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The Gold Standard

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You can take the gold. I’ll stick to Giacosa as my gold standard.

1978 and 1989 Collina Rionda Riserva                                                                                                                    

The Collina Rionda 1978 and 1989 are the greatest Italian wines I have tasted, on a par or superior in every regard to any other very fancy wine I’ve been lucky enough to try. Whatever your wine preferences, it makes sense that the Giacosa wines are now getting closer in price to Roumier, or to the DRC (the price of La Tache, that is; Romanee-Conti is at least 3 times the highest Giacosa). In this case the provenance is both impeccable and, thanks to the owner’s amazingly generous nature, very well tested on multiple occasions. I’m an optimist by nature, but a solid case of 1989 Rionda is not something I expect to see again. I hope someone we know has won some lottery or other so that they can take advantage of it.

The red labels are generally at least spectacular – but just about any Giacosa from the last century is a very special wine. This is not exactly a secret, nor is the quality of the Conterno’s offered here.

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Conterno, Giacomo 1999 Barolo Riserva Monfortino

Decanted for 5 hours: pale rim, nice bright core; the nose floral, tar and cocoa — tight; on the palate ripe black cherry, tannic / chewy, dense — lots of extract; very full bodied but balanced; great finish — a burst of fruit at the end that reminds me of the La Tache ‘peacock’s tail’ — at any rate a rare phenomenon. After 72 hours: the wine has really opened up — all of the elements are more evident; it all marries together beautifully — this is clearly a great wine — one for the record books. JW

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