Conterno Fantino Barolo Sori Ginestra 2004
About the Region
Piedmont produces red wines of equal (some would say superior) quality to those of Tuscany, especially the two giants made from the nebbiolo grape, barolo and barbaresco, which come from the Langhe region around the city of Alba. These wines are big and tannic, with little fruit apparent in their youth (at least in the traditional-style versions), but can develop great elegance and complexity with age. They are considered an apt accompaniment to Piedmont's other great gastronomic treasure, white truffles (though, curiously, good vintage years for barolo and barbaresco are usually bad years for truffles, and vice versa). The barbera and dolcetto grapes produce excellent wines, juicy and full-bodied, in various parts of the region, with barbera d'Alba and barbera d'Asti being particularly well-regarded. A famous spumante (sparkling wine) is made in Asti, from muscat grapes. White wines in the region are considered less distinguished, but there are some very agreeable ones, produced from cortese, arneis, and other local grapes. As with most parts of Italy, in recent decades, many international varieties have been planted here, among them chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, and syrah, some of them producing wines of great quality.