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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|
Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch