Giorgio Conterno of Paolo Conterno blew our minds with his brilliant, classically styled expressions of the Ginestra cru of Monforte d'Alba, which is considered by many to be one the finest vineyards in the entire Barolo appellation. Its relatively high elevation of 300-350 meters above sea level combine with the dense, clay-heavy Helvetian soil to create masterpiece wines with dark colors, brooding tannins and incredible aromatics. Paolo's neighbors are well known to our market – Clerico, Conterno-Fantino, Elio Grasso--but now it's time for this Conterno to step onto the stage. Like most MSW estates, Conterno is a family operation with a long history of great winemaking. Paolo Conterno founded Casa della Ginestra in 1886 and was one of the first growers to sell barrels of wine directly to consumers from the cellar. By the time negociants were dominating the market in the mid-20th century, Paolo already had a loyal following of connoisseurs demanding his wines. The estate has always preferred classically styled wines--there are barriques on property, but are only used when there's too much wine to fill his 35 hectoliter casks. We first heard about this estate through Marc de Grazia: one of Domenico Clerico's trusted disciples, Massimo Conterno (no relation), had moved there in 2004 to give Giorgio Conterno a hand in winemaking. The results are what's in stock today: classically-styled examples of Ginestra's excellence with laser pure perfumes, great balance, approachability AND long potential for aging.
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