Traditional lore in Piemonte's Langhe hills dictates that the best sites to plant Nebbiolo are those where the snow melts first. These are generally south-facing hillsides, where an abundance of direct sun ripens Nebbiolo to its fullest. The Bussia vineyard-and especially the Dardi subsection, home to the Fantino brothers' holdingsundoubtedly represents one of the warmer crus in the Barolo zone, its steep grade and southern exposure ensuring maximum sunshine each vintage. The excellent situation of Bussia and the brothers' expert touch yields a Barolo with the best of all worlds: great typicity, soaring aromatics, fine structure, loads of complexity... While it certainly has classic grippy tannins and firm acidity, its powerful core seems concealed behind a silkiness of fruit that is uncommon for the King of Wines when young. It can be held for many years, but the generous aroma and soft edges make this young Barolo hard to resist. –Anthony Lynch
Two brothers, Alessandro and Gian Natale Fantino, run this family estate in Monforte d’Alba. Alessandro managed the vineyards and served as the enologist at Cantina Bartolo Mascarello for 20 years, from 1978 to 1997. The brothers farm eight hectares in the heart of the historic Bussia cru, one of Barolo’s most famous areas for producing wines of great longevity and finesse. The Fantino holdings are concentrated exclusively in the “Dardi” section of Bussia. The brothers also produce a Barbera d’Alba from these ancient vines in Dardi, and a “Rosso dei Dardi” from younger vine Nebbiolo. They are also specialists with several traditional Piemontese wines that are mostly disappearing: Nebbiolo Passito and Barolo Chinato.
For the wines that I buy I insist that the winemaker leave them whole, intact. I go into the cellars now and select specific barrels or cuvées, and I request that they be bottled without stripping them with filters or other devices. This means that many of our wines will arrive with a smudge of sediment and will throw a more important deposit as time goes by, It also means the wine will taste better.