About this WINE
Sixth-generation Mario Fontana is among Barolo’s best-loved producers. His wines are undeniably the most Burgundian in our range; purity and finesse is as evident in his Dolcetto as his Barolo. Mario follows organic methods but doesn’t seek certification – this would limit his options if his vines needed attention. His philosophy is individual, without peer influence. Barolisti like Mario set a benchmark here; others pursue and imitate – though rarely achieve – his purity and elegance. Fontana’s greatest achievements are rooted in Castiglione Falletto: the wines express the complexity of the village’s terroir. Only made in the best years, their Castiglione Falletto Barolo is one of the region’s finest examples.
Mario decided to bottle his Barolo in August 2021, a little earlier than usual, to capture the wine’s fresh and easy style. He also decided to shorten maceration times. All the Castiglione Falletto fruit is in the Barolo Classico this year, so there is no Barolo di Castiglione Falletto for this vintage. Mario doesn’t consider this a reflection of what he has produced; he wanted to lend more power to the softer style of his Barolo Classico 2018, for which he needed the best wine from the crus that would usually comprise his top cuvée. As a vintage, he finds it immensely appealing – a welcome alternative to the more structured styles of ’17 and ’16.
Dolcetto d'Alba is a DOC zone producing wines exclusively from the Dolcetto grape. D'Alba is one of the seven Dolcetto zones in Piedmont, the others being Acqui, Asti, Diano d' Alba, Ovada and Dogliani, as well as the less significant Langhe Monregalesi. D'Alba is regarded as the finest-quality zone of all for Dolcetto.
Dolcetto is an important Piedmontese grape, and the antithesis of Nebbiolo. It ripens a month earlier and produces wines that are low in acid yet high in tannins. Planted on the sites spurned by Nebbiolo and Barbera, Dolcetto is most suited to the light, white, sandy, calcareous tufa soils that are common in and around Barbaresco. It is generally made in an unoaked style to accentuate its natural violet perfume and juicy, bitter cherry and almond fruit. Dolcetto d’Alba is the grape’s most highly-regarded incarnation and makes the perfect antipasti wine.
Recommended producers: Diano, Dogliani
A native black grape variety of Northern Italy grown almost exclusively in the provinces of Cuneo and Alessandria in Piedmont. It is relatively easy to cultivate, although it is susceptible to fungal diseases. It ripens before Barbera and Nebbiolo and is often grown in high north-facing sites which would be unsuitable for Nebbiolo.
The finest Dolcetto wines come from grapes grown on soils rich with white marls, especially those found on the right bank of the River Tauro. The wines generally are low in tannins and acidity and are usually fruity and fragrant, often with hints of almonds. Most Dolcettos should be drunk within a year or two of the vintage, but the wines from the best producers can last for 5 years and sometimes longer.