some of Conterno’s finest achievements in a distinguished career that was cut tragically short in 2004. Conterno was among the first growers to recognize that owning his own vineyards would ultimately allow for greater control over the quality of his fruit, a forward-thinking view at a time when Piedmont was dominated by a negociant culture of large bottlers who bought grapes and wine in bulk from smaller properties. In 1974 Conterno spent a princely sum to acquire Cascina Francia, the vineyard that would become the exclusive source for his Barolos. Cascina Francia, a high-altitude monopole in the village of Serralunga, is typically one of the last vineyards in the Barolo region to be harvested. Conterno’s epic Barolo Riserva Monfortino, arguably the single most important wine made in Italy, is a selection of plots within the vineyard. The exact source of the fruit can vary from year to year, but Monfortino is only made in the finest vintages. Both Conterno Barolos are vinified along rigorously traditional methods, with long fermentations and extended aging in oak that reaches seven years (sometimes more) for the Monfortino. These are reference-point bottles for readers who seek to understand the genius of one of Piedmont’s truly legendary producers.