Fontanfredda Barolo, revisited

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The historical importance of Fontanafredda for Barolo cannot be overstated; it’s one of the oldest and largest properties in the region, and one of the first to estate-bottle and market under its own label. This is beautifully related in Kerin O’Keefe’s “Barolo and Barbaresco”, and it’s quite a story, starting with the Kings of Italy, and arriving in the present with the current owner, one of the kings of Italian retail. I confess to ignoring Fontanafredda for a long time. Then in 2007 we were invited to a big vertical tasting there; I moaned and groaned, but thankfully Gregory Dal Piaz insisted that we go. We tasted about a dozen wines, back to 1961, and we discovered that the old vintages are very fine, classic wines. Subsequent tastings have reinforced this, and the relatively reasonable prices of the wines is also a fine thing.

What’s happened since last spring when the text above was originally published? We’ve received another group of old Fontanafredda from an Italian collection, but more importantly we had a chance to taste a number of vintages (1958, 1961, 1967, 1971, 1978, 1982, 1988). All of the wines showed well; standouts for me were the 1958, 1961, 1971, and 1978; the 1980s were fine too.

All of the colored land is Fontanafredda (about 150 acres), with sub-zones noted. With thanks to Enogea (and        apologies for the not-great reproduction).                                                                                                                

 

The property of the estate of Fontanafredda is a large hill, the northernmost part of the ridge that makes up Serralunga. It’s been beautiful to see the transformation of Fontanafredda in recent years after the current owner began to convert to organic farming; what once looked like vines in a moonscape is now fully green and healthy. Per the above map, some of the Barolos with specific names (La Delizia, La Rosa, etc) are sub-zones of this vineyard (which like the estate is now officially called Fontanafredda). Lazzarito is also in Serralunga, to the south of Fontanafredda. La Villa (a monopole of Fontanafredda's) is a subzone of Paiagallo, in the town of Barolo. As you might expect, when you taste the wines together, each cru has a distinct character. Jamie Wolff

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