Barolo “the king of wines and the wine of kings”
On Nov 6th I went to a wine tasting and lunchen at the “Menu dell’ Assaggio”.at the Italian Wine Merchants. It was a tasting of Fontanafredda Barolo going back to 1967.The speaker was Danilo Drocco the wine maker.Signor Drocco first vintage for Fontanafredda was 1999. Before this he worked with Bebe Colla at Pronuotto a very traditional wine maker and stayed on when Piero Antinori brought the winery and introduced a more modern style.
Fontanafredda is not only one of the oldest produces in Barolo but aslo one of the largest The first 3 wines we tasted 2001,2000and 1999 were all made by Signore Drocco. All three wines had very little color and you could tell that thay were all made from nebbiolo He spoke about the vineyards and said he gets ripe tannians through vineyard management. After the grapes are crushed the process of pumping the juice over the cap of skins begins immediatly. This is done frequently for about 3 days.Then there is 45 more days of skin contact . At some point he takes the wine out of the tank with the skins and puts it in another tank and after 3 days put it back in the tank with the skins! This exposes the juice to oxygen and gives it more flavor. He uses a combination of botti and barriques. The barriques were not new but second and third passage.
The 1990 Vigna la Rosa was showing its age. This vintage had gotten a lot of press. Danilo believed that the wine was ready to drink and he was right. The 1989 is a more typical Barolo vintage and will last for many more years. 1997 also got a lot of press,some wine writers saying it was the vintage of the century! Most producers feel that 1996 was a better vintage. Once again the same thing holds true for the 2000 and 2001. The 2001 being the better vintage.
My favorite was the 1982 Vigna la Rosa. It a typical Nebbiolo with hints of tobacco.The 1967 was holding up very well. Back then there were no single vineyard Barolo