The 2018 Barolo Francia is powerful, deep and also a touch austere. It shows the edginess of all the 2018s, but also has a feeling of textural creaminess that adds tons of character. Spice, menthol, leather and a whole range of balsamic overtones build into the deep, imposing finish. Roberto Conterno decided to forego his Barolo Monfortino in 2018, opting instead to blend all the casks into his Francia bottling. When that happens, Francia often surprises down the road. That could very well turn out to be the case here.
Anticipated maturity: 2024-2043
Robert Parker 96
Of the three Barolo samples I tasted from barrel (including Arione and Cerretta, which are also from Serralunga d’Alba), the Giacomo Conterno 2018 Barolo Francia was the furthest behind and the hardest to pin down at this stage in its infancy. I have opened my range of scores accordingly to compensate for the magical unknowns that are likely to occur as the wine moves toward greater harmony and integration before its commercial release. The wine is linear and pointedly focused, lacking the width and volume it will gain when given more time to flesh out and relax. The aromas are also quite primary and simple at this point, with dark cherry and even a hint of ripe strawberry ceding gradually to grilled herb, blue flower and baked brick. This vintage of Barolo Francia will require patience.
Anticipated maturity: 2027-2055