Is Cascina Francia Worth The Tariff?

Cascina Francia (I believe it is now simply called Francia) made a substantial price jump with the 2010 vintage release. It does not appear to have declined very much with the release of the 2011 vintage. So, is this wine worth it’s $200 price, especially in years such as 2011 when Monfortino was not made? Thanks.

The 2007 (no Monfortino made) is worth every penny under $150.

I would say yes if you’re willing to let them age. I’m sitting on a single bottle of the '94 that I was planning on opening next week with a '93 Collina Rionda. I’ll throw up some tasting notes when I get to them.

Wouldn’t be easier to just type them?

You can find the 2011 for less than $200. Just saying… champagne.gif

If you are interested to read them… pileon

Not if he throws up while typing! :wink: [snort.gif]

I thought that the years when Monfortino was not made would present something of a conundrum for Cascina Francia buyers. THe good news being that the Cascina Francia would benefit from the addition of the Monfortino juice. The not-so-good news, the year might have been a challenging one. That said, with the prices you are citing, I’m just glad I bought when I did.


It does seem to be a paradox. But it appears to be warmer temperatures to which Roberto objects when deciding not to make Monfortino. Those same temperatures don’t seem to bother Giacosa nearly as much.

I think it depends on what you are comparing the Conterno CF to. If you compare it to other Barolos I would argue that the Conterno is very pricey. If you compare current release to the possibility of backfilling for around 100 to 150 then the current release is also very pricey. However, when you compare the Conterno CF to other 200 dollar bottles available on the market, I would argue the wine is still “value”.

Who else is there in the $200+ category, Roberto Voerzio, Giacosa, Giuseppe Mascarello Monprivato Ca d’Morissio Riserva?

The next price jump may occur with 2013 vintage. Then the current pricing will look OK

Ceratin back vintages are still reasonably sensible. I picked up some 08 recently for a non-usurious price. Backfilling is often the sensible approach with Barolo.

Even at the actual current price, it isn’t worth it any more for me. I was spoiled by too many bottles at ~$70 in the late 90s and up to 2001. Too many other good options now for much less.

I agree, this bottle is headed for $300.

Do tell, what are the better options? Elio Grasso?

It is important to note that there is no such thing as “Monfortino juice” going into the Francia, because there is no such thing as Monfortino juice unless there is a Monfortino. There is only a decision by Roberto that a Monfortino will not be made, because he does not believe that the grapes will yield the Monfortino that he wants to make. Very different from other wineries that will dump the juice of a specific vineyard into a blend because the grapes of that vineyard will not allow the production of a single-vineyard wine of the desired quality. In theory, that might make a lesser blend better, or at least different from other years. This happens with Vietti’s base Barolo, for instance, and the base Produttori Barbaresco in non-Riserva years.

In the case of the Francia, there are some wines with stronger track records that cost less money (or at least did), but lack the G. Conterno cachet and Cascina Francia grapes. Francia no longer being the sub-$100 steal that it used to be has shaken up much. MT-made Bartolo seems a no-brainer choice over Francia, at least until the Bartolo pulls even price-wise. G. Mascarello Monprivato also, unless the off-bottle percentage is credible to you and scares you away. Sandrone makes a dramatically better wine with his Cannubi Boschis, but is plagued by modernist myths. Ditto the Aldo Conterno Baroli. I would rather have Vietti Rocche than Cascina Francia over the last decade, if it has not now outpriced Francia. I much prefer Gaja’s Sperss as well, but it, too, may be in Francia’s price range at this point, at least at retail. And for the long haul, I would rather have Cavallotto’s San Giuseppe Riserva or Vignolo Riserva or Massolino’s Rionda Riserva. I am not sure that any of the points dispensers have tasted any of those three at anything approaching full maturity, and numbers aside, all are potentially at least as good as Francia for less money. And let us not forget Cappellano, when it can be had for something approaching retail. No numbers at all, but I doubt that any serious Nebbiolo expert would choose Francia over Pie Franco. Throw Vajra’s Bricco delle Viole on the pile, too. I would say probably not of Francia’s quality, but possessed of a damn impressive run of late, which can only be enhanced by the addition of Ravera and Baudana. I have Francia also, but more for investment than drinking. It and Monfortino will both appreciate nicely.

Michael, I am not sure that there is any weather-based correlation to be made between Giacosa and G. Conterno. Until recently, Conterno was working a single vineyard, and still is for Francia and Monfortino. Giacosa has always worked multiple vineyards and microclimates in two different Nebbiolo zones, and nobody has a clue except people inside his tent what has moved him to make Riserve or not, not to mention what really happened in 2006 (other than his stroke) and 2010.

Yeah, to echo what Bill just said, given what has transpired at Giacosa over the last decade, I certainly wouldn’t try to discern any broader vintage implications from some of their personal bottling decisions.

BTW, Mark, while you may drink an enjoyable wine when you open the '94 CF, don’t be expecting anything revelatory there. It was a very rainy harvest, and while the wine has nice flavor, it is dilute - what our English brethren might describe as a luncheon claret :wink: .