Paolo Conterno Riva del Bric Barolo
In the glass, it’s a deep garnet red moving to a pink/brick orange rim, bursting from the glass with aromas of cherry kirsch, black raspberry, blood orange, licorice, cedar, tobacco, leather, and a touch of sweet baking spice.
It’s a robust wine but the tannins are very fine: There’s no forbidding ‘edge’ at this youthful stage but it is clearly structured for the long haul in the cellar.
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Since Paolo Conterno created the “Casa della Ginestra” in 1886, the family hasn’t moved from that same, special spot. They note that Paolo was among the first producers in Barolo to sell his wines in barrel directly from his cellar, rather than work with the large local négociants of the time.
Many years later, it’s fourth-generation Giorgio Conterno at the helm, producing wines which, for me, are a seamless melding of the traditional and modern. The wines are aged in large, used casks, but they’re built from French, rather than Slavonian, oak; there’s a cleanliness and polish to the Barolos but a clear chord of minerality and savor as well; and they are rich and substantial in texture, rather than lean and angular.