Poderi Aldo Conterno belongs to an elite group of historical Barolo producers who have truly shaped the history of winemaking in the Langhe.
The essential resource the Wine Atlas of the Langhe writes: “Gran Bussia is universally acknowledged as one of the finest interpretations of Barolo. Created in 1970 from a selection of the estate’s best grapes, Gran Bussia – released only in the best vintages – has shown how it is possible to achieve a perfect marriage of aromas and flavor with unhurried cellaring. Recent tastings of all the vintages have confirmed the staying power of the wine, which exalts the majestic nose of Nebbiolo while offering a palate that becomes increasingly velvety with the passing years.”
The story of Poderi Aldo Conterno is a tale of great passion for winemaking that winds back through the generations and crosses international borders. It starts in the 19th century, when the forefathers of Aldo Conterno emigrated to Argentina. After only a few years they went back to Italy to the small family farm and winery in Monforte d’Alba where they returned to producing the local wine. With their return, the Conterno family increased the production of wine, to be sold in casks not only in Piedmont and Liguria but as far away as the Americas, thanks to a relative who had stayed out in Argentina. At this time, the Conternos felt the need to create a superior Barolo, to be produced exclusively in the best vintages, which saw long vinification periods and was extremely ageworthy. In the 1920s, the first Barolo Riserva was bottled. At the end of the ’30s, the business was handed over to son Giacomo, who continued his father’s tradition with commitment and foresight, while teaching the business to his sons Giovanni and Aldo.
In the mid-’50s, Aldo set out for the United States, hoping to establish a winemaking business in California, with the help of an uncle who lived there. Upon his return to the family business in Italy around 1961, father Giacomo handed over the winery to his sons: it was a thriving and prestigious business, recognized throughout most of the country. Yet, the five-year experience in the United States had kindled within Aldo a desire to establish a business of his own. After working for a considerable time alongside his brother, Aldo bought the “Favot” farm, founding the estate “Poderi Aldo Conterno” in 1969.
The farmhouse is situated in the Bussia hamlet, a section of the Monforte d’Alba village. At present, the farm comprises about 25 hectares of vineyards considered to be some of the very best plots in all of the Langhe. At an altitude of about 400 meters above sea level, the terrain is oriented south-southwest and is composed of gray-brown compact layers of sandy soil alternating with white and bluish calcareous marls, rich with calcium carbonate and iron. All fruit is strictly hand harvested in mid-October. Fermentation occurs in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks. The estate’s four Barolos are vinified in the same manner: they are all fermented in horizontal fermenters, “which are different from the more violent rotary fermenters” according to Conterno. Fermentation and maceration lasts 2-3 weeks, depending on the vintage. The wines are then aged exclusively in Slavonian-oak casks ranging from 25 to 75 hectoliters, which are changed every 15-18 years. Selected yeasts are never used. The wines are remarkably approachable and tend to show a lot of sweet fruit in their youths as well as notes of spices and vanilla. These are very clean and polished wines of great elegance. All the other wines are aged in French-oak barriques.