November 17, 2016
A Note from Sergio
I love visiting the cellar at Giacomo Conterno. From the outside, it's a squat modern-looking building, but it's deceptive. It's a building that, like an iceberg, holds more below than you see from above. Its upper portions house the business side of the estate, and its lower portions, subterranean and vast, hold the cellar, the place where the magic happens. You descend the stairs, and as you do, the air both chills with every step and it fills with a wondrous cellar smell. The walls grow cellar mold, a sign of age and beauty. Roberto Conterno, the owner of the estate and the grandson of estate namesake Giacomo Conterno, flicks the lights on, and rows of warm-colored wood botti range across the tiled floor. This cellar is newer than the estate, yet it glows with its rich history; it almost shimmers with its indescribable magic.
About a decade ago, Roberto came to New York, and to celebrate, I opened a bottle of 1937 Barolo Monfortino, a wine that neither he nor I had ever tasted. The waiter at the restaurant decanted the Monfortino, and when he poured the wine, Roberto and I perked up, our noses piqued like those of hunting dogs. When we got our glasses, Roberto and I stuck our noses into them, looked around, looked at each other, and asked the one question you should ask when you're tasting something truly great: "What the hell is this?" We both took a sip. I started to drink, and right away, I knew that I was having one of the greatest experiences of my life. The wine was beautiful--mystical. Made by his grandfather during the war, under great duress, this wine was possibly the best bottle of wine his estate had ever made.
Today, I'm very proud to offer another bottle of Barolo Monfortino made by Roberto's grandfather, Giacomo Conterno 1943 Barolo Monfortino Riserva. Like the 1937, this '43 Monfortino is a wine made during wartime, a bottle that has withstood tragedy and upheaval, transcended time and space, and matured into a new unforeseen beauty. Wine is a living thing, and drinking decades-old wines can reckon the past in ways that reading history or watching period movies simply cannot. Like people, wines embody their history, and this '43 Barolo Monfortino does it beautifully. So too does the 1963 Barolo from Giuseppe Mascarello, also offered below. These vintage wines are dips into a time long gone, a time that may never pass this way again.
Finally, don't miss the stellar Paul Jaboulet Aîné 2009 Hermitage La Chapelle in magnums--it's a wine for the ages!
Today's Featured Sections Include:
1. Spotlight on Excellence: 1943 Barolo Monfortino, a Collector Gem
2. Only At IWM:
Rare, Extraordinary 1963 Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo
3. Time Sensitive Offer: Inky, Brooding Paul Jaboulet Aîné 2009 Hermitage La Chapelle
4. Wine Events: Upcoming November / December Wine Tasting Events