Happy Spring!

The team from Fontanafredda visited New York City for an amazing press tour at the end of January. Here they visited some of the top cities in the USA to showcase many of the incredible Barolos from the portfolio. I have tasted the wines of Fontanafredda many times, and enjoy them with a number of cuisines. Italian wines have been my focus since fall, due to all of my travels and winemaker visits, so I was so happy to join the team at Manzo in Eataly. Now that it’s spring, and many of us are consuming more alcohol, due to the current times and quarantine, it’s time to start thinking about what do we want to sip this spring, and I choose Fontanafredda Barolo!!

Fontanafredda is a winery with 160 years of age, in the Serralunga d’Alba area with altitudes between 200-400 m. They own 250 acres in this cru site area of Barolo and are one of the largest contiguous wine estates in the Langhe. The soils here are very diverse where roughly half the region is covered in sandy soils, that produce fresh and elegant wines. Because the vineyards vary, there are some with higher contents of clay and marl, which produce the age-worthy Barolos we know very well. The winery has been working since 2009 and is now one of the largest certified organic companies in Piedmont! This began with the 2018 harvest and will continue on for the future of wine.

We started off our lunch at Manzo with a beautiful sparkling wine: Alta Langa DOCG Contessa Rosa Rosé 2012. It’s an incredible wine made from 80% Pinot Nero and 20% Chardonnay, from white clay, sand, and marl soils. This bubbly sees 48 months on the lees using the “Spumante Metodo Classico” method (which is the Classic Method). The grapes are grown at high altitudes which gives a nice aromatic freshness to the wine as well as some nice complexity. Honestly, I would drink this wine all the time, and if my fridge was large enough, I would always want one chilled at all times. It’s the perfect wine to sip anytime, anywhere!

Once we sat down for a delicious lunch, the Barolo’s came out! The first course was Agnolotti del Plin which is handmade pasta with pork and veal, paired with Barolo DOCG Serralunga D’Alba 2015, and Barolo DOCG Fontanafredda 2013. I have had 2015 Serralunga many times and really adore the wine. It’s always a crowd-pleaser because it’s dry with vanilla, spice, and dried roses. It’s a wine that easily pairs well with spring dishes such as Spring Pea Risotto, Leg of Lamb, and Grilled Vegetables. Barolo DOCG 2013 is from the Cru areas of the Nebbiolo vineyards (just in case you didn’t know, Barolo is made from Nebbiolo grapes) where this plot of land has a nice mix of soils, creating an extremely complex and elegant wine.

The second course was a delight of Grilled Hanger Steak with arugula, Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, Villa Manodori Aceto Balsamico, and olive oil. It was incredible paired with two more Fontanafredda Barolo’s including the Barolo DOCG Vigna La Rosa 2011 and the 1996! Both wines from the La Rosa vineyard in Serralunga d’Alba made from Nebbiolo grapes grown in marl and clay soils. This vineyard was one of the first in the Barolo area, originally purchased by the King of Italy for his Countess Rosa. It’s one of the most prestigious vineyards at the estate, with breathtaking views.

As a fun addition to the tasting, there was a cheese course paired with a 2010 Barolo Riserva and 2000 Barolo Riserva. These are age-worthy wines (well, honestly all of them are) that paired exceptionally well with Italian cheeses from the northern part of Italy. The soils are dynamic and can add color as well as balsamic notes to the wines, which are both incredibly striking and youthful even still, for their ages. 2010 shows more notes of balsamic, mushrooms, and fruit, while 2000 shows more fruit and spice notes. Both are exceptionally beautiful wines!

If you’re looking for some outstanding Barolo’s to enjoy this spring, these make perfect wines to pair with an Easter meal. I recently hosted an in-home wine tasting, before social distancing, and brought the Fontanafredda Barolo Serralunga and it was such a crowd-pleaser. It took some time to open, about 30 minutes, but once it did, it wowed!