If one looks to Castiglione, as I did last week, for indications regarding the overall quality of a vintage, then one can look to Monforte for signs of the cracks in that vintage. In Monforte, one finds a very broad spectrum of producers experimenting with virtually every style of Barolo known. While some producers are consistently finding their groove, many others are finding that what works in one vintage may be totally inappropriate for another. Nowhere is that more likely to happen than in Monforte.
Unlike the other major communes of Barolo, the valleys of Monforte don't stick closely to a north/south orientation. While the eastern half of Monforte does share this orientation with neighboring Serralunga, the western half is dominated by two distinct hills, one at Bussia, the other at Panerole. This distinct topography creates a more diverse system of meso-climates within Monforte, creating challenges for producers in relatively highly regarded vintages.
Please also see:
Barolo 2006 - Castiglione Falletto
Barolo 2006 - La Morra
Barolo 2006 - Verduno
Barolo 2006 - Barolo
Barolo 2006 - Serralunga
161 distinct vineyards covering 347 hectares/857 acres or 19% of Barolo vineyards
While not the biggest commune in Barolo, Monforte is probably the least consistant stylistically. Making up the heart of the southern half of the appellation, one finds predominantly Helvetian soils here, but the topography allows for both big, powerful wines that benefit from plenty of warmth, as well as more delicate wines, sometimes even a bit herbal, coming from the more exposed hillsides that form the southern border of Monforte.
Having said that, the best wines of the appellation tend to come from vineyard sites that border Castiglione to the north or Serralunga to the east. In each case, the wines share more with their neighbors across the boundary than each other.
Vineyards of note:
Santo Stefano di Perno
Producers of note:
Rocche dei Manzoni