Fontanafredda : An Italian Winery in the Heart of the Langhe
Named Wine Enthusiast’s 2017 European Winery of the Year, Fontanafredda has been making wine since the 19th century, and is one if the biggest and well known producers in the heart of the Langhe. The estate stretches over 160 ha covering the villages of Serralunga d’Alba, Barolo and Diano d’Alba Fontanafredda, and since 2016 they have been converting to organic farming.
It is no secret that the winery has had its ups and downs in years past, but quality has been steadily improving the past ten years, and today is owned by Luca Baffigo Filangieri, Oscar Farinetti ( also owner of the Turin based Eataly luxury supermarket chain and now President of Fontanafredda) and the Monte dei Paschi de Siena Foundation.
“We are a huge winery but we are a family run business.”, says Lucca Martini, brand ambassador for Fontanafredda. I met Lucca at a tasting event held by Vins Philippe Dandurand at the lovely St. James Club here in Montreal. The presentation was interesting and animated to say the very least, but in the end, it was the wine that stole the show. Overall they showed lots of complexity, balance and, especially with the younger vintages, lots of promise.
Like most wineries in recent years, Fontanafredda is slowly working towards being certified organic. “We do not advertise this. You will not see this on our website. It is something we believe in and we don’t want to be defined by that primarily.”– Luca Martini
Fontanafredda is working with Vino Libero, an association of twelve different wineries and one distillery where their goal is to produce wine that is free from chemical fertilizers, herbicides and using at least 40% less sulphites below the legal limit. Whether they want to advertise this or not, it is a huge project to say the very least, because all 450 farmers in the area who work for the company will also have to adhere to organic farming.
Not only a wine destination, Fontanafredda is an amazing place for anyone who also enjoys fine dining and luxury accommodation. They have a 4 star hotel along with a guesthouse, top restaurant and wine bar, and even a forest area titled, ‘The Wood of Thoughts’ reserved for a 12 stage journey of meditation.
Fontanafredda can be found in most wine shops, and there any number of them here in Quebec at the SAQ at all different price points. The following 3 wines is what I would highly recommend to introduce oneself to the Fontanafredda portfolio, all of which are affordable, enjoyable and most importantly, delightful to drink.
A special thank you to agency Vins Philippe Dandurands and Luca Martini of Fontanafredda for this lovely tasting.
Fontanafredda Gavi 2016
SAQ: 11213108 $19.95
Made with 100% of the Cortese grapre, this attractive white has notes of candied lemon- lime, ripe pear and bits of crushed almonds. The palate is plump and balanced by a bright acidity keeping the wine concentrated and refreshing. The finish is full and elegant with a saline aftertaste. Great quality wine at a great price. Drink now or in the next 2 years.
Fontanafredda Raimonda Barbera d’Alba
SAQ: 11905606 $15.55
This wine is everything I love about Barbera; lush notes of blackberries, bits of sour cherries, and plums interwoven with notes of violet and dried leaves. It has an acidity that is super refreshing and tannins that are subtle yet grippy, adding complexity and texture. The finish is refreshing and with red fruit flavors that carry on through the palate. Drink now in the next 2-3 years.
Fontanafredda Barolo 2013
SAQ: 00020214 $28.55
With a very good backbone of acidity, this wine gives notes of concentrated cherries and strawberries with nuances of leather and underbrush. The tannins are firm and gum drying, but will develop nicely given some time. An intense wine that is full of freshness and finesse. Lingering aftertaste. Highly recommend this Barolo given the price. Drink now or in the next 7-8 years.