2001 Alessandro and Gian Natale Fantino Dardi Bussia Barolo $330 6-Pack ($55/bottle)
Ever since we started talking about the move to Birmingham and the enhanced Elie Wine Co. we’ve been telling you that we were going to bring in a select few Italian wines. We’ve found a rare deal on a library release of 2001 A&G Fantino Barolo — A Piedmont nebbiolo that adheres to our strict standards of quality and expression of place that we apply when choosing all of our French and Spanish wines.
For a large part of his career, Alessandro Fantino was part owner and made the wines for the well-regarded Cantina Bartolo Mascarello. In 1998 he sold his portion of the winery to Bartolo’s daughter Maria-Teresa and dedicated himself to helping his brother run their family estate full-time.
Now both Alessandro and Gian Natale Fantino are creating superb wines out of their tiny, garage-sized winery in the old town center of Monforte d’Alba. They own a scant 20 acres on a hillside with perfect southeastern exposure in the heart of the historic Bussia cru, one of Barolo’s most renowned areas for producing wines of finesse and longevity. Barolos from Bussia tend to have deep color and rich fruit and while they don’t lack the classic tannic structure of Nebbiolo from this part of the world, they are not nearly as hard as the Barolos from the chalky soils of Serralunga.
The Fantino’s grapes are hand-harvested and then hand-sorted at the winery prior to fermentation with native yeasts. The wine is aged in large, two to three year old oak barrels for a period of four years, and then aged in bottle for six months prior to release. By all accounts, 2001 was an outstanding vintage in Barolo, producing wines with excellent concentration, lively acidity, and nicely integrated tannins. The best have ideal structure for long-term aging. 2001 A&G Natale Fantino Barolo is just now reaching peak drinkability and will continue its slow arc of development for several years.