About this WINE
Cascina Mario Fontana, Piedmont
Sixth-generation Barolo producer Mario Fontana set out on his own in 1995, and since then has been refining his style with every vintage.
Mario tends the vines as sensitively as possible, makes the wine and, when necessary, also delivers it in his blue van. He favours the traditional approach to making Barolo: blending all his Nebbiolo vineyards to make one wine, aged for two years in large Slavonian oak barrels, then one year in stainless steel and an additional year in bottle before release.
His philosophy harks back to the lessons learnt from his grandfather. “I was brought up with the smell of fermentations in my nostrils,” he explains. Today he still puts vats outside during winter to allow them to stabilise naturally, and won’t move wine or prune under the new moon.
His Barolo is arguably the most Burgundian in our range, with a purity and classical finesse which Mario prides himself on. These are cerebral wines which will surprise and delight.
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.