2009 Aldo Conterno Barolo Bussia

February 5, 2015

Name:2009 Aldo Conterno Barolo Bussia
Type:Red Wine
Producer:Poderi Aldo Conterno
Region:Italy / Piemonte/ Barolo / Monforte d'Alba


Aldo Conterno Barolo Bussia effectively replaced the winery’s  Barolo normale which was released from 2004 to 2008 as a blend from their plots in Monforte (Bussia) and in Barolo. After losing his vineyards in Barolo to a landslide, Giacomo Conerno decided to “retire” the non-cru Barolo and, starting from 2009, to release the Barolo Bussia instead.

I quite liked the “basic” Barolo from Aldo Conterno in the past for what it was. A very solid workhorse, approachable at a relatively young age, a bit buttoned up and formulated, but not sterile or soul-less.

Curious to try what this forced “upgrade” yielded I picked up a bottle from a local store.  The 2009 vintage is generally considered an Ok one, but nothing special. The weather was too wet early in the season and too hot and dry late in the season. This resulted in shortened vegetation period, excessive stress on the vines (especially in the sandy soils of La Morra and Barolo, but less so in Monforte) and an even more challenging search for the balance between alcohol and phenolic ripeness. My assumption was that with almost 5 years of age and a non-prohibitive vintage, this Barolo should be able to show itself well, even if not fully evolved.

The nose was quite promising, even if its flirting was not of the most sophisticated kind. Composed and tolerably modern. The “modernism” is probably largely attributed (my guess) to manipulations with the must rather than anything else, as maceration is indicated at 25-30 days with temperatures allowed to scale as high as 30-32C and ageing is 26 months in Slavonian botti.

Suprisingly its 15% of alcohol were hidden quite well, albeit better in the nose than the flavor. At the end of the day it was the flavor that let this wine down. First off, it jars with the nose from the first sip.  On the tongue this Bussia is simpler, greenish and, weirdly, oakier, than suggested by the aroma. It feels unfinished. I think it will get better with some ageing (hence 3 stars and not 2.5), but I am not sure how much better. Frankly  –  I expected more and would pick the old Barolo normale over this single-cru effort in a heartbeat.

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