TN: Monfortino 1964, 1971 and 1978

On Tuesday, Christies held a joint event with Armani. The idea was to showcase some of the gorgeous custom suits, and to match the finest Italy could offer in bespoke tailoring, they got together three wines from one of its greatest producers. There were two bottles of each wine; one of the six was out of condition, otherwise they were showing beautifully. What was interesting was that seven years separated each wine, and how different they were in their evoloutions.

1964 Monfortino: The color was fading, the wine thin and delicate. Fragrances of licorice and woodfloor, mushrooms and a little truffle. Somes vestiges of fruit. A beautiful delicate old lady, with fine bone structure, and much of her beauty intact. Seemed far older than the seven years difference between this and 1971 would suggest. I think it suffered a little by comparison to the other two, on its own at dinner, we would have loved this remarkable wine. A pleasant easy finish. 93 points

Monfortino 1971: Today it was at perfect maturity; the wine slowly loosening in the glass, and by the end of half an hour, I was entranced by the melange of aromas: bright fruit, rose petals, earth, woodsmoke, licorice and mushroom. On the plate, the wine sorted itself into layers of flavor, and the finish was long and satisfying. 98 points.

Monfortino 1978: potentially this will be better than the 1971; a darker, more intense more concentrated version. But at the moment, it is still a prospect, rather than the beautiful fully realized wine that is the 1971. But it has everything, aromatics and fruit, but all caught up in its enormous structure. If I had any more bottles, I would not be touching them another seven years. But when it is mature, it will be truly magnificent. 98+ points

Mark, couldn’t agree with you more. Everytime that I’ve had the 71 and 78, the 78 has been the better wine. Along with the 89 Giacosa Rionda and 78 Giacosa Rionda, the 78 Monfo is the only other “perfect” standout among those that are encompassed by the last half century of Piedmontese winemaking.

Oh good. Monfortino reaches its peak 40 years after the vintage, so I can plan to drink the 2000 when I’m . . . [suicide.gif]

Actually, I do not think that the 1978 will peak in 7 years, or even seem fully ready.

Nice trio,Mark…and notes.I have had some 71s that were less evolved than yours,but agree that the 78 just adds a different dimension to the Monfortino story.

No worries,Ken…as we know the 00s are beginning to fade,so maybe it will be in prime time in say…20 years. [wow.gif]

I was just prodding a friend to get together to drink some Monfortino this morning. I have no 71 left, but plan to be patient with what 78s remain, another decade seems in order, though I know I can’t wait that long! In the meantime 87, 85 and 74 are all at peak in my book, so 25 years with a lifespan of 50 might be more appropriate.

You only have to wait another 14 years Ken.

Mark, thanks for the notes, which pretty much capture my own experience except on a couple of occassions where the 64 has been in perfect shape and expressed Monfortino at its peak. Without suggesting that it was “better” than the 71, let’s just say it was much better than a “93”. Ken, while you’re anxiously waiting for the 78 Monfortino to come around, I’m sure you can happily bide your time with the 78 CRR, the 82 Bartolo, the 85 G Rinaldi Brunate Ris, etc.

Sorry for the drift, but who’s going to “Barolofest” next weekend?

I am dehydrating in anticipation.

See you there!

Is this Antonio’s gig?


It’s going to be very special, but personally I think dehydrating in advance is taking it to an extreme. Look forward to seeing you Greg!

I’ll be there . . . sitting next to Greg again! Look forward to meeting you, Carl. Which table are you at? We’re at the G. Rinaldi table.

I understand he’s an interesting guy Ken. I’m at the Roberto Conterno table. Looking forward to finally meeting you.

Of course I was referring to Rinaldi, not Greg!

Lucky you! Is that with a group? You guys got in early. Are you all bringing G. Conterno wines?

I will be there as well.

I have been informed by my friend THE Hillbilly that a 19 gun salute is being prepared for my arrival!!

Ray, which table are you sitting at?

Looks like I will be meeting some NYC wine nobility in addition to some great winemakers!

I am sitting at the Carl Klapper table.