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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 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.
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.