Giacomo Conterno   Barolo Riserva Monfortino

2004 Barolo Riserva Monfortino

By Giacomo Conterno

2004 Barolo Riserva Monfortino from Giacomo Conterno, Italy

Breathing new life into the rich tapestry of fine wines from Italy, the 2004 Barolo Riserva Monfortino from Giacomo Conterno embodies a fascinating story of viticulture, climate, and finessed craftsmanship. Drawing from four decades of astute wine discourse, I invite you to explore the layers and allure of this game-changing vintage.


A harmony of paradoxes, the quintessential investment

One of the beauties in wine investment is uncovering bottles that display remarkable evolution over time. Astonishingly, the 2004 Barolo Riserva Monfortino is such a wine. This formidable year presented a veritable orchestra of climatic elements: an incredibly mild winter, disrupted by an erratic summer that played out in full concert with bursts of sun, cloud covers, and gentle rains.

Only producers with heartfelt commitment to their craft succeeded in taming this paradox of climate. One certainly gains respect for Giacomo Conterno's work upon witnessing how he seduced such elegance from the ever capricious Nebbiolo grape.


Sublime elegance via serene patience

The 2004 vintage demanded nothing short of serenity and patience from its maker. What emerged was a redolent tableau of dark berries, forest floor, tobacco, and camphor in stark contrast to the sweetly polished tannins that lend structure on the palate.

An extended ageing regime resulted in an expanse of complex notes – black cherries dancing alongside inky graphite hints while mingling with a whiff of roses and liquorice charm. Distinctly unique yet unmistakably Nebbiolo.

In the vast array of Italian fine wines, the 2004 Barolo Riserva Monfortino stands as a testament to Giacomo Conterno's dedication to maintaining timeworn traditions while embracing the serendipities nature invariably offers.

Investors eager for a wine that captures essence and experience should rightly covet this vintage. A timeless choice, indeed.

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The 2004 Barolo Riserva Monfortino is drop-dead gorgeous. I have tasted the wine multiple times from barrel and three times from bottle and never been anything less than blown away. The 2004 is a subtle, layered Monfortino that captures the sheer elegance and finesse of this great vintage. It is sweet, perfumed, silky and utterly mind-blowing. From barrel it has always been a 100 point wine, but it has just been bottled and naturally a bit closed in on itself. Still, with some time in the glass its silky, perfumed fruit and dazzling class come to life. The 2004 is remarkably harmonious for such a young wine. Readers will have much fun debating which is the greatest Monfortino of recent years. Could it be the 1996, 1999 or 2002 for their huge structure and classicism? Or, is it the 1997 for its opulence? What if the dark horse 1998 and 2000 steal the show? Personally, I adore the 2001 and 2004 for their completeness, but the 2004 is the sexiest of them all. Sadly, 2004 is also the year Giovanni Conterno passed away, but one can’t escape the feeling his spirit lives in this wine. Kudos to Roberto Conterno and his team for this magnificent, thrilling Barolo. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2044. The drive from Barolo to Monforte was a little different this year. Peering across the valley over the hillside where the Conterno winery sits, the observant eye will notice a number of large barrels outside the main building. Roberto Conterno had no choice but to replace a number of his casks this year as the staves had begun to bend from many years of use, and Conterno was understandably afraid of the unthinkable, that the casks could finally yield to old age full of wine. Still, he was clearly upset by having to replace barrels that he personally moved into the new winery with his father during the summer of 1985. Just to think of the wines that were racked during that move. The 1978, 1979 and 1982 Monfortini were still in cask. To be honest, seeing the empty space in the winery as the new casks were about to arrive was quite a shock. The wines, however, were not. I tasted all of the wines currently in cask plus the new releases from bottle. My high expectations were easily surpassed. Conterno fans have a lot to look forward to. Roberto Conterno has decided to give his new Nebbiolo from the Cerretta vineyard another year in barrel. At the moment Conterno is leaning towards releasing the 2009 as a Langhe Nebbiolo rather than Barolo, although that could always change. Readers who want to learn more about the 2011 harvest at Conterno may want to take a look at my video interview with Roberto Conterno. Importers: Polaner Selections, Mt. Kisco, NY; tel. (914) 244-0404, The Rare Wine Co., Sonoma, CA; tel. (707) 996-4484

Antonio Galloni - The Wine Advocate, 30 October 2011

Vintage performance