|~ Vineyards at Poderi Aldo Conterno ~|
It’s hard to believe that the wine world has been without Aldo Conterno for almost three years now. Having once met the man, and subsequently his son, I can say personally that I still feel a void in Barolo that simply will not ever be filled. Shortly after his death, I penned a tribute article to the Lion of Barolo that is still one of the most popular on these pages.
Aldo Conterno’s story begins in the late 1940’s, when his uncle requested that Aldo join him in San Francisco to help him begin a winery there. Since Aldo’s older brother was available to help their father in Piedmont, Aldo eagerly accepted. Life quickly intervened and with the out break of the Korean War, Aldo was drafted by the US Army and sent to Korea. While away serving, his uncle died, and with him, Aldo’s dream of making wine in the Napa Valley. After his service, he returned home to Italy to join the family business in Piedmont. When Aldo’s father Giacomo retired in 1961, he left the business to his two sons, Aldo and Giovanni. However, a difference in winemaking styles caused a philosophical rift between the brothers resulting in Aldo founding his own estate.
|~ Aldo Conterno 1931-2012 ~|
I’ve long admired and enjoyed Aldo’s wines; and since I like my Barolo with lots of bottle aging, and so most of my reviews on the subject will appear in these pages as CellarNotes®. Recently, we opened the 1995 Barolo Bussia with mushroom risotto and grilled veal chops drizzled with truffle oil. It was sublime.
Being familiar with Conterno’s wines and knowing full well the amount of sediment that had formed, I carefully decanted the wine 90 minutes before dinner. The crust and sediment removed were so voluminous that it clogged my funnel at one point.
The color is still a brilliant shimmering ruby with violet reflections and belies its age as a 20 year old wine. Fantastic aromas greet the taster in harmony. Ripe crushed cherries, mushroom, hazelnut, dried tobacco, incense and delicate floral notes are seamless. On the palate the wine is maturing beautifully. Notes of mushroom, cherry, anise, cured meat, and rosemary are gorgeous and woven together like silk. Balance is achieved with acids and tannins nearing perfection. While definitely drinking wonderfully now, this has plenty of life ahead of it for those willing to wait. Simply an outstanding treat. 96 points, about $45 retail on release. Current vintages sell for about $65.
|~ You can really note the vibrant color in this image. 20 years old and it looks half that! ~|
Riposa in Pace Leone.
March 12, 2015