The Giacomo Conterno 2016 Barolo Arione is a wine that opens gradually to show increased definition and richness. The word "spessore" is "thickness" in English; however, the Italian word denotes a little more grace, making "ampleness" or "plenitude" perhaps a more perfect translation. Those are exactly the right terms to describe this wine and, generally speaking, fruit from the Arione MGA. As Roberto Conterno once said to me, "Francia is elegance and Arione is power." Distinctive notes of blackberry, iron, black earth and tarry smoke lift from the bouquet. The generous fruit is backed by etched and firmly structured tannic contouring. ML
The 2016 Barolo Arione is a sort of synthesis between the Cerretta and Francia. It has the red fruit profile and floral overtones of the former with a feeling of structure that recalls the later. Arione Barolos always have a distinctly wild, feral quality strong on iron and mineral notes, which is very much the case here. Logically, the 2016 needs a bit of time to soften, but it is super-impressive. It is perhaps a bit less polished than the Francia, but it also has a phenomenally long, classically austere finish. It’s the sort of wine I would like to spend a few hours with. In 2016, there is no Monfortino, so all of the Arione wine is in this bottling, unlike 2015, when a portion was blended into Monfortino.
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