The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: The Donnas and Giacomo Conterno

Posted on | December 8, 2015 | Written by Michael Adler | No Comments

Michael Adler 5.29.15Nebbiolo can vary greatly depending on where it grows and how it’s made. However variable, there is one constant: when placed in capable hands, it is always delicious. I’ve chosen two of my favorite Nebbiolo bottlings, one is an entry-level gem and the other one is of the most universally beloved and collected Italian wines.

Donnas ‘11 Valle d’Aosta Rosso comes from the bilingual French-Italian region of Vallee d’Aosta, way up north above Piemonte in the Alps, where the local name for Nebbiolo is Picotendro. This rugged, high-altitude region requires that vines grow on precarious terraces that have been cut into the granite and quartz soils of the mountainside. This dramatic landscape yields incredibly interesting wines that will surprise you with their outstanding quality-to-price ratio. At just $25, this wine really over-delivers.

In contrast to Donnas’ everyday wine stands 2009 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia, presented in magnum. Giacomo Conterno rests at the apex of Barolo production; the estate crafts some of the world’s very best and most age-worthy wines using only the most traditional methods, and it is dearly beloved by Italian wine aficionados everywhere. When it comes to collector Barolo intended for long-term aging, Giacomo Conterno is the alpha and omega.

Donnas 2011 Vallee d’Aosta Rosso $24.99

Dark and powerful but not dense or weighty, the ‘11 Donnas Valle d’Aosta Rosso offers a gorgeous nose of black fruit, minerals, roses and wood, all echoed on its medium-bodied, chewy palate. Velvety tannins grip the corners of your mouth before being softened by a pleasant and refreshing acidity. This is a wine made for immediate consumption and it greatly rewards its drinker. Pair it with just about anything—antipasti, cured meats and cheeses, pasta dishes, or roast game.

Giacomo Conterno 2009 Barolo Cascina Francia 1.5L $499.00

Serious wine-lovers know that it doesn’t get any better than a big bottle of Giacomo Conterno Barolo. This ‘09 Barolo Cascina Francia needs some time in the cellar in order to unleash its full potential, but it will continue to dazzle for another twenty to thirty years. Deeply complex, ethereal aromas of earth, truffle, rose petals, spice, dark berries and minerals wrap around this wine’s dense, tannic structure; it is an incredibly impressive wine, one that could only come from the iconic Giacomo Conterno estate. Serve it with anything involving truffles, and let yourself be carried away to flavor heaven!

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