The historic estate of Fontanafredda conceals one or two little secrets, not least the hunting lodge to which its origins can be traced back to 1878. The property of the first King of Italy, it was not only a base for his hunting of the local game, but also for more, shall we say, earthy pursuits. The king's mistress, stationed at Fontanafredda, gave birth to a son and, while not officially recognised as royal progeny, he was granted the lodge when the King died. The development of Fontanafredda as we know it today ensued, until a bank took it over in lieu of unpaid gambling debts.
Today, thanks to a law prohibiting Italian banks from owning agricultural assets, the estate has passed into the sympathetic hands of Oscar Farinetti, founder of the Eataly chain of Slow Food restaurants and a native of nearby Alba. Fontanafredda's revival under Farinetti looks assured and this sleeping beauty of the Langhe, its vineyards are surely among the finest in the area, is now on a clear upward trajectory. It's a winery that combines this great history, Fontanafredda used to have its own bakery and school, and still preserves a great sense of community, with thoroughly modern production facilities for everything from Asti to Barolo.
The grapes undergo soft pressing before being immediately separated from the skins. The fermentation is carried out at a low temperature 18° C (85% in stainless steel, 15% in barriques), prior to refrigeration and static racking of the must. Aged in steel for 2-3 months, cold stabilization in springtime is followed by bottling.
This is a white wine with personality, which resolutely defends its characteristics against the perils of time, allowing it to maintain the highest quality for several seasons. Straw-yellow with greenish highlights, it has an ample nose, with an intense bouquet featuring flowers, vanilla, lemon, lily of the valley and bitter apples. Its nicely dry taste is full, well-balanced and elegant.