Robert Parker 94
The 2003 Barolo Cascina Francia is a remarkable wine for the vintage. This deep, powerful Barolo reveals awesome richness and an almost liqueur-like quality to its fruit that is balanced by the chalky mineral notes that provide freshness on the finish and help convey an impression of notable balance. In 2003 there is no Monfortino, and the Cascina Francia surely benefits from the addition of that juice which is mostly felt in the wine’s depth. Resisting the temptation to harvest too early, Roberto Conterno waited until October 8 to start picking in his Cascina Francia vineyard, long after most producers had already brought the fruit in. He had the benefit of the late September rains that helped restore at least a little freshness to the fruit, and as a result his 2003 Cascina Francia doesn’t have the aggressive tannins that plague so many wines. Simply put, this is a stunning Barolo made all the more notable by the challenging conditions the vintage presented. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2023. This is another set of superb releases from Giacomo Conterno one of the bastions of traditionally made Barolos. While Conterno’s wines have often been profound, in recent vintages the estate has found another level of finesse that was sometimes missing in the wines. It is hard to say if that is because of a general trend towards warmer vintages, the estate’s focus on making just three wines, or small improvements in vineyard and cellar work, but the fact remains that over the past few vintages Roberto Conterno has produced the best and most consistently outstanding wines in his venerable firm’s long history. The wines he has in barrel amply confirm this very positive trend. Importers: Doug Polaner, Polaner Selections, Mt. Kisco, NY; tel. (914) 244-0404, The Rare Wine Co., Sonoma, CA; tel. (707) 996-4484
Anticipated maturity: 2009-2023
The 2003 Barolo Cascina Francia is soft, silky and very nicely balanced, especially in its tannins, where the wine really stands out next to so many peers. Readers should open the 2003 at least an hour in advance to allow the aromatics to open up. This is a very sexy and open young Barolo from Conterno with very little signs of the challenging growing season.
Anticipated maturity: 2014-2028