2012 PAOLO CONTERNO 'RIVA DEL BRIC' BAROLOPaolo Conterno
Producer: Paolo Conterno
Grape: Nebbiolo 100%
Region: Piemonte, Italy
Zone: Barolo DOCG
Founded in the late 19th century by Paolo Conterno, the Casa della Ginestra as it was once affectionately known, was one of the pioneering producers in Barolo*. The original Paolo had the foresight to predict a market for fine, single vineyard wines, and from as early as 1886 he began to sub-divide his vineyard by variety and exposure. More than a century on, and the now fourth generation of Conterno’s continues the tradition in Ginestra inherited from their great-grandfather, producing distinctive Monforte wines and combining a passion for the land with high levels of technical expertise. Still very traditionally made, meaning long macerations and large oak maturation, even for the Dolcetto and Langhe Nebbiolo. This combination of technique and tradition has meant that, in the past couple of decades especially, Paolo Conterno has gained its position as one of the premier producers in Monforte d’Alba and indeed all of Barolo.
*Therefore although this is not the best known ‘Conterno’ in Barolo, they are the originals, pre-dating Giacomo Conterno by about 20 years
Riva del Bric is the selection of the Ginestra vineyard designated to the 20-25 year old Nebbiolo vines, not yet at maturity for the senior ‘Ginestra’ or ‘Ginestra Riserva’ wines. Though Giorgio Conterno stubbornly insists Ginestra is his flagship, since the first bottlings Riva del Bric had positioned itself as a wine that is similarly thrilling and complex, but also one to drink rather than wait for compared to the Ginestra. This is a wine that’s shaped by its land more than most Barolo, that can be said without reservation, but it’s the supreme handling (or lack of) throughout the process which means Riva del Bric is now quickly becoming Piedmont’s (and even Italy’s) current ‘wine to watch’
Tasting note: This is fabulous Barolo with burnt orange, blackberry, meat, earth, and fresh herb. Full-bodied, round and velvety. So flavorful and crazy. Drink now. Why wait? But it will age wonderfully (also in his top 100 wines of 2015), 97pt James Suckling
92pt Wine Spectator
Growing System: Guyot counter-espalier training system.
Soil Composition: mainly clayey and calcareous, providing ideal water retention.
Production: the grapes are crushed and destemmed immediately after picking. Maceration follows for 15 to 20 days in special tanks to allow for a gradual release of the noble components in the skins. When the ideal rapport has been reached between the extracted tannins and colour, the wine is drawn off and the first rackings are carried out. Traditional-style maturation is then carried out, 30 to 36 months in casks of French oak holding 35 hl and 6 to 12 months in bottle.
Alcohol (%) 14.5%