The 2003 Barolo Cascina Francia is a remarkable wine for the vintage. This deep, powerful Barolo reveals awesome richness and an almost liqueur-like quality to its fruit that is balanced by the chalky mineral notes that provide freshness on the finish and help convey an impression of notable balance. In 2003 there is no Monfortino, and the Cascina Francia surely benefits from the addition of that juice which is mostly felt in the wine’s depth. Resisting the temptation to harvest too early, Roberto Conterno waited until October 8 to start picking in his Cascina Francia vineyard, long after most producers had already brought the fruit in. He had the benefit of the late September rains that helped restore at least a little freshness to the fruit, and as a result his 2003 Cascina Francia doesn’t have the aggressive tannins that plague so many wines. Simply put, this is a stunning Barolo made all the more notable by the challenging conditions the vintage presented. (AG)
The 2003 Barolo Cascina Francia is soft, silky and very nicely balanced, especially in its tannins, where the wine really stands out next to so many peers. Readers should open the 2003 at least an hour in advance to allow the aromatics to open up. This is a very sexy and open young Barolo from Conterno with very little signs of the challenging growing season.
Good medium red with an amber rim. Fresh aromas of raspberry and nutty oak, with some surprising minerality for the vintage ('but 1997 is more minerally,' says Conterno). Fat, sweet and rich if not particularly complex, with flavors of raspberry, strawberry and minerals and an absence of green elements. Still, this does not show the normal verve of Barolo from this estate. The tannins are a tad dry. 'Not complex but easy to drink,' says Conterno. 'It's a nice wine for Barolo beginners.' Conterno told me he did not start harvesting Nebbiolo in 2003 until October 8, and even then there was only moderate phenolic ripeness.
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