2019 Conterno Fantino, Barolo DOCG “Castelletto Vigna Pressenda” Piedmonte, Italy.
The certified organic Vigna Pressenda Barolo 2019 by Conterno Fantino is beautiful pure Nebbiolo and a wine of significant power and length with gripping tannin and layers of macerated red berries, brandied cherry, damson plum and stony currant fruits, along with a chewy texture, savory and earthy elements, plus mountain herbs, orange peel and dried roses leading the way on the medium bodied palate. I hadn’t had these Conterno Fantino wines until recently, but am very impressed with the quality here, with the Barolo offerings, in the set of recently released 2019s, with the Vigna Del Gris, this Castelletto Vigna Pressenda and especially the Mosconi Vigna Ped being standouts. The nervy tension between the leathery earth and dense fruit core feels wonderfully controlled and connected throughout and the length seems to be endless, especially with air and food, I can see this Castelletto Vigna Pressenda aging extremely well for 10 to 15 years, even if 2019 doesn’t look like a collectors vintage, these Conterno Fantino wines are exceptions, I wish I could have tried the 2016s! According to the winery the Vigna Ped vineyard is located in Monforte d’Alba, and was planted in phases with some old vine blocks dating back to 1960, with others planted as late as1999, all with a southern exposure, set on a mixture of sand, silt and clay (over limestone bedrock), which explains the concentration of fruit and the elevation is close to 400 meters, allowing for cooling influences. The ruby/garnet Conterno Fantino Barolo Castelletto Vigna Pressenda does not disappoint, it has all the right stuff to seduce and reward the patient and in my case not so patient Nebbiolo fan, I look forward to following Conterno Fantino for years to come.

The Conterno Fantino winery, as noted in prior reviews, was founded in 1982 by Claudio Conterno and Guido Fantino, bringing two famous Piedmonte families together, creating a tour de force estate focusing primarily in crafting exclusive small lot Barolo bottlings that are made with the utmost respect for the land and nature. To those goals, the vineyards, as the winery explains, are all organically cultivated (as certified by CCPB) with holistic and green methods, to give each wine their own natural identity. Conterno Fantino has taken big steps to reduce their environmental impact, and they in 2008 the winery expansion utilized various technical improvements with the aim of energy conservation, such as solar panels, a geothermal system and finally, the use of wetland specifically set up for wastewater purification. To highlight this and traditions, the grapes are all hand tended and harvested with the team carefully sorting each cluster, after which the winery says they, to preserve the aromas of the vineyard, a spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts is employed (no commercial yeast is used here), with each vineyard site done separately. For aging, Conterno Fantino carefully selects the wood for the maturing of the wines and uses a minimal amount of added sulfites. The Barolo wines, like this one are fermented and macerated exclusively in stainless steel horizontal fermenters for 12-15 days before being pressed to barrel, which is all French oak, where it was matured for two years in the wood and then another year plus in bottle before release. The 2019s are showing pretty nicely already and they are taut without being stark, opening up and revealing a generosity, floral dimension and lingering anise and cedar note, best decanted and served with some hearty proteins, but I love Nebbiolo, and this Conterno Fantino Vigna Pressenda (priced the best of the cru wines I tried), coming from a pedigreed cru, is the good stuff!
($85 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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