Conterno Fantino’s Fabulous Four
Conterno Fantino is located high above the ancient fortified town of Monforte d’Alba, relishing in a privileged position in the legendary Barolo wine zone.
Founded in 1982 by two friends with strong roots in the winemaking business, the winery’s philosophy has remained unchanged over the years. And that philosophy is to run the winery “with the utmost respect for the land and tradition.” This is because the owners and their team believe this is the best way to guarantee quality wines.
To help ensure excellent health and quality, the grapes are cultivated organically with no use of synthetic pesticides or weedkillers. They normally use half new and have second-use French oak barrique for their aging but it depends on the vintage. But this is not a hard-and-fast rules and each vintage is treated according to its specific characteristics.
What’s in a Name?
Conterno Fantino makes four Barolos, all similar in expression yet unique to their specific microzone. Each is located within the Barolo zone, which is broken up into eleven municipalities over 1700 hectares (4,200 acres): Cherasco, Verduno, Roddi, La Morra, Grinzane Cavour, Castiglione Falletto, Diano d’Alba, Barolo, Novello, Serralunga d’Alba and Monforte d’Alba.
There are then 170 Additional Geographical Definitions that stretch across all eleven municipalities. There are eleven of these in Monforte d’Alba, including Ginestra, Mosconi and Castelletto, where the Conterno Fantino Barolo vineyards are located. Hence, these are not proprietary names, and other wineries in the districts can and do use them.
The second name is the name of Conterno Fantino’s specific vineyard (vigna in Italian) or plot – Vigna Sori Ginestra, Vigna del Gris, Vigna Ped, and Vigna Pressenda. The names do not have specific meanings, but are the historic names of the vineyards. Sori’ Ginestra may have come about because sori` means “south” in the Piedmont dialect and the vineyard is in fact in the southern portion of the Ginestra district. Since this is how they had always referred to the vineyard, the name stuck. Vigna del Gris takes its name from the gray-colored soil of the vineyard as gris means “gray” in Piedmontese.
Conterno Fantino’s flagship wine. The vineyard is located in the Ginestra district on one of the most important hills in Monforte, if not Barolo itself. It is the thoroughbred of Barolos, and fully reflects its terroir. Located 340 meters (1,115 feet) above sea level, it fully benefits from southern exposure, which affords the vines warm sunlight from morning to night. The soil is not sandy, and is a bit more compact. The wines from this vineyard are bigger, with much more body, structure and tannins. The older part of this vineyard was planted in 1971, giving the wine its unique elegance and complexity.
Vigna del Gris
The “princess” of Conterno Fantino. It’s feminine and delicate, and the most accessible of the range, thanks also to its unparalleled intrigue, finesse and elegance. Located just 300 meters (984 feet) above sea level in the Ginestra district, the vineyards are southeast-facing with a lighter sandy soil. The wines are opulent and refined. The oldest vines in the vineyard were planted in 1978.
Located on the historic Mosconi hill (in the Mosconi district) and Conterno Fantino has a small plot in the southernmost area. The wine from this vineyard is all about power, structure, freshness and elegance. It stands up to long cellaring – as do the others. The vineyard is up high on the hill coming in at 360 meters (1,181 feet) above sea level and the oldest vines were planted in 1960. Like Sori Ginestra, the soil is rich in clay and limestone and quite compact. Because of this, this Barolo is assertive, masculine and structured, and has noticeable acidity due to the elevation.
Found in the Castelletto district of Barolo. It is Conterno Fantino’s new challenge. The vineyard was already recognized for excellence through its past winemakers, but it’s time to see how Conterno Fantino puts its inimitable spin on it. The vineyard is 360 meters (1,181 feet) above sea level and is southeast-facing. The wines are most similar to Vigna del Gris, and are somewhat lighter, perfumed and refined. The oldest vines were planted in 1969.