A&G Natale Fantino, Barolo, Monforte D’ Alba, Italy


Barolo Cellar

While in Berlin visiting a good friend of my girlfriend (now wife) we met a young artist who was into wine. We had a great conversation about wine making philosophies and about the pressure people like Robert Parker and wine spectator reviews have done for certain regions. At the end we both agreed that diversity is beautful and authenticity is scarscley accompanied by quality. I mentioned I was heading to Italy to drive down some of the wine regions. As the night went on we kind of hit it off and he

Fast forward a few months, I am picking Francesco and Linda up from the airport in Milano (I was six hours late :-{) and headed to Piedmonte. As we were driving, I asked Francesco to call a few wineries I wanted to visit. He said I didn’t need to “it’s Italy” you don’t need appointments followed by: “you can taste wines where we are staying”. OK, I trusted in the man and went on.

We arrived at the winery in the center of town with one of the tallest towers and best views. Alessandro greeted us like family and cooked some Piedmontese beef, vegetables and zucchinis from his fathers garden. He also opened a bottle of wine for us, it was amazing.

The next day we toured the vineyards and the winery then we tasted the rest of his wines.

Alessandro studied enology in Alba and he trained and made wine for Bartolo Marcarello one of the great masters of traditional Barolo. There with Mascarello is where he developed his idea for traditional Barolo. The brothers reunited to take over their family estate and began work in 1996.

Their Vigna dei Dardi is located in Bussia. While their wines showcase the classic tannins from Barolo’s, they tend to soften up earlier and develop their earthy porcini notes around 10-15 years. This makes them excellent for pairing with white truffles and delicate foods.

Barolo-Web

Barolo 2006

With fragrant notes of dry roses, hints of cherry leaf and tobacco, this wine is elegant and refined, powerful and stately, with great concentration and refinement. As you taste the wine, the floral notes turn to darker fruit, with licorice, bing cherries and fresh sandy notes. The acidity is high but well-integrated with the fruit and earthy notes. The finish is long with pronounced tannins. This wine is absolutely beautiful and ready to be enjoyed.

Aged a minimum of 38 months in botti (large oak casks) with the Nebbiolo coming from 60+ year old vines in Vigna dei Dardi. The south-facing slopes get gentle sunlight during the morning while the Helvetian soils allow for firm tannins (not as firm as Serralunga). This exposure and soil allow the grapes to ripen and mature slowly developing the tannins and maintain the acidity. Tannins and acid are the two major factors in the longevity of a wine and A&G Fantinos Barolos have both! Stay tuned I might have to open a 1996 Barolo from Fantino to find out how they age past 15 years.

Barbera D’ Alba

Co-planted with Nebbiolo in Vigna dei Dardi and of exceptionally old Barbera the brothers are creating truly refined and complex Barbera. With dark plum skins, gravelly notes and stern tannins, this wine is serious drinking. Don’t even compare it to the fruity bubbly stuff. This is tradition and terroir at a great price.

Rosso Dei Dardi 2010

Coming from young Nebbiolo (27-year-old vines) this everyday wine is full of ripe red fruit, hints of spice and a little brett (brettanomyces) note to add interest to the wine. Great acidity to balance the fruity ripeness. You can have it with or without food but it’s at its best with company.

Want to try these wines? Check out Soil & Vine or join our wine club!

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