TN: Rare Monfortino Dinner

RARE MONFORTINO DINNER - New York Vintners, NYC (4/29/2017)

I co-hosted this Giacomo Conterno Monfortino vertical with Paul Robinson of New York Vintners. We met at 3pm, and from 3 to 4pm, we opened and tasted each wine starting with the 1968 and working backward through the vintages. Based on this, we decided to put the 2 oldest vintages (1934 and 1939) at the end the of dinner with a cheese course. Otherwise, we went from oldest (1941) to youngest (1968). Notes from this first tasting are included below.

For photos and more details, see this post my website:

Station: Grissini, Focaccia, Salumi, Formaggio, Tardivo, Vegetables, Olives, Honey.
Passed canapes: Mushroom Crostini, Tuna Tartare on Cucumber, Arancini.
All good, but I talked too much to taste everything.

Flight 1: 1941 and 1952 Monfortino
Carne Cruda di Fassone Piemontese Battuta: Hand-Chopped Raw Weal Tenderloin, Black Truffles, Mâche Salad, Crostini.
This was exquisite. As good as any Carne Cruda I’ve ever had.

Flight 2: 1955 and 1958 Monfortino
House-made Agnolotti: Agnolotti Filled with Toma Cheese, Black Truffle Butter.
A touch salty, but very tasty.

  • 1955 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino Speciale - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    At 3:30pm: Sweet red fruit and a touch of brown sugar. Not showing much else now.
    At 9:15pm: Has really come together. Harmonious, complex, red fruit with a bit of walnut on the finish. An interesting wine that I could drink all night. My 3rd WOTN. (95 pts.)
  • 1958 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino Speciale - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    At 3:30pm: Watery with diluted sweet red fruit. Something is not right here. Perhaps it will come together with air.
    At 9:15pm: Sadly, it did not come together. In fact, it seems unchanged. NR (flawed)

Flight 3: 1961, 1964, and 1968 Monfortino
Le Costolette Brasate di Barolo: Short Ribs Braised In Barolo Wine, Parsnip-Potato Puree, King Oyster Mushroom.
The wine used for this dish was the 2011 Vajra Ravera! Maybe that’s why it was so great.

  • 1961 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino Speciale - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    At 3pm: Rocking right out of the gate with complex fruit and leaf mulch. Expansive and stunning. Clearly a great bottle!
    At 9:45pm: Even better after 6-7 hours of slow-o. Stunning aromas of black fruit. Rich and complex. Quite youthful still. I can see the resemblance to the 1978 and later Monfortinos. This must be Serralunga fruit. My WOTN. (98 pts.)
  • 1964 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino Speciale - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    At 3pm: Good fruit on the nose and up front. Some oxidation on the finish.
    At 9:45pm: Complex sour cherry, but a bit too much oxidation. I expected more from this strong vintage. (92 pts.)
  • 1968 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino Speciale - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    At 3pm: Rich, tart red fruit. Lovely nose. Quite youthful.
    At 9:45pm: Rich, dark sour cherry fruit. Interesting and complex on its own. The fruit comes out more strongly with the meat. Impressive showing for a generally weak vintage. (93 pts.)

Flight 4: 1934 and 1939 Monfortino
Camembert, Toma, and a soft goat cheese.

  • 1934 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino Stravecchio - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    At 3:45pm: Maderized. May show something with some air.
    At 10:15pm: Oxidized, but like a Madeira. It is sweet and nutty. Kind of appealing with the soft goat cheese. (91 pts.)
  • 1939 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    At 3:45pm: Cherry Sherry. Oxidized. Still, has some fruit. May come around. Let’s serve this at the end with a cheese course.
    At 10:15pm: Perhaps the most positively changed wine since opening around 3pm. Now, it is sweet with orange peel and sour cherries. A stunning transformation! This appears to be the first tasting note on any 1939 Barolo on CellarTracker! (93 pts.)

Torta di Almonde: Almond Cake with Candied Hazelnuts and Mascarpone Cream.

I have been fortunate to taste Monfortino from the 1950s and 60s before, but never bottles from the 1930s or 40s. The 1958 and 1964 were disappointing, but the beautiful 1941 and 1968 and the truly great bottles of 1952, 1955, and 1961 made this a very special and unique tastings. The terrific and well-matched food didn’t hurt either.

Posted from CellarTracker

What happened to the wines between 3:30PM and 8:30PM/10:15PM?

They stood in the basement with the corks stuck back in loosely.

Slow ox works fine
Great tasting, thanks. Very interesting to see that none of the recent, often consumed, Monfortinos from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s were included.

The cork on that '61 is in amazing condition!

They were all in relatively excellent conditions. Most of the bottles had been purchased at the winery on release, then stored in one cellar until recently.

I would have liked to have seen one young one included, but they were trying to keep the price at a reasonable level.