We know several Conternos’ in Barolo, but we had never heard of Diego Conterno before, but their 2011 barolo is actually very good and simply adds to the quite long line that stands out in the 2011 vintage of traditional baroli from Monforte d’Alba in this case and its neighbouring area, Serralunga d’Alba. After a quick search on the net, it turns out that this is one of the cousins that started up the estate Conterno Fantino, who still makes overly modern and pointlessly, market-pleasing and insanely, oaky baroli had us worried at first, but fortunately this wine was no such wine. Diego and his son Stefano appear to be worshipping their lands and work traditionally including long extraction and neutral barrels; which is fine music to our ears as long as you do everything right in the vineyard and conduct meticulous selection of grapes. We just had to compare it to the fabulous vintage 2010 that is still around.
Typical rubber rain coat on the nose, obvious glycerine, beeswax, Asian spices, nutmeg and subtle tar hits the nose directly after opening the bottle, but much later, after several hours of decanting, a complex, compelling and fragrant nose of rose petals, white lilies, cardamon and green curry arrives to the scene.
A fresh, balsamic acidity wrapping dried honey and minerals is very good in here and lifts it all. Sweet, racy and ripe blue- and red fruit, notes of newly cut ginger, anise seeds, fennel, cinnamon, and chalky, dark minerals infused with delicate metals. In addition, some pleasant notes of chewing tobacco as well. Still this is slender bodied, but with high concentration, authority and some precision. However, its backsides are tannins, even though they are smooth and soft, that appear somewhat separated from and outside of the rest and the fruit is unfortunately a little cooked in the heat and smudgy.
The nose on this wine alone is great and considering its youth, It has an unexpected elegancy and focus, but fruit is a little cooked and tannins not integrated well. Open now or wait until 2018 to let the tannins polymerise even more, but please be very observant to temperature; like many other barolo 2011s’, it surely needs its 18 degrees to show off its freshness.
On the nose, again, as with the 2011, glycerine, beeswax as well as obvious details and precision from dominating wild strawberries in this one, but the palate here also contains plum, blueberries and notes of blackberries. Some deep fruit and chalky minerals too, but overall the nose is overly subtle, less enchanting and subdued.
Very unexpectadily, it is diluted and volatile in an easy and perfect vintage. It is ok and price-worthy though and persistent. As expected, texture is better here than in 2011.