Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at Perbacco, San Francisco, California

In 1969, Barolo’s future was profoundly changed when the two sons of Giacomo Conterno decided to go their separate ways, creating two domaines when before there had been one.

The older brother Giovanni received the exclusive right to use the family winery’s name, Giacomo Conterno. As for younger brother Aldo, according to Antonio Galloni, he would get some older vintages so he could essentially go into business right away, rather than have to wait until his first wines were ready to market, which would have taken years.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and even into the early 1990s, Aldo and Giovanni vied for top honors in Barolo. Traditionalists of course saw Giovanni as The Master, with no true rival. But there was also plenty of admiration for the fine Barolos produced by Aldo’s “enlightened traditionalism.” Even after the advent of modernism in the 1990s, Giovanni and Aldo enjoyed a degree of reverence that was unique.

In recent years, we have had many opportunities to explore the wines of Giovanni Conterno, but what of Aldo? And so, on June 23, we hosted a unique tasting of Aldo Conterno Barolos married to the Piemontese-inspired cuisine of San Francisco's Perbacco restaurant.

The wines were divided into three groups. The first were three very rare pre-Separation Barolos, including two Riserva Speciale bottlings:

1937 Barolo Bussia Riserva Speciale  
1964 Barolo Monforte e Perno Riserva Speciale  
1967 Barolo Monforte e Perno  

Next were four important early Barolos that Aldo made from his own vines in Bussia in 1971, 1978 and 1982:

1971 Barolo Bussia Riserva Speciale  
1978 Barolo Bussia Soprana  
1982 Barolo Bussia Soprana
1989 Barolo Bussia Soprana 

Finally, we offered a compelling history of Aldo's greatest cru, Cicala. Few of us remember that in 1971, Aldo made one of his first Granbussias from Cicala. On June 23 we had a chance to taste that legendary 1971 Granbussia Riserva Vigna Bricco Cicala, along with four subsequent, great vintages of Cicala:

1971 Barolo Granbussia Riserva Vigna Bricco Cicala
1982 Barolo Cicala
1985 Barolo Cicala  
1989 Barolo Cicala  
1999 Barolo Cicala

As for the venue, Perbacco is, of course, one of San Francisco's great Italian restaurants, where acclaimed chef Stefan Terje works his magic. For our dinner, Chef Terje prepared a brilliant, Piemontese-inspired menu to accompany the wines.type:item

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Wine barrels in a cellar

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