Deep red in colour with a purple sheen. The fine nose shows floral and herbaceous notes with subtle red fruits. With its supple tannins, great depth, lovely intensity of flavour and a touch of minerality, this Barolo is a classic example of the Nebbiolo grape at its best.
The 2011 vintage will be remembered as unconventional, with its very early harvest and low yields in the vineyard. The winter was regular in terms of both temperatures and rainfall, with the latter intensifying in March and providing a good supply of water to the soil. High temperatures in April brought the start of the growth season forward. The first stages of vegetative development occurred at least two weeks earlier than usual. Between the end of June and the beginning of July, average daily temperatures were not particularly high, around 22°C, though this did not slow down the physiological development of the vine. Very high temperatures were recorded during August, causing a loss in weight in the fruit. Rainfall in the first week of September was providential and, combined with the lowering of night-time temperatures, allowed excellent balance in the phenolic components of the grapes. The Nebbiolo grapes arrived at the winery with all the properties sought after in the great wines of this region.
Temperature controlled fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks with temperatures around 30°C. Maceration on the skins and fermentation lasted five to six weeks. The wine remained in stainless steel for a further three to five months after which it was transferred to large Slavonian oak barrels where it remained for 26 months before bottling.
Aldo Conterno is one of the historic names of Italian wine. The Conterno family has been making wine in Monforte since at least the 1700s. Aldo's grandfather, Giovannni Conterno, founded his own winery in 1908 which was then run by his son, Giacomo. After a stint in the USA in the 1950s, Aldo worked with his older brother Giovanni in this winery until he decided to strike out on his own in 1969. Aldo's three sons now make the wine (Stefano) and run the business (Franco and Giacomo). Over the years, production has been deliberately reduced and the family now produces 80,000 bottles rather than the 200,000 produced in 1998.
85% of the fruit for this Barolo comes from a selection of the best vineyards on the Bussia Soprana hill. The remaining 15% comes from a Conterno vineyard within the commune of Barolo, whose vines are at least 25 years old.
Barolo Cerretta, Luigi Baudana, Serralunga d'Alba
This small estate has just over 4 hectares of vineyard, all in the commune of Serralunga d'Alba. Their tiny cellar is situated in the village of Baudana, while their vineyards are primarily in the 'crus' of Baudana and the highly regarded Cerretta. After 30 years running the winery, and without heirs to take over the business, Luigi and Fiorina Baudana took the difficult decision to sell. As part of his research, Luigi visited the Vajra winery incognito one day, and was so impressed with the way they dealt with people and communicated their philosophy that he rang Aldo soon afterwards to ask if he would be interested in buying the estate. A deal was soon done, and the Vajra family have run this estate alongside Luigi and Fiorina ever since. The first vintage was 2009 and from then onwards we can see the true expression of the new Luiga Baudana.
In Cerretta, a top cru in Serralunga, the topsoil shows a very poor organic content. The consequent lack of superficial moisture forces the vine roots to dig deep into the ground. The subsoil is primarily formed by a mix of yellow sand and limestone, which date back to the Helvetian geological era.