96 points - Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, October 2012
A rich, sensual tapestry of dark plums, cherries, smoke, incense, tar and licorice emerges from the 2005 Barolo Riserva Monfortino. Exotic, rich and layered, the 2005 boasts gorgeous depth and a sensual enveloping personality. I am quite amazed at how the 2005 has developed since I last tasted it, in November 2011. The once-firm tannins have never been more elegant than they are today. That said, as good as the 2005 is, it doesn’t quite have the thrill factor of the very best vintages. Anticipated maturity: 2025-2045. A stop at this historic cellar in the center of Monforte is always fascinating, as no one keeps Barolo longer in cask than Roberto Conterno, giving the visitor a chance to taste numerous wines all in various stages of their maturation. If forced to pick a favorite recent vintage, I would vote for 2010, a year in which all of the wines are fabulous. Next would be 2008 and 2006, two super-classic years. Robero Conterno is by far the most enlightened of the traditional producers in Barolo. I don’t think too many producers taste their wines as often as Roberto Conterno does, but what really separates Conterno from the overwhelming majority of his peers is his intense intellectual curiosity about the world’s great wines. The Conterno wines remain traditional in interpretation, but they are also clearly the work of a winemaker living in his time and not the past. This set of new releases is full of highlights, but the Barbera from Conterno’s Cerretta vineyard is particularly of note because it is the most improved wine in the lineup. When Conterno purchased this plot in 2008, he told me it would take 2-3 years to get the vineyard into top shape. When I asked him recently where he was in that process, the answer was, “Ninety percent.” Readers should note that the two flagship Baroli, Cascina Francia and Monfortino, were especially shut down every time I tasted them this past summer. Conterno bottled a month earlier than normal this year, and I think that is the reason the wines were particularly impenetrable. Readers may also want to take a look at my previous reviews, based on barrel samples, for greater context.
- Antonio Galloni