Renato Corino, Rocche dell-Annunziata, Barolo 2011

Renato Corino, Rocche dell-Annunziata, Barolo 2011
When a remarkably skilled winemaker at the helm of the leading estate purchases a new vineyard, Simon thinks it is worth taking note.
Cantina Giacomo Conterno makes the finest Barolo, namely Monfortino, which has assumed legendary status on the back of so many great vintages. Monfortino is essentially a selection from within the Francia vineyard; the best fruit that the vineyard has to offer goes towards Monfortino which - given its exulted position - trades for over £2500 per case of 6 bottles in most vintages. The rest of the vineyard’s production heads into the Barolo Francia, which typically sells at £600 per case of six bottles. Monfortino is, however, only made in vintages where the quality is deemed high enough, and it is this approach to quality that has underwritten the wine's dominant position as the Barolo par excellence.
In 2008, Roberto Conterno took the bold step of purchasing three hectares of a well-situated vineyard also in Serralunga d’Alba. This represented the first acquisition by the estate in over 38 years and added two hectares of Nebbiolo and one of Barbera to their holdings. The Cerretta vineyard is situated on the lower half of the Serralunga hill on a terroir of part clay and part limestone soils. This is a cooler site and tends to produce streamlined, graceful Barolo with a fine aromatic lift and ageing potential.  
In his first year of ownership Roberto Conterno opted to declassify the entire production of Cerretta to Langhe Nebbiolo – despite the evident quality of the vintage  –  and then again in 2009. It takes time for a grower to understand and set up a new vineyard correctly, and Conterno’s perfectionism meant he would wait for a vintage that lived up to his aspirations before producing a Barolo from this site. When he did launch his first Barolo from this site, it was from the 2010 vintage, one of the truly great vintages of Barolo in recent memory. The 2010 Cerretta was incredibly well-received, earning a 100 point score from James Suckling straight out the blocks and a 96+ point rating from Antonio Galloni.  Galloni commented that the 2010 Cerretta was ‘shaping up to be magical’ …not bad for an inaugural release.
The 2011 Cerretta has only just been released and has not yet been widely tasted. Galloni, who has tasted, made an interesting point in his note when comparing Cerretta to Barolo Francia. No Monfortino was produced in 2011, so the Francia benefitted from that fruit component. Although the Cerretta in only its fourth vintage (and only its second release as a fully-fledged Barolo), the fact that it measures up so well against the Francia speaks volumes about Roberto Conterno’s skill in crafting stunning Barolo.
The future is set bright for this vineyard and this producer. The quality of the Barolo Cerretta, as evidenced by just two vintages, is enough to suggest that this new wine will rapidly be established among the leading examples of Barolo. In general, the 2011s may not rival the near uniform success of the 2010  vintage, but there are some real stand outs that should not be missed. The Cerretta is clearly one of them.  
We are very pleased to have secured a parcel of Cerretta in the 2011 vintage, particularly given that only 300 dozen are produced on average in any one year.
2011 Barolo, Cerretta, Giacomo Conterno
£630 per 6 bottle case in bond

(94-96) points, Antonio Galloni
The 2011 Barolo Cerretta is fabulous. Next to the more floral/savory Francia, the Barolo Cerretta presents greater density and overall volume today, both qualities are very nicely aligned with the style of the year. The flavors are bold and intense, with plenty of dark red cherry, plum, spice, cedar and new leather. Roberto Conterno told me he would need 2-3 years to get Cerretta in shape when we first walked the vineyard together during the days his acquistion was being finalized. Judging by the most recent vintages here, it looks like he is right on schedule. This is a fabulous vintage for the Cerretta, especially considering the Francia includes fruit that could have gone into a Monfortino bottling! 2018 -2036. 
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