Location is crucial in the Langhe, as vineyard site is the first and foremost determinant to a grower’s ability to produce fine Barolo. Brothers Alessandro and Gian Natale Fantino are blessed in this respect: proud proprietors of several hectares in a south-facing section of Monforte d’Alba’s fabled Bussia cru known as Dardi, named for the family’s old farmhouse, they have the terroir essentials to craft a grandiose Nebbiolo for the ages.
And yet, this is only part of the equation. Traditional treatment in the cellar—fermentation with native yeast and long aging in Slavonian oak casks, or botti grandi—ensures the beautiful fruit from Dardi is not altered or masked. Minimizing filtration and added sulfur at bottling preserves a velvetiness that makes the wines texturally seductive from release and through the years.
As a result, the Fantinos’ Baroli come loaded with rich, generous Nebbiolo fruit, flaunting a plushness that beckons. In a year like 2011 especially, the wine is ripe, deep, and almost extravagant in its breadth of aroma and flavor, while a dense, tightly knit core of firm acidity and fine-grained tannins make up a rigid spine. Power, finesse, classic Barolo aromatics—it’s all there in this 2011 from the Fantinos. Piemonte lovers will not want to miss it.
|Producer:||A. & G. Fantino|
|Winemaker:||Alessandro & Gian Natale Fantino|
|Aging:||Aged in large oak barrels for 4 years, aged in bottle for 6 months before release|
I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.
Inspiring Thirst, page 171