With the vineyard designation 'Cascina Francia – Serralunga d’Alba' clearly on the label, the 1990 Barolo Cascina Francia is a true specimen of Nebbiolo excellence. Giovanni Conterno purchased the celebrated vineyard in 1974 and the first vintage released was 1978 (although the vineyard name was only identified starting with the 1980 release). Current proprietor Robert Conterno would start working by his father’s side in 1988, so this bottle bears the personal touches of both generations. The wine is amazingly impactful and elegant with a profound sense of varietal pureness. The bouquet opens to licorice, cola, dried cherries, prune, truffle, menthol after-tones and hickory smoke. The lingering effects are buoyant and bright. Silky tannins wrap gently on the finish and the wine feels polished and smooth with superb textural finesse. There’s a profound life force within that will pay it forward for another decade of cellar aging, or more. Make time to decant 12 to 18 hours before drinking this wine. Drink: 2014-2030.
The 1990 Barolo Cascina Francia comes across as much more classic and old-school next to the 1999. Layered and expressive, the 1990 also shows some slightly frayed edges. This is a very good bottle, but not the most perfect example I have had.