The has been a massive amount of Giacomo Conterno activity in London of late. Some inspired by the Vinous Monfortino Magnum Monday 1970-2006 either way any chance to taste and drink these wines must be grabbed. The format here was eight people, a Monfortino each and then one other bottle. The venue as Alloro in Mayfair. The food was good, highlights being the Pasta and probably the best Tiramisu I’ve had!

Mixed Antipasti
Crab & Avocado Salad with Fresh Tomato Dressing
Octopus Salad
Taglierini with Black Truffle
Roasted Duck breast with Rosit and onions in a red wine reduction

The wines all came in flights, mostly pairs:

Krug 1988 – Very good, got that Krug-like to me, almost delicate, very poised and elegant. Defies the richness and the house style. Citrus and backbone really clear to see. Impressive.

DP 1996 – I really like bottle aged DP (even at the same money I would prefer it to Oenotheque). I love the 1996 but for whatever reason (quite small glasses would be one of them) this bottle just did not quite have the focus it can have. Nice bit of biscuit though. Still good just not as good as it can be.

Perrieres Pair – Really interesting pair as such contrasts.
Meursault 1er Cru Perrieres 2004, Roulot – Very good, great focus, touch of reduction, delicious, long lived. I was really impressed by this. Even the tiny warmed-up remnants in the glass where delicious (a great sign). Tessons 2004, Roulot I had recently would seem to confirm that Roulot “nailed it” in 04. Very fine wine.

Meursault 1er Cru Perrieres 1993, Roche de Bellene  Rich and full, quite tropical, creamy and waxy. Not loose or gloopy but opposite to the Roulot. If this once had a lot of oak it has gone (I would imagine it saw very little new oak). Fascinating.

The “youth”
Monfortino 2006 – Just brilliant, incredible intensity but with an almost elegant lack of weight. Tannin and acidity in perfect balance with lots of fruit. I’d almost say the archetypal Barolo. Power, focus, refined, very long . I can’t say there is anything I’d change about it

Monfortino 2001 – Quite rich and with definite weight, a little muted on the nose but with a savoury intensity, a real sleeper. In persona I think this is a person with serious intellect and ambition, may be ever so slightly lacking that glint in the eye. I like the wine, would love to own the wine BUT will I ever “love” this wine…I hope to find out.             

The “adolescents”
Monfortino 1999 – Not the very best bottle in my view, bold, very expressive and open. Slightly degraded but sweet brown fruit. as a stand alone bottle this would be a real treat it just lacked some precision on this evening.

Monfortino 1998 – I was delighted about this bottle. It showed really well, a little evolved, secondary aromas coming in. Mellowed in the glass. My delight was in part because I have found the 1998 a tad underwhelming from two different magnums recently. The acidity seemed a little “separate” from the fruit. This bottle however was hedonistic and delicious from now onwards. May be it is a wine that suits bottle better than magnum??

The “young professionals”
Monfortino 1993 – Stunning as this had been from magnum at the Vinous event, balanced almost gentle, elegant and just so drinkable. It is a wine made with a light touch and all the better for it.

Monfortino 1990 – Wow, precision and power, very fine, very serious but also with that 1990 hedonistic element. The magnum a few weeks bag had been ok but not a patch on this bottle. It’s the sort of wine you would want to decant and pour then just drink over a long time with very simple food, a real treat.

The “Old guard” (pre Cascina Francia ownership era)
Monfortino 1974 – Fully mature and a little dry but it is very good because it has a lovely mouth filling,  but not heavy, texture and a real lift, some of which is good acidity and the rest of which is just “life”. I would imagine that some bottles of this have faded a little but this was delightful.

Barolo 1970, G.Conterno – I took this as a few of us had had the Monfortino 1970 at the other dinner (an amazing wine!). It is a vintage that seems, oddly, to be slightly under the radar. Most 1970’s I have had have been very good. This is the “basic” 1970. There was a Riserva as well. This bottle was fully mature in both colour and nose. There is a refreshing quality to the wine which comes from the acidity and purity of fruit. It got better with air as well.

Monfortino 1961 – This was very light in colour, a “bricky” orange, very feminine and gently aromatic with some herbs, cinnamon and a little tea, fascinating and very drinkable.

One other Barolo:
Barolo Prapo 1993, Cerretto – This was meant to be served with the 1993 Monfortino but nice as it was that might have been an unfair match. It was honest and with good fruit. The structure was about right and on it’s own a good wine.

Doisy Vedrines 1989 – I tend to find that I appreciate freshness in sauternes more and more these days especially when it comes at the end of a long dinner or tasting. I really loved this, it was not OTT at all just spot on with freshness and zip balancing the maturity.

A really cracking evening that further confirmed Monfortino’s place at Wines top table with many thanks to “Sussex” for organising!