Giacomo Conterno, "Cascina Francia", Barolo, Piemonte, 1998

If I had my wish, almost everything I drank would have upwards of 10 years on it already. I love the bouquet, perfume, and mellow aspect that comes with wines with a little age on them. This was no exception. Barolos and Barbarescos together (they’re made from the same Nebbiolo grape and the vineyards are only about 12 miles apart) are considered to be top wines of Italy. This particular bottling is by a very famous producer, from the “Cascina Francia” vineyard. It was a surprising color of pale, rather limpid ruby red. The aromas were fairly delicate with hints at tar, plums, and floral smells, and in the mouth it was almost ethereal, slipping down my throat almost too easily! Despite this, the “iron fist in a velvet glove” character did show itself a little bit. It had beautiful underlying red fruit, spice, and floral notes, and a slight earthy, truffly finish. It was not as “quietly powerful” as many other Barolos I’ve had, and for this reason it probably didn’t show as well with all of the other big wines around it. I would love to drink this wine, on its own, with a really good osso bucco or dark risotto dish.

My score: 91-92
Steven Tanzer: 94 $100