WA97: I tasted the Giacomo Conterno 2017 Barolo Francia shortly before bottling. Like Roberto Conterno's other wines from this controversial vintage, this wine shines with brilliant and unexpected purity and intensity that is harder to find in its peers. It shows a deep understanding of the potential of a warm growing season, and the Nebbiolo is supple, velvety and uncharacteristically exuberant (for a grape whose elegance starts famously with understatement). Francia in Serralunga d'Alba evokes power and profound depth, with black and purple fruit highlights, rusty nail, crème de cassis, grilled rosemary and reddish rock or baked terracotta. The wine carries its considerable fruit weight with grace, and at the end of the day, it offers a complete portrait of vintage, variety and vintner.