2021 Giacomo Conterno Barbera d'Alba Francia$79.99
One of Piedmont's most legendary addresses, few have reached the heights and acclaim that Giacomo Conterno has. While the Monfortino here is the legend, there are many wines made by Conterno that carry the same outstanding level of quality at friendlier pricing. One such bottle is the Vigna Fancia (formerly Cascina Fancia or Francia), one of the best buys from this top-tier stop.
Not to be confused with the Barolo bottling of the same name, Cascina Francia (which is most likely why the Barbera was changed to Vigna Francia). It is technically the same vineyard but sourced from the section planted with Barbera, providing an equally fascinating look at this highly revered site. Cascina Francia was also once planted to Dolcetto and Fresia but was torn out in 2001 to plant more Nebbiolo and Barbera, which were the obvious choices for a vineyard of this caliber. In the same year, winemaker Roberto Conterno returned to a more traditional style, extending aging in oak from a year to 21 months, as noted by Galloni in his vertical tasting of the Barbera Cascina Francia. He also stated that in 2006, a stylistic change took place where the wines got richer, deeper, and more intense due to lower yields and a few new casks thrown into the mix.
Conterno's Cascina Francia is one of the best Barberas made and has sensational complexity of fruit and Barolo-like depth with excellent structure, minerality, and a sense of place. The 2021 Cascina Francia is poised to be exceptional, and while this was a smaller crop, the heat at the end of the growing season concentrated the fruit along the way while staying fresh. We have a limited amount available at this friendly pricing, and it is typically one of the best Barbera examples in any vintage.
JebDunnuck.com (Audrey Frick) 94-96 points! "The 2021 Barbera Cascina Francia was tasted from barrel and pours a rich youthful ruby/purple color. Mineral-tinged with graphite, black raspberry, and violets, it is medium-bodied on the palate, with refined tannic structure, great freshness, and a red plum and more violet perfume. Gorgeous and pure, warmth and freshness at the same time, this is as good as it gets for Barbera. Drink 2024-2040."