2016 Poderi Aldo Conterno Langhe Chardonnay Bussiador
Chardonnay at Poderi Aldo Conterno is no mere afterthought. Like their father before them, the brothers Conterno are dead serious about Chardonnay and have dedicated some of their best vineyard land, right in the heart of the Bussia cru, to its production. As a result, many consider theirs to be the best Chardonnay in all of Piemonte and, some say, in all of Italy. Their mature vines, planted in an area that could just as easily produce prime Bussia Barolo, produce tiny yields of wildly intense Chardonnay fruit with incredible natural acidity.
The Conternos make the wine just like white Burgundy. They ferment and age it in new French barriques, stir its lees frequently and allow the wine to undergo a cool and slow malolactic fermentation that can last until the spring after the harvest. They call the wine Bussiador, literally ‘the Gold of Bussia,’ and that’s the first thing you’ll notice about the wine, its beautiful golden color. Then comes an exotic bouquet of white flowers, ripe pineapples, skinned hazelnuts, clove-y spice, blood orange and melted mineral. It’s ultra-rich and mouth filling but with much the same kind of finesse and backbone of a top-of-the-slope Chassagne-Montrachet from Burgundy.
The other thing about this wine is its remarkable ability to age. We’ve had ten-year old Bussiador in Italy that was fresh as a daisy! I remember opening one particular grossly mishandled bottle with nearly an inch of headspace, a bulging cork and a label so dry it was curling off, that was absolutely memorable! Just think of how well it will cellar if you take care of it.