Piedmont Week - Monday - the Historic Wines of Fontanafredda

4/6/15 -

(Emanuele di Mirafiore, illegitimate son of King Vittorio Emanuele, inherited Fontanafredda in 1878. The property remained in family hands until 1927.)

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 owners, one of the kings of Italian retail. I confess to ignoring Fontanafredda for a long time, as the wines didn’t have a very good image. Then in 2007 we were invited to a big vertical tasting there; I moaned and groaned, but thankfully Gregory Dal Piaz insisted 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. Jamie Wolff

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