Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Meet the producer: Fontanafredda, Piedmont, Italy

Fontanafredda was originally owned by Italy's first king, Vittorio Emanuele II, no less, and it was founded in 1858, three years before Italy was unified under his leadership. One reason why Barolo is often referred to as "the wine of kings" as well as "the king of wines". Much has changed since then, Italy is a republic, but the name stuck.

Today the new owner is Oscar Farinetti, the famous founder of Eataly, and Fontanafredda is more than a vineyard, it is a community. At one point over 300 families shared their lives there, and had their school, their church. A large enterprise, that in 2018 became the largest organic producer in Piedmont.

It is open to the public 365 days a year, book your tasting session in advance!

Today's speaker at a masterclass organized by Enotria&Coe at the London Wine Fair 2022, is Roberto Bruno. Originally from Piedmont, he joined Fontanafredda in 1991 and is now Managing Director. Here is a selection of my tasting notes.

Gavi DOCG del Comune di Gavi (organic) 2021
Cortese 100%
Soft pressing and no skin contact. Low temperature fermentation (18°C, 85% in steel and 15% in barrique). A very fresh wine, to be drunk chilled during a warm Summer evening with simple and delicate food.
Score 84

Langhe DOC Nebbiolo Grappolo Intero 2020
Nebbiolo 100%
Obtained by fermenting part pressed must and part whole grape bunches, as harvested from the vine.
Fermentation in steel at 28°C for 10-12 days.
A fairly hard wine that may find its balance with further aging in the bottle.
Score 82

Barolo DOCG Serralunga d'Alba 2018
Nebbiolo 100%
Traditional fermentation, 15 days of skin contact.
Also a hard wine, definitely too young now.
Score 84

The name of Vittorio Emanuele II's mistress, Rosa, denotes a top of the range wine at Fontanafredda. We were lucky to have a chance for a vertical tasting.

Barolo DOCG Fontanafredda Vigna La Rosa 2016
Nebbiolo 100%
Grapes are delivered to the cella destemmed but not crushed and fermentation begins with indigenous yeasts at 28 to 30 °C.
Fruit and tannins are well amalgamated. A balanced, structured wine that is ready now but can easily evolve a few more years.
Score 92

Barolo DOCG Fontanafredda Vigna La Rosa 2011
Nebbiolo 100%
Ready now.
Score 92

Barolo DOCG Fontanafredda Vigna La Rosa 1998
Nebbiolo 100%
Fantastic wine, with all the elements of balance, complexity and length to deserve to be called harmonious.
Mature now, don't wait any longer, in fact it was probably at its peak a few years ago.
Score 94.

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