Our recent offer on Giovani Canonica's 2013 Barolo highlighted the staunch traditional realm of Piedmont. Today's selection also falls into this camp, but juxtaposes perfectly as a bookend to the softer-fruited and bouncy style of Canonica. Cascina Fontana is traditional Barolo as would be accepted by two generations past. While the wines from Fontana have always appealed to me, this first-ever release of the Castiglione Falletto Barolo cuvée is a soaring achievement. This past Saturday's initial showing was a highly anticipated moment and the stellar 2013 exceeded the hype I had already placed on the wine.

"The 2013 Barolo del Comune di Castiglione Falletto is the best Barolo I have tasted from Mario Fontana yet. A gorgeous, exquisitely layered wine, the 2013 is striking in its beauty, class and personality."
- Antonio Galloni of Vinous (October, 2017)


Mario Fontana likes to say he still does many things come una volta — as in the past, as his grandfather himself would have done. As you'd imagine this is firmly rooted in the philosophy of vineyard first winemaking. Fontana farms just 5 hectares and is meticulous each step through harvest, ensuring the Nebbiolo comes to the cantina in ideal condition, including tiny bins and moonlight harvesting should temperatures dictate. Maceration for the Barolo can last up to 40 days on skins. But, the transparency and weight of the wines is in no way tied to deep extraction, quite the opposite.

The inspiration for the first release of this Castiglione Falletto bottling is Mario's family roots. For six generations the Fontana family has farmed these sites, with Castiglione representing some of their most historic parcels. The Villero cru of Giacosa and Vietti fame is one of Barolo's top Grand Cru level sites, and is the core component of Fontana's spellbinding 2013 Castiglione Falletto cuvée.

I love the mid-weight and ultra-transparent style of  Fontana here. But, as is the case with my favorite traditional Baroli, translucency is met with a saturating and deep intensity. In this 2013 there's a vibrancy like a stereo now backed up with several amps - the loud volume is perfectly held in balance by the wine's chiseled structure, supporting every beaming note it exudes.

2013 is undoubtedly a very special vintage for Nebbiolo. Tasting on Saturday night the combination of 2010 and 2008 immediately came to mind. The classic proportions of both were evident, with the length and force of the former meeting the peerless grace of the latter. 

Less than 350 cases were produced of the 2013 Cascina Fontana Castiglione Falletto, with a relatively small portion arriving to California last week. I've also included the 2010 Cascina Fontana Barolo below and created special 4-pack pricing to include 2 bottles of each wine.

2013 Cascina Fontana Barolo del Comune di Castiglione Falletto
$95 per bottle.

2010 Cascina Fontana Barolo
$58 per bottle.
Sourced from from Villero and Valletti in Castiglione Falletto and Gallinotto in La Morra.