The 2006 Barolo Cascina Francia is a deep, muscular wine endowed with superb richness, inner perfume and structure. From cask this has always been an intense, inward Barolo and now that it is in bottle, those qualities seem even more prominent. Over time, the classic Cascina Francia bouquet of roses, tar, herbs and licorice comes forward, but only reluctantly. A massive wall of tannins prevents the fruit from emerging, but every now and then the wine shows hints of its ultimate potential. The finish alone is breathtakingly beautiful for its balance and inner sense of harmony. The 2006 is not as showy young as other recent great vintages such as 2001 or 2004, so I will not be surprised if it is overlooked, but it is a magnificent Barolo that only needs time, and lots of it. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2046. Few properties are so closely linked with a single site as Giacomo Conterno. Since 1978 the Cascina Francia vineyard in Serralunga, a monopole holding, has been the source of all of the estate‚Äôs wines, including the Baroli Cascina Francia and Monfortino, rightly considered by most observers as among the most profound wines in the world. Needless to say, it was big news when proprietor Roberto Conterno purchased three hectares in Ceretta, also in Serralunga, in 2008. Would the new wines reflect the same house aesthetic as the wines from Cascina Francia, or would the terroir of Ceretta be the dominant factor? Could Ceretta yield wines of similar importance as those of Cascina Francia? After all, Cascina Francia was a cornfield with a few old vines from a past life when the Conternos purchased it in 1974. These were some of the questions Barolo lovers asked, and now, two years later some answers have begun to emerge. The first, and most obvious, is that the new wines are loaded with the Conterno house style. That said, they are works in progress. Roberto Conterno took over his parcels in Cerretta in mid-2008, after which he had the misfortune of suffering through several hailstorms. When I visited the new vineyards in the summer of 2008 Conterno told me he thought it would take two to three years for the vines to respond to his methods of viticulture. Clearly 2008 is not the optimal vintage by which to measure the ultimate potential of these wines, but there appears to be much to look forward to based on the 2009s I tasted from barrel recently. All of that said, the star among these new releases is without question the 2002 Monfortino, a wine that is destined to carve a place for itself as one of the greatest wines ever made. That it is the product of a vintage that was disastrous for nearly every other producer in Piedmont will only add to the shroud of mystique that has surrounded this wine since its birth.