We don’t know wine to the extent that we know beer, so there’s that. However plenty of new and old world beer styles have wine like characteristics. One of our all time favorites, Goose Island’s Sofie is Belgian Ale made in Chicago and aged chardonnay barrels.
The Barolo Masterclass was a whimsical ride through Fontanafredda’s Nebbiolo varietal wines, including the winery’s newest Barolo Proprietà in Fontanafredda 2013.
Northern Italy is the growing region for these grapes, specifically Piedmont and its 11 production municipalities. The crew shared a fivesome of their favorite vintages ranging from 1997 – 2017.
Barolo is the king of wines and the wine of kings. Foeders at the winery hold 19,000 bottles of wine or 148 hectoliters each barrel.
Warm winds coming from the sea and the cold wind from the mountain collide making for a unique climate. The ancient soil from which these grapes grow is ‘white soil’ with salt in it. You can find richness in minerals here.
Fontanafredda was the first winery factory to promote a system of work/ life balance for workers. The company built everything; a church, bocce field, schools all so that workers didn’t have to go outside of the factory. At its height over 400 people lived on the estate. With over 200 acres of land Fontanafredda is the one of the largest property owner in the region.
We wont go through each wine, just understand that this team has been nominated for Wine Enthusiast 2017 European Winery of the Year.
Going forward as we spotlight wine you’ll see our perspective change on the subject.
Of interest to us was that the first Barolo wines landed in the U.S. back in 1894 when they appeared in San Francisco.
The current staff maintains vintages as far back as 1947. It was tradition at the winery back then to hold back as much as 40% of their reserve for cellaring. It’s the blending of grapes from different areas in the Langhe that give these wines their special traits.
In the 80’s a fight between modern and traditions wine producers began. A new breed of young producers introduced the use of new toasted French oak to the wine making process. That decision was made because it was thought that it fits the characteristics U.S. consumers wanted.
Our host feels his favourite vintage Barolo is 1967. He cries every time a bottle is opened. Last month they sampled 20 bottles from that year and they were all in perfect condition with no cork issues.
We gather that the signature flavor profiles in these wines is derived when the blending grapes from different territories. For example it benefits the pinot noir when that wine is from both sides of the region. The younger soil is difficult to work with but provides good acidity. It’s been the goal of Fontafredda to represent how different all 11 Barolo villages are.
The southwest region is home to lower elevation and higher sand presence, the wines are fruit forward in that area. If you compare the maturation in this area to the highest elevations of the north, there is a 15-20 day difference in harvesting. The concentration of tannins here increases the potential for wine aging.
Fontanafredda produces 800,000 bottles annually. These wines are balanced, elegant well integrated and age only 8 months in large casks. I thought the Barolo DOCG Proprietà from 2013 was perfect picture. Flowers, strawberries, orange blossom and acidity all at once.
-Barolo Mastersclass 2017 made appearances at Eataly NYC 10/11 -10/12, Chicago 10/16 and Boston 10/18-10/19
– Two Eataly Dishes complimented the wine tasting. truffle and mushroom risotto with parmesan reggiano cheese, Langhe Crostino with a butternut squash and sweet potato spread with formaggina cheese was the other.
-Eataly Founder Oscar Farinetti also owns the Fontanafredda winery
– All the current vineyards are from 1975
-The winery will begin offering organic products starting in 2019.
-The current winemaker has been in place since 1997