About this WINE
Sixth-generation Mario Fontana is among Barolo’s best-loved producers. His wines are undeniably Burgundian in style; his combination of artisanal purity and finesse is as evident in his Dolcetto as his Barolo. Mario follows organic methods but doesn’t seek certification; his philosophy is individual, guided by genuine skills learnt from his father, and his father before him. While many can be blindsided by stoic traditions, Mario is free-minded. His wines are timeless examples of great Barolo, positively charged and yet cutting edge.
From vineyard practices to vinification, Mario keeps his options open at every step. His son Valdo has recently joined him in the cantina, and one can feel the flow of energy and passion ebbing through this generational transition. Although his vineyards and cantina are spread through the region, Fontana’s greatest achievements are rooted in their ancestral hometown of Castiglione Falletto.
Barbera d’Alba is a red wine made from the Barbera grape variety in the Alba region of Piedmont, Italy. It is one of the most well-known and widely produced Barbera wines in the Piedmont region and holds the prestigious Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) designation.
The grape is a high-yielding variety known for its rich colour, high acidity, and low tannins. These characteristics make Barbera wines generally approachable and food-friendly, often described as lively, vibrant, and easy to drink.
The wines typically showcase red and black fruit flavours, such as cherry, raspberry, and blackberry, with some expressions exhibiting notes of plum and blueberry. The wines often have a pleasing acidity that gives them a refreshing and tangy quality. In some cases, subtle hints of spice, earthiness, and floral aromas may add to the wine’s complexity.
The oak ageing process is typical for many Barbera d’Alba wines, which can impart additional layers of flavour and texture, complementing the grape’s natural characteristics. However, some producers opt for stainless steel or neutral oak ageing to preserve the wine’s primary fruit flavours and freshness.
Barbera d’Alba is versatile when it comes to food pairings. Its bright acidity and medium body make it a fantastic match for various dishes. It pairs excellently with Italian cuisine, such as pasta dishes, risotto, pizza, and roasted meats. The wine’s acidity also allows it to pair well with more decadent and fatty foods, making it an excellent choice for savoury dishes.
While Barbera d’Alba is often overshadowed by the more renowned Barolo and Barbaresco wines of the Piedmont region, it remains a beloved and cherished wine among locals and enthusiasts. Its combination of approachability, versatility, and excellent value makes it an appealing choice for everyday enjoyment and a delightful introduction to the wines of Piedmont.
Barbera is planted extensively in Piedmont and south-west Lombardy and accounts for over 50% of the wine produced in the region. The majority is sold simply as Barbera del Piemonte, but the best wines are the DOCs, Barbera d'Alba and Barbera d'Asti. It ripens late (after Dolcetto but before Nebbiolo).
The wines are usually ruby red in colour with notably low levels of tannins. They have a pronounced acidity that can be accentuated by overproduction. Barbera wines range from light, tart mouthwashers through to powerful, intensely flavoured wines that require extended cellaring.