Fontanafredda - A Reprint

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What’s happened since last spring when text below was originally published? We’ve received another group of old Fontanafredda from an Italian collection, but more importantly we had a chance to taste a number of vintages (1958, 1961, 1967, 1971, 1978, 1982, 1988). I was too occupied during the tasting to take proper notes, but everything showed well; standouts for me were the 1958, 1967, 1971, and 1978. Prices are still very reasonable! Fun for the holidays!

 

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 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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