Bussia, a little township just east of Barolo but more closely associated with Monforte d’Alba, is a sweet spot for supple, pungent Barolo. Nobody renders the perfume of Bussia better than the Conternos: “It has a quiet confidence that is missing in many of the 2014 Barolos. On the palate, the turbocharger kicks in. The wine's impressive tannic power leaves most of the competition behind it, but there's real finesse at the long finish. Drink after 2020.” – James Suckling
The late Aldo Conterno, a legend of Piedmont’s Langhe region, could have very easily made his mark somewhere altogether different. Aldo immigrated to the United States in 1954, and once planned to start a winery with his uncle in the Napa Valley. Uncle Sam came knocking, however, and Aldo served honorably in South Korea for two years as a Specialist in the U.S. Army. Upon his discharge he returned to San Francisco and, finding that his uncle had abandoned the winery venture, Aldo returned to Piedmont. The seeds of a great domaine were thus sown, in the little township of Bussia. Aldo’s time in America awakened an entrepreneurial fire in him, and just over 10 years after his return, he left his father Giacomo Conterno’s cantina, purchased the Favot farm, and founded Podere Aldo Conterno in 1969. Sadly, Aldo passed away in 2012, and today the farm and winery in Bussia township, Monforte d’Alba is run by his three sons: Franco, Stefano and Giacomo. Neither resolutely traditional nor excessively modern, these are expressive, vivid, concentrated wines that will reward long cellaring. Quite simply, these wines demonstrate just how good Barolo—and thus Italian wine—can get. They are indispensable to the serious connoisseur’s cellar.
This is so aromatic and beautiful with cherry, berry, hazelnut and Indian spices. It’s full-bodied with firm, velvety tannins that show form and brilliance. It’s extremely long and sophisticated. Tight at the finish. Try after 2024.
A chameleonlike red, with hallmark aromas and flavors of tomato sauce, cherry, macerated plum, iron and wet hay. The ripe fruit gets sweeter in this red as it builds to the vice grip of tannins on the finish, with the sweet fruit returning in the end. Best from 2025 through 2042.
The Poderi Aldo Conterno 2017 Barolo Bussia shows a dark but busy quality of fruit that speaks more to the power of this hot vintage than it does the nuanced side of Nebbiolo. In this respect, the wine is quite typical of the 2017 growing season. It takes a while before the wine finds focus in the glass, but it does slowly come together to reveal broad layers of dark cherry, cassis and plum. There is some tannic tightness that leads to sour berry. A bit awkward at this young stage, it needs a few more years of cellar age to flesh out and reach balance.