Alessandro & Gian Natale Fantino Rosso dei Dardi 2018
Brothers Alessandro and Gian Natale Fantino own prime land in Barolo country—some of the top vineyards in Monforte d’Alba. While their venerable Barolos belong in every collector’s cellar, it is their beguiling everyday rosso that I find myself craving the most. Its perfumed Nebbiolo fruit and sweet, tender tannins would make a full-grown Barolo look back longingly at its former self, nostalgic for its sprightly youth. Serve it ever-so-slightly chilled.
Two brothers, Alessandro and Gian Natale Fantino, run this family estate in Monforte d’Alba. Alessandro managed the vineyards and served as the enologist at Cantina Bartolo Mascarello for 20 years, from 1978 to 1997. The brothers farm eight hectares in the heart of the historic Bussia cru, one of Barolo’s most famous areas for producing wines of great longevity and finesse. The Fantino holdings are concentrated exclusively in the “Dardi” section of Bussia. The brothers also produce a Barbera d’Alba from these ancient vines in Dardi, and a “Rosso dei Dardi” from younger vine Nebbiolo. They are also specialists with several traditional Piemontese wines that are mostly disappearing: Nebbiolo Passito and Barolo Chinato.
Attracting the most glory, prestige and fame to the Piedmont region, Nebbiolo in all of its expressions—Barolo, Barbaresco, Roero, Ghemme and Gattinara—creates a complex wine, truly unique for its delicate qualities combined with strength and a great potential to improve over time.
But Nebbiolo isn’t all there is to red wine from Piedmont! Barbera is the most planted variety and historically most popular as a dependable, food-friendly, everyday wine.
Beyond these two, a surprising number of red varieties call Piedmont their home. Worth a try include Dolcetto for its bold concentration and aromas of spice cake. Other grapes to investigate include Freisa, Croatina, Brachetto, Grignolino and Pelaverga.