In early 2018, Nebbiolo lovers everywhere became happier than a pig in truffles, when news broke that Roberto Conterno, of iconic Barolo cantina Giacomo Conterno, had officially purchased the historic Nervi estate in Gattinara.
One of Roberto’s many admirable traits is his commitment to uphold the meticulous standards that have earned the Conterno family wines their legendary status. He does not take expansion lightly, acquiring new vineyards with a level of deliberation and forethought that would make Daniel Day-Lewis’ role choices seem like hasty decisions.
In fact, Roberto has had a long relationship with Nervi, as somewhat of an unofficial advisor and close friend for many years prior to becoming the winemaker of this ancient estate, with holdings in the appellation’s most revered crus.
Of the ‘Alto Piemonte’ regions (those north of Barolo in the foothills of the Alps separating Italy and Switzerland), Gattinara is arguably the most exciting, thanks to its unique terroir: a vein of volcanic gravel, on steep, high-elevation slopes. The effect of extreme climate swings coax a distinct minerality and a tender fragility from nebbiolo, all without compromising their longevity. Indeed, some of the finest old nebbiolo we’ve experienced have been Nervi bottlings dating back to the cantina’s heydays of the 50’s and 60’s.
While talk of great terroir is certainly relevant, what cannot be overstated is that Conterno is unquestionably one of the greatest winemakers in the world.
Unfortunately, there have never really been days of affordable Conterno nebbiolo...until now. His masterful approach and studious dedication makes this third bottling of Nervi-Conterno a truly exciting chapter.