Diego Conterno

Piemonte (Monforte d'Alba), Italy
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In the world of Barolo from the village of Monforte d'Alba there are a dizzying number of Conternos. And it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between them. Let us assure you, each is unique. Diego Conterno was once part of the famed Conterno Fantino, who make superb though decidedly more modern wines in Monforte d'Alba. But after years as a partner in the winery, Diego decided that he wanted to take a more traditional approach. So in 2000 he sold his share in the company, took his vines, including the prized Ginestra plot, and began anew. Now working organically, Diego and his son Stefano craft classically styled Barolo from their superb plots in Monforte d'Alba.

Diego bottled his first vintage in 2003 with little more than 1300 bottles of Barolo (Ginestra). Today, the father and son team work their 7.5 ha of vineyards, 2 ha of which are in the 'Grand Cru' vineyard of Ginestra, the "Sori" (full south) heart of which faces due south and was planted in 1982. The remaining 5.5 ha are split between Nebbiolo from Barolo vineyards of San Pietro, Pajana and Gri (grey in Piedmontese dialect, which refers to the fine grey marl soil). They also have exquisite vineyards of Nebbiolo d'Alba, Barbera, Dolcetto and Nascetta.

Working out of their winery on the outskirts of the town of Monforte d'Alba, which overlooks a number of their vineyards, Diego and Stefano employ superb farming techniques and traditional methods for their wines. In the vineyards, they work organically and entirely by hand, tending each parcel carefully and methodically. Moreover, they make very strict selections at harvest, choosing only the best fruit from each of their plots. Fermentations are long and slow, and they prefer cement and, increasingly, Botte Grande (large cask) to mature the Nebbiolo. Harnessing their exquisite terroirs, Diego and Stefano make breathtaking wines, which embody the best elements of Monforte d'Alba: structure, texture, minerality and longevity. Perhaps best of all, in a world where the price of top tier Barolo is ever increasing, the wines of Diego Conterno remain very modestly priced. These are stunning wines that should not be missed!