The Vigneview Verdict
Christmas is a time to bring out the best…great wine, great food, great company! Well, this year I’ve decided to dig deep in my cellar and dust off a bottle of Franco Conterno Bussia Barolo Riserva DOCG 2007 that my husband and I purchased when we visited Piedmont, Italy during the summer of 2017 while celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. We specifically asked for a 2007 Riserva to commemorate the year we got married. So, it’s December 2021 and time to open this sleeping beauty! Let’s bring on the Barolo!
The Nebbiolo grapes sourced for this wine come from the one of the most desirable crus in Barolo – Bussia – which is located within the Monforte D’Alba commune. Here the terroir is ideal for growing Nebbiolo grapes. The slopes are steep and the soils are rich in clay, which retain water during the warmer months of the growing season. The grapes sourced for this bottle are the Nebbiolo clones Lampia and Michet. Lampia is considered to be the most reliable clone while Michet produces wines with excellent quality and concentration.
2007 presented itself as a warm, dry growing season in Barolo with some producers harvesting a bit earlier than usual in September; however, the Nebbiolo for this bottle was picked mid-October. Many Barolos from this vintage have been described as exceptional with vibrant aromas and fruit forward on the palate. This particular bottle was aged in stainless steel tanks for 3-5 months, French oak for 48 months and finally, in bottle for a further 12 months. The minimum ageing requirement for a Barolo Riserva wine is 62 months.
I have to admit, that de-corking this bottle was a bit of a challenge, as with any aged wine. You need to use a two prong cork puller; otherwise, the cork will crumble and you will be left with a bit of a mess! Once successfully opened, the aromas of this beautiful Barolo filled the room. Gorgeous notes of rose petals, dried fruits, truffle, earthy forest floor and a bit of the typical tar and tobacco notes characteristic of an aged Barolo delighted everyone’s nose.
Tasting this wine is what I’d been so looking forward to for so many years, especially as the nose was so powerful and aromatic. On the palate, notes of liquorice, tobacco, truffle and stewed red fruits were thoroughly enjoyed along with a delightful level of acidity and noticeable tannins that were still retained within the wine, despite being over 14 years old! The finish is long, savoury and memorable. You won’t forget this wine!
I have another bottle of this beauty and am tempted to keep it for another 2-3 years and see how it’s evolved. It’s always beneficial to compare and contrast wines.
Cin Cin! xx
I recommend pairing this bottle of Franco Conterno Bussia Barolo Riserva DOCG 2007 with a braised beef dish or a hearty mushroom and truffle risotto. While this wine still retains a fair amount of acidity and tannin structure, you need a dish that has a bit of fat which will accomplish two things; the acidity cuts through the fattiness and creates a refreshing sensation on the palate, while the tannins in the wine bind with the protein in the fat to create a smoothness on the palate.
Producer: Franco Conterno
Region: Barolo Riserva DOCG (Bussia Cru)
Grapes: Nebbiolo Michet and Nebbiolo Lampia
Colour: Medium garnet
Floral: Rose petals
Fruits: Dried red cherries, stewed plums and dried figs
Earthy: Mushroom and forest floor
Oak: Tar, leather, tobacco and liquorice
Drinking Window: Can drink now but could also possibly age for another 2-3 years.