Emanuele di Mirafiore, illegitimate son of King Vittorio Emanuele, inherited Fontanafredda in 1878. The property remained in family hands until 1927.

Piedmont Week - Monday - the Historic Wines of Fontanafredda

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The historical importance of Fontanafredda for Barolo cannot be overstated; it’s one of the oldest and largest properties in the region, and one of the first to estate-bottle and market under its own label. This is beautifully related in Kerin O’Keefe’s “Barolo and Barbaresco”, and it’s quite a story, starting with the Kings of Italy, and arriving in the present with the current owners, one of the kings of Italian retail. I confess to ignoring Fontanafredda for a long time, as the wines didn’t have a very good image. Then in 2007 we were invited to a big vertical tasting there; I moaned and groaned, but thankfully Gregory Dal Piaz insisted we go. We tasted about a dozen wines, back to 1961, and we discovered that the old vintages are very fine, classic wines. Subsequent  tastings have reinforced this, and the relatively reasonable prices of the wines is also a fine thing. Jamie Wolff

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Fontanafredda 1931 Barolo (handwritten vintage)

Vintage is hand-written.

I’ve rarely had a chance to taste Barolo this old, but recently a generous friend shared the 1931 Marchesi di Barolo. Apparently 1931 was a great year; based on that bottle, I’d have to agree. From the same impeccable cellar as almost all of the bottles in this offer, the wine had great presence, delicate fruit, and sufficient tannin to make it a real pleasure to taste. We can’t promise that the Fontanafredda 1931 will deliver the same, but we find it pretty tempting…  Jamie Wolff

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Fontanafredda 1935 Barolo

Vintage is hand-written.

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Fontanafredda 1938 Barolo

Vintage is hand-written.

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Fontanafredda 1945 Barolo

The back-label can be translated as follows:

“Attention!

For those interested in rareness, Fontanafredda recommends this Barolo 1945. Unfortunately there are few bottles available because after inspecting the bottles there were only 450 in excellent condition.  Many had deteriorated during their long aging, and in the process of decanting from bottle –to-bottle were obliged to be discarded. This bottle can be considered something very special and Fontanafredda is proud to offer  it “as a rarity” to connoisseurs and collectors as an authentic part of our cellar.

The Cellar Master”

We know the label on these bottles was in use in the 1950's, and in our opinion the decanting and re-bottling referred to in the text took place then. Because the bottles make no reference to DOC, the latest possible date would be 1965, since the DOC came into effect in 1966. Jamie Wolff

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