Ne + pas is short for Nebbiolo Passito. This style of wine is an increasingly lost art, and here is an example made by its surviving master. Think Amarone meets Barolo. It is decidedly old school, with all the secondary glory you might expect from a fifteen-year-old wine. Almost dry, with only three grams of residual sugar, it displays a wide range of flavors, including nuts, spices, herbs, dried fruit, and smoked meat. The grapes are harvested two to three weeks before the Barolos and then dried until Christmas, after which they are pressed. You will not find another wine like it anywhere in the world (including Piedmont). Open it with good friends toward the end of a meal.
|Appellation:||vino da tavola|
|Producer:||A. & G. Fantino|
|Winemaker:||Alessandro & Gian Natale Fantino|
|Aging:||Aged in barriques for 6 years, aged in bottle for 24 months before release|
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.
Great winemakers, great terroirs, there is never any hurry. And I no longer buy into this idea of “peak” maturity. Great winemakers, great terroirs, their wines offer different pleasures at different ages.
Inspiring Thirst, page 312