In Barolo, it's easy to lose your sense of direction, to tell one great slope from another, to point accurately to Romirasco, to Bussia, to Cicala. Driving around Barolo, I'm always struck with the same thought: If there was ever a landscape that looks like it should make great wines, Barolo is it. If only in this one case, looks are not deceiving. Some of the world's greatest wines come from Barolo, and many of the world's greatest winemakers have gravitated there, pulled by the sheer force of its terroir, its challenges, its rewards, and its beauty.
It's easy to talk about a vineyard's terroir, what the soil is made of and how the tectonic plates shifted to offer up fresh earth in one vineyard and old earth in another. It's easy to talk about how those fresh soils grow grapes that make elegant, graceful wines, while those older soils grow grapes that make austere, brooding wines. It's easy to measure a ten-degree temperature difference from the bottom of a slope to the top, and to show a correlation between the opulence of the wines at the bottom and the finesse of the wines at the top. But you don't really get it, Barolo's magic of nature, of fate, of impenetrable history and of human ingenuity, until you visit, and the more you visit, the more it just floors you. Barolo is beautiful beyond words. So too are its wines, when crafted by the hands of a master.
Today, I'm proud to debut the 2011 Barolos of Aldo Conterno, a winemaker who spent his whole life in Barolo and knew it intimately. Aldo was one of those winemakers who defied easy categorization--he was neither strictly traditional, nor was he modernist--and whose wines have been so good that easy definitions cease to matter. Aldo passed away in 2012, and these wines show how, just as Aldo's dad trained him, he trained his sons. They're true to the estate and to the legacy of this great producer, and they evoke all the sunniness of the vintage while maintaining the muscular structure of a heavyweight boxer.