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20 August 2021

Aldo Conterno – The evolution of a family passion

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Tagged: Closer Look

The roots of Poderi di Aldo Conterno stretch deep into the history of the region. The Conterno family have been producing wine near the Monforte d’Alba village since the 19th century, but it was Aldo’s father, Giacomo Conterno, that helped forward Barolo wines’ reputation, achieving critical acclaim in the 1920s with his first bottling of Monfortino.

Aldo and his brother Giovanni inherited the family estate (Giacomo Conterno) in 1961 but Aldo soon decided to branch out on his own. Aldo had spent a few years in the US and came back with new ideas on winemaking which led to ‘artistic’ differences with his brother over the best way to turn the Nebbiolo grape into something magnificent. Hence, Poderi di Aldo Conterno was born in 1969.

While Giovanni remained committed to the strict traditionalist methods, Aldo’s philosophy allowed room for some evolution of various methods. Although still very ‘traditional’ in most respects, such as long oak ageing, Aldo reduced the level of tannins in the wines and made other small modernizations that focused on getting the best out of their excellent terroirs.

After Aldo passed away in 2012, his sons Franco, Stefano and Giacomo took the reins. The Conterno brothers pay close attention to the environment and their vineyard’s health by avoiding use of fertilizers or herbicides (only copper and sulfur are allowed). They also do not clarify or filter their red wines. These methods produce distinct wines that exemplify the character of what are some of the best vineyards in the Langhe region rather than any particular wine market fashion.

The global appeal of Aldo Conterno wines

Poderi Aldo Conterno wines have been part of the rapid rise of Barolo in recent years. Many of their wines have outperformed the wider Italy market (see below chart), which has itself posted some of the best regional returns over the past five years. Poderi Aldo Conterno wines continue to enjoy huge followings in the important US and Asia markets, meaning their investment potential remains robust as the wine itself. 

Strong performance of Aldo Conterno, Barolo Colonello

Select vintages price performance July 2016 – July 2021

aldo coterno updated

Source: Liv-ex as of 31 July 2021

At the top of the Aldo Conterno range is the ‘Gran Bussia’ wine, which blends grapes from all three of the family’s crus. The wines spend more than 30 months in oak casks and then six years ageing in bottle, resulting in a luxuriously smooth classic Barolo wine.

Aldo Conterno also bottles three single-vineyard wines from the ‘cru’ sites: Cicala, Colonnello, and Romirasco. These exceptional wines have gained strong followings and posted notable price growth in recent years. Aldo Conterno also makes an often-underappreciated Barolo Bussia blend as well as several other quality wines including a Barbera and a Chardonnay.