Giacomo Conterno   Barolo Riserva Monfortino

1997 Barolo Riserva Monfortino

By Giacomo Conterno

The 1997 Barolo Riserva Monfortino from Giacomo Conterno

Emerging into the light of our cellar this week, the 1997 Barolo Riserva Monfortino from Giacomo Conterno embraced a supremely auspicious vintage characterized by an exceptional harmony of climatic factors that led to an unparalleled leap in quality. The temperate summer followed by a warm autumnal period showered the land with the gentle, perfect maturation yielding grapes of potent power and richness - not often seen in this region.


Majesty reflected in every drop

Giacomo Conterno's meticulous dedication to his craft indeed shines through in the 1997 Barolo Riserva Monfortino. The structured display of nebbiolo's fierce tannins and high acidity paints a bewitching tapestry of intensity and longevity. Compositions of dark cherry, dried rose, licorice, accompanied by undertones of earthy truffles strike an intricately majestic balance.

This fine wine from Italy is proof that patience yields wonders. As it surrenders to the years tucked away in the silent cellars, each bottle evolves, growing more regal and stately, becoming a venerable testament to the transformative magic of time.


Wine investments worthy of note

The unpredictability of wine vintages often poses a challenge for potential investors. Yet, fine wines like the 1997 Barolo Riserva Monfortino from Giacomo Conterno can serve not merely as a novel investment but as a reward for your patience and appreciation for time's blessing.

The 1997 Giacomo Conterno’s Monfortino is famed for its complexity, richness, and longevity - it’s these key qualities that mark it as an ideal fine wine for investment. A legacy of Piemontese enology, which not only fascinates connoisseurs but also garners attention from astute investors, looking to enhance their portfolios with crucial vintages from Italy’s pinnacle producers.

Enthralling, intriguing and inspiring, this wine’s true value will be revealed in the years to come - a testament to the enduring allure of fine Italian wines and the perennial artistry of Giacomo Conterno.

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Scores and tasting notes


The 1997 Barolo Riserva Monfortino might be considered Giovanni Conterno’s monument, the greatest ever made in a series which goes back all the way to the 1950s. Enormously full and ripe, layered and textured with a richness which is almost indescribable, it truly has it all, the rose petals, tar, and licorice of the nose, the succulent density of the flavors, the endless finish which rises to a crescendo of sensual authority. Strangely enough, it is already approachable, even if it will undoubtedly be good for another quarter of a century. A last piece of good news is that the 1996 version of this wine, a work of art which seemed hewn out of granite, is finally beginning to soften, open up, and show its austere magnificence. Unlike the 1997, it is a wine I would not touch for another ten years but, as in the fable of the tortoise and the hare, it is entirely possible that the former beast will win the race. It’s something of an eerie feeling to walk into this cellar and not be greeted by Giovanni Conterno, who left us for the big vineyard in the sky at the end of 2004. Nothing to worry about, however, other than a keen sense of regret for the loss of this historic figure – his son Roberto, who worked with his father for over fifteen years, is fully in charge and produced spectacularly promising wines on his own in the 2004 vintage. The house is not particularly known for its Barbera, but it is easily one of the best in the traditional style – aged in casks, not barrels – on the market. Importer: Doug Polaner, Polaner Selections, Mt. Kisco, NY; tel. (914) 244-0404

Daniel Thomases - The Wine Advocate, 28 August 2005

Vintage performance