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, cr�me 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.
VM97: The 2017 Barolo Francia is dense, rich and explosive right out of the gate. There is virtually no feeling of tannin, as the creaminess of the fruit is so expansive. Bright red cherry fruit, blood orange, kirsch, sage and menthol gradually appear as the 2017 starts to open in the glass. In 2017, Francia is decidedly exotic, not to mention such a thrill to taste.