On the Road with the Grape Guy

FontanaFredda : Hello Barolo Week

21 Dec 2022

Glasses of Fredda(October 2022) ... The Italian winery FontanaFredda rolled into Toronto with its concept of “Barolo Week”; a week to promote Barolo wine (made from the Nebbiolo grape and found in Piedmont); an event they established in 2016 to advocate for this prestigious wine and promote its possibilities of by the glass pours at restaurants. The restaurant we found ourselves at was Eataly, a 42 store franchise that promotes all things Italy; especially food and wine. The shop is loaded with every kind of food-stuff from Italy you can imagine, plus wine, even in Toronto – kudos to them for embracing the bottle shop concept. This store is also surrounded by, at my count, at least three in-house restaurants. Today's lunch was shared plates to pair with the six wines poured.

FontanaFredda is a winery that dates back to 1858 and has royal blood backing, the first owner was the King of Italy. Barolo wines, or the concept of Barolo wines, were created in the 1830s, and in the 1870s is when the real commercial production of the wine begins with the first wines entering the US market in 1878. The history of these wines goes back some 60 years here in Ontario, with the first FontanaFredda wine hitting the LCBO shelves in 1962 (a 1958 vintage). FontanaFredda is a 110-hectare vineyard that's surrounds the winery.

Recent FontanaFreddaAs previously mentioned, six wines were poured for tasting, three from the current 2018 vintage; plus some back vintage: 2016, 1996 and 2010.

2018 Serralunga Organic
The first time the Serralunga designation appears on the label is in 1988. According to Alberto Frea, export manager, who led us on the tasting, 2018 was a FontanaFredda kinda vintage with a rainy June, then a more regular growing season and harvest: "This creates a more approachable wine," he says. Cranberry, leather, balsamic and coffee bean greet the nose; the palate seems a little fuller, but with good acidity, along with some sour cherry and subtle spice.  (*** ½+)

2018 Barolo Proprieta in FontanaFredda
Ripe cherry, black, raspberry and mocha, are all available to the olfactories, but the predominant thing here is red fruit. The palate brings with it spiced-cherry, peppered-strawberry, good acidity and a lovely length of finish.  (****+)

2018 Barolo Vigna La Rosa
The vineyard is named after a woman that the king's son was truly in love with and became his second wife after his first "passed away". There's a slight hint of VA here, but it does blow off, revealing plenty of cherry and cranberry. The palate is smooth and supple with nice acidity on the finish; neither the acidity nor the tannins are too aggressive, with the acidity showing up on the second sip and the tannins on the 3rd. There's a nice long finish here as well.  (****)

Older Vintages … Older FontanaFredda

2016 Barolo Vigna La Rosa
The nose far outweighs the palate here: sweet cherry, mocha and strawberry – while the palate proves to be too aggressive; still very young.

1996 Barolo Vigna La Rosa
Coffee, mocha and leather dominate with very little in the way of fruit showing, even in a dried or fruit leathery state.

2010 Barolo Riserva
Outstandingly sippable wine that has lots going for it. Approachable now and ready for primetime; it's also amazingly food friendly: plenty of mocha, cherry and spice on the nose and palate; body is well preserved, still has good acid balance and a lovely freshness while the tannins have a way of hanging on without getting in the way. If you have any, drink up or at least try one now. You will not be disappointed. Best wine of the tasting.


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