Alessandro Fantino spent two decades working at one of Barolo’s best-known aziende before teaming up with his brother Gian Natale to produce a lineup of wines that bear the family name. But while this Fantino operation is small and modest in terms of manpower and marketing reach, the brothers’ wines are grand. They represent the pinnacle of Barolo from the slice of the region called Bussia (boo-SEE-uh), just north of Monforte d’Alba. Their Nebbiolo vines are planted exclusively in this cru, in a section called “Dardi,” a hillside with perfect southern and southeastern exposure in the geographic center of Bussia. These wines offer textbook, traditional Piemontese pleasure.
The Barbera grape is a bit of a chameleon, able to produce bottlings that are light and lunch-friendly as well as more complex and robust. The Fantinos have made Barbera both ways in the past—the result really comes down to which way the vintage points. Vintage 2018 guided them to craft a more structured and refined Barbera that will reward you many times over the next five years. Check out this recipe for squab and brussels sprouts created by chef Chris Lee as a perfect pairing for the Fantinos’ Barbera.
This Barolo easily clears the bar of the 2013 vintage’s high expectations. What a complete and mesmerizing wine! Its soaring aromas of cherries, roses, iron, and spices will have you wanting to revisit the glass over and over.
The Riserva sees longer fermentation and aging than the Barolo above, spending five years in Slavonian oak barrel as opposed to four. Of the three wines here, this is the most enthralling, profound, and age-worthy, and it’s versatile enough to pair with all kinds of heartier dishes, from grilled venison to braised oxtails. You’ll be happy you bought a case to enjoy over the next decade or two.
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