1982 Giacomo Conterno Cascina Francia

3/19/2007 -

Offers like this do not come around very often so run, call, e-mail, send your significant other or do anything else remotely possible to get a bottle of this wine. Giacomo Conterno is arguably the top producer of traditional Barolo in Piedmont and 1982 is sometimes referred to as the last of the great old-school vintages in Piedmont. The next great vintage, 1985, saw much more modern technique used in the region and thus was the beginning of a new age in the Langhe for many producers (if not for Conterno). Conterno is known to age the Cascina Francia cuvèe for six years in cask and his Monfortino cuvèe for up to 10 years in cask! Obviously commercialism is not on his mind when it comes to making Barolo; the driving force behind the wine is to make the most authentic interpretation of Nebbiolo grown in the Cascina Francia vineyard.

The Cascina Francia vineyard located in Serralunga d'Alba (2nd largest Barolo producing village next to La Morra) which typically makes Barolo that is long-lived, intensely structured and incredibly rich. The flavors are typically licorice, tar, camphor and mint. The name Serralunga is a bastardization of the name sera longa which literally means "a long strip of land stretching across a hilltop" which is an apt visual description of this commune.

The 1982 Cascina Francia is drinking incredibly right now and is just classic old-school Barolo with dense rich fruit and the classic Barolo perfume. There is a tremendous ripeness to this wine but it is balanced by crisp acids and still has significant tannin left which bodes well for the future of this wine. I would not be surprised if this could go twenty more years as it definitely has the stuffing. This is a brilliant wine that should be in every serious Nebbiolo-lovers cellar, and this is a great opportunity to purchase it as the price is going only one way: up! This is extremely limited and is first-come first-served.

These bottles have impeccable provenance; the fills are perfect and there is little wear and tear on the labels. It is becoming increasingly harder and harder to find old vintages of traditional Barolo on the market since the wines have gone nuts at auction in the past three years as many collectors are anointing the great wines of the Langhe "collectible." This is a good thing and a bad thing: the wines are getting the attention they deserve but prices are going up and the wines are becoming scarcer.

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