0800 280 2440
2012 Barolo, Cascina Fontana, Piedmont
6th generation Mario Fontana, along with his mother Elda, wife Luisa and their two boys Edoardo & Vasco, created Azienda Agricola Cascina Fontana, this tiny 4ha jewel of a Barolo estate in 1995.
Based in the hamlet of Perno they own parcels in three Castiglione Falletto vineyards: Valletti, Villero and Pozzo; in Sinio just beyond Serralunga & also in La Morra’s Gallinotto from vintage 2008. Mario tends the vines as sensitively as possible, makes the wine and, when necessary, also delivers it in his blue van.
He prefers the traditional approach to making Barolo wine: blending all his Nebbiolo vineyards to make one wine; the sum of the parts; a thoroughly consistent wine from one year to the next; a 15-20 day stainless-steel cuvaison; 2 years in large 25 hl slavonian barrels (a 30 year old chestnut barrel!), followed by 1 year in stainless steel and 1 year in bottle pre-release.
His languid Langhe Nebbiolo wine is made in the vineyards: using fruit from Castiglione’s Pozzo & Sinio’s vineyards, macerated for a shorter period than that destined for Barolo, the wine spends a brief invecchiamento (elevage) for twelve months in old french tonneaux. The perfection introduction to Nebbiolo, it can be drunk young or after ten years!
The full but svelte Barbera d’Alba is made from a combination of 60% fresh Sinio & 40% classy Castiglione Falletto fruit, aged for circa 12 months in used barriques; production on average only 500 cases/anno.
His philosophy harks back to the lessons learnt from his grandfather - "I was brought up with the smell of fermentations in my nostrils" – to the extent that he continues to place vats outside during winter to stabilise naturally, and will not move wine nor prune with the new moon.
In addition Mario goes the extra mile in quality control, performing one hundred checks on the wine prior to bottling. Traditional and contemporary winemaking at its best, and best enjoyed with food.
Nebbiolo is the grape behind the Barolo and Barbaresco wines and is hardly ever seen outside the confines of Piedmont. It takes its name from "nebbia" which is Italian for fog, a frequent phenomenon in the region.
A notoriously pernickety grape, it requires sheltered south-facing sites and performs best on the well-drained calcareous marls to the north and south of Alba in the DOCG zones of Barbaresco and Barolo.
Langhe Nebbiolo is effectively the ‘second wine’ of Piedmont’s great Barolo & Barbarescos. This DOC is the only way Langhe producers can declassify their Barolo or Barbaresco fruit or wines to make an early-drinking style. Unlike Nebbiolo d’Alba, Langhe Nebbiolo can be cut with 15% other red indigenous varieties, such as Barbera or Dolcetto.
Nebbiolo flowers early and ripens late, so a long hang time, producing high levels of sugar, acidity and tannins; the challenge being to harvest the fruit with these three elements ripe and in balance. The best Barolos and Barbarescos are perfumed with aromas of tar, rose, mint, chocolate, liquorice and truffles. They age brilliantly and the very best need ten years to show at their best.
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