The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Aldo Conterno and…Aldo Conterno!

Posted on | July 6, 2015 | Written by David Gwo | No Comments

David Gwo 12.8.14Aldo Conterno is a name that you hear regularly from IWM. That’s because the late Aldo Conterno ranks among the most influential winemakers in Piedmont’s history. Aldo Conterno was the son of Giacomo Conterno, another great namesake, and brother to Giovanni Conterno. While Giovanni chose to uphold the Giacomo Conterno legacy and continue to make the wines of his father, Aldo wanted to see what he could do by incorporating aspects of modern winemaking, and he parted ways to found his own estate.

We describe Aldo Conterno’s style as an intermingling of the traditional and the modern. While he didn’t completely dismiss the teachings of his father and the traditional school, he did incorporate some modern winemaking techniques into the production of his wines. The result are Barolos that have the powerful structure reminiscent of traditional style, but matched by an enhanced expression of fruit that is characteristic of modern style wines.

The two wines featured here today are a great introduction to the wines of Aldo Conterno. The first doesn’t feature the region’s famed Nebbiolo, but rather Barbera, the grape that makes the everyday wine of the Piedmontese. The second selection does feature Nebbiolo, but it’s a younger-drinking version that will give you an idea of what Aldo’s Barolos are all about!

Poderi Aldo Conterno 2011 Conca Tre Pile Barbera d’Alba $38.99

Let’s forget about the majestic Nebbiolo for a minute and turn our heads towards Piedmont’s most planted red grape—Barbera. About half of the vineyards in this region are dedicated to this grape, but people often forget that Barbera is what Piedmontese natives regularly enjoy at the dinner table. What makes Barbera so appealing is that it’s an ideal food wine. When you pour it, the wine has a really dark color and you’d think that it’d be really heavy and full-bodied, but it’s not. Barbera is actually a light to medium-bodied red with softer tannins, but high acidity, which is a key component when pairing with food. On the nose and palate the Conca Tre Pile presents notes of black fruits, wildflowers, minerals, and spice.

Poderi Aldo Conterno 2011 Langhe Nebbiolo Il Favot $64.99

This wine is 100% Nebbiolo, just like Barolo or Barbaresco, except the fruit used to produce the wine comes from younger vines and sees less oak aging. This results in a wine made for near-term enjoyment, rather than 10 years down the road. Langhe Nebbiolos usually yield softer tannins and a tad less depth and concentration than their Barolo counterparts. However, with the single-vineyard Il Favot, this is hardly the case. This wine has all of the aromatic and flavor characteristics of Barolo, but it’s softer on the palate and an absolute pleasure to enjoy now. Dark fruits, violets, and a hint of tar in a med-full-bodied frame that’s backed by perceptible tannins and vibrant acidity.

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