100ml, Italy

What is deliciousness?


This is a working philosophy. But it is also a work in progress. Something I think about a lot during my day to day especially when tasting for many hours.

What is deliciousness?

Deliciousness is a state of ease, along with companionship (with wine and others) and most importantly (I agree with Thierry Thiese) charm. It does not try to blow you away with its amazingness. To paraphrase Thiese, it can be found in the big, medium and small wines. So it is not about points or trophies.

Re-tasting Cascina Fontana Barolo 2010 – the last time I tasted this it was in the barrel in his winery in Piedmont. I remember it clearly because the wine jumped out of the barrel! A sign of things to come for the 2010 vintage?

Really, if a Barolo like this doesn’t make you happy, what will? While some single cru wines’ non-fruit flavours, tannins and prices can be extreme, to the point of discomfort for some more sensitive palates, the blend of plush La Morra and serious Castiglione Falletto in Mario Fontana Barolo is comforting. There’s nothing here to “learn to love.” It is very well balanced with just enough fruit, just enough tannins, with just enough integration even at this young stage to make you smile each time you take a taste.

There are sleek Barolo reminiscent of expensive car seats and mink coats (I’m looking at you Sandrone Cannubi Boschi). Or a group of wines with punkish tannins with fruit singing there’s no future as you would expect from young Barolo (but you know will grow up to be millionaire execs). It is simply the myriad of styles in Barolo jostling up against each other. That is what makes the region so fascinating. Mario Fontana is a traditional Barolo that is a true joy to drink with a simple salad of ripe tomatoes, buffalo di mozzarella and basil. It is too easy to overlook the genius of its conviviality in a tasting room set up.

More: Mario Fontana winery

Thanks to FMV and Berry Bros & Rudd.

Image Rudi Gernreich 1965


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