October 2017—Our 45th Anniversary!
The Fantino brothers of Monforte d’Alba know a thing or two about Nebbiolo, having produced decades’ worth of world-class Barolo under their own label and in collaboration with other growers in Piemonte. They are lucky to own a prime parcel within the Bussia cru, a subplot named Cascina Dardi that benefits from ideal southern exposure—perfect for crafting sumptuous, powerful reds. However, the Fantinos had other ideas for some of Dardi’s younger vines: why not capture Nebbiolo’s dazzling aromatics in the form of a light, early-drinking red with low alcohol and soft tannins? The resulting Rosso dei Dardi sees gentle treatment in the cellar to avoid excessive extraction, ages in stainless steel, and is bottled young to show off the juicy, playful side of the grape that we rarely get to experience. It takes well to a chill, and the price point encourages pulling the cork just for the sake of quenching one’s thirst.
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.
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Inspiring Thirst, page 211