Back in the 1980’s and earlier one wouldn’t think of drinking a Barolo that was less than 20 years old. Nebbiolo, the grape used to make Barolo, is a late ripening variety which in some years never reached full ripeness. Even in good years the tannins in nebbilolo took decades to mellow to the point of being palatable. Wait a few decades however, and Barolo would release the delicate, floral beauty hidden below its rough exterior. Over the years, global warming, combined with modern vinification techniques allow consumers to drink many Barolo bottlings upon release.
Fontanafredda recently celebrated its 160th year. While its history runs deep, today it makes wines which combine the modern style of Barolo while maintaining the sense of place it has developed over the past century and a half. I sat down with Alberto Frea, Brand Ambassador of Fontanafredda, to talk about this history and terroir, and what it is that makes their wines so special.
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John Lenart with Alberto Frea, Brand Ambassador, Fontanafredda
2013 Fontanafredda Barolo D.O.C.G.
Very pretty and delicate garnet color. Earthy aromas combine with violet, fresh red berries and herbs in a complex nose. Flavors of cherry, strawberry and pomegranate are backed by eucalyptus notes finishing with velvety but strong tannin and great acidity.
2012 Fontanafredda Serralunga d’ Alba Barolo
Amazing aroma. Fresh roses, red berries, leather, cocoa burst from the glass, Muscular tannins lead the way to flavors of red cherries, and spices. Hints of oak show through but should integrate with a few years of age. Great weight and acidity.
2013 Fontanafredda Barolo Proprietà in Fontanafredda MGA
Barolo has a new designation, “MGA” or menzioni geografiche aggiuntive, which basically means grown on a site known for exceptional quality. Essentially a grand cru.
The pretty color of this wine announces its elegance. Fresh nose of complex aromas headlined by fresh cherry, earthiness, and violets. Well integrated flavors of berries, licorice and a distinct minerality are given backbone by youthful tannins which will mellow with a few years of age and mouth watering acidity. You’ll be thrilled with this wine if you have the patience to give it five to eight years of cellaring.