During the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, the Conternos could produce their epic Barolos by relying on small, independent farmers who worked their old, low-yielding vines. But by the 1970s, those farmers began increasingly to make their own wines. Threatened with the loss of their fruit sources, Giovanni acquired Serralunga’s great Cascina Francia vineyard. With its fabulous exposure, and predominately calcareous soil, the site was perfect for the powerful Conterno style, and soon Cascina Francia became the sole source of their wines.
Since 1978, both Barolos—Monfortino and Cascina Francia—have been sourced exclusively from Cascina Francia. Monfortino represents, of course, a selection of the best grapes in the greatest years. But it also made differently, first undergoing an uncontrolled fermentation at relatively high temperatures. On average, Monfortino also remains an additional three years longer in large oak casks (botti). Monfortino’s extra aging in cask, says Roberto, is a consequence of the extraordinary structure, power and concentration of the wine.