Since 1878 Fontanafredda Estate & Winery, located in the heart of Piedmont’s Langhe region, has been a benchmark for Barolo and Barbera wines that deftly balance deep aromas and concentration of fruit with elegance. Among the prized vineyard sites belonging to Fontanafredda are those in the commune of Serralunga d’Alba, a source of some of today’s most distinctive and intriguing Barolo wines.
The history of Fontanafredda is a noble one. It began in 1858, when Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of Italy, purchased the Fontanafredda estate -a former hunting preserve- as a country home. Soon thereafter, he began to produce fine red wines from indigenous grape varieties dolcetto, barbera and nebbiolo. In 1878 King Vittorio II died and his firstborn son, Count Emanuele Alberto di Mirafiori, inherited Fontanafredda.
Count Mirafiori created the commercial business of wine from the estate and released the estate’s first nebbiolo labeled as Barolo with the vintage 1878. Beginning in 1932, the estate transferred to Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world’s oldest bank, who retained ownership of Fontanafredda for 76 years.
Barolo should reveal itself little by little, rather than all at once. –Danilo Drocco, Lead Winemaker
Based in Piedmont
Italian entrepreneur Oscar Farinetti was born in Alba, Piedmont to Langaroli parents – his mother was from Barolo and his father from Barbaresco. Farinetti explains the significance, “As my parents are each from the heart of a great vine-growing region, I grew up feeling the culture of wine was written for me - as my destiny.” Fontanafredda remained a strong presence in the Langhe throughout Farinetti’s life, and he often dreamed of how he might one day infuse his energy for business and passion for wine into the historic estate.
That dream came true in 2008 when Oscar Farinetti and his partner Luca Baffigo Filangieri - founders of the famous EATALY concepts in Italy, Japan and New York – became the majority stakeholders in the Fontanafredda estate and wineries. These new owners put full support behind a series of initiatives started in 1999 by winemaker Danilo Drocco and viticulturist Alberto Grasso. These initiatives involve changes in both the winery and the vineyards, with a commitment to bring increased quality to the wines and greater sustainability to the land of the estate.
The 250-acre Fontanafredda Barolo cru property in Serralunga d’Alba is the single largest contiguous wine estate in the Langhe. Additional properties in the communes of Barolo and Diano d’ Alba communes bring the total acreage of estate-owned land to 305. The ability to source fruit from some of the Barolo region’s most prized vineyard sites provides Fontanafredda with nebbiolo, barbera, and dolcetto grapes of the highest quality. Fontanafredda produces estate varietal wines: Dolcetto, Barbera, Langhe Nebbiolo, Barolo single-vineyard wines from the La Villa, La Rosa and Lazzarito properties, and Barolo Riserva.
Drocco and Grasso continue to guide the winery and estate with a philosophy of ecological responsibility and future sustainability. Currently, all estate vineyards are managed to achieve a “zero chemical” program, using only natural methods for fertilization and pest control. The Fontanafredda vineyard team is working with their grower partners across the region to transition them to the same eco-friendly farming standards. The Fontanafredda estate operates as a refuge for a wide array of local flora and fauna.
Fontanafredda has recently introduced the Volumi Bollati series, an innovative program launched with tremendous success in Europe and now in the US with the release of 2007 Barolo Serralunga d’Alba. Made from 85% recycled glass, Volumi Bollati is a series of bottle sizes based on the classic Italian osteria system of serving wine by volume for pouring by the glass: two quartino or a half liter (2 people), one liter (4 people), 1.5 liter (6 people).