Cascina Fontana Barolo vineyards,
Photograph © copyright Luisa Fontana 2005
message to Vino from Mario
of Cascina Fontana
Our primary wine partnership is based on a long-established
and warm personal relationship with winemakers Mario and Luisa Fontana.
Their estate, Cascina Fontana, is in Perno di Monforte, a small
hamlet in the prestigious Barolo wine zone in Italy’s northwest
region of Piedmont. Mario and Luisa quite simply produce a range
of wines that is at once truly outstanding as well as very pure
and genuine, wine made as we believe it should be, with a philosophy
of minimal intervention in both vineyard and cellar.
Mario and Luisa in Topsham
We have known Mario and Luisa for many years.
Marc has written extensively about their wines, as well as organised
trips to the wine estate, and wine dinners and other events centred
on the wines of Cascina Fontana. Mario and Luisa have visited Topsham
and Exeter many times, initially to supply Nello’s Ristorante.
Subsequently they have come over for numerous Ride for Life occasions
and events, notably in support of the Nello Century Cycle Challenge.
So many here in Topsham have already met Mario and Luisa: reintroducing
their wines is therefore like reintroducing old and much-loved friends.
If you haven’t yet discovered the wines of Cascina Fontana,
then we assure you that you are in for a real treat!
Cascina Fontana is located in the Barolo hills
of Le Langhe, south of Alba, which is itself one of the great little
wine towns of the world. This is an area of rare majestic beauty,
with vine-covered hills and castle-topped communities looking across
to each other over steep, plunging valleys. Because in summer the
risk of hail is considerable, winegrowers here have traditionally
spread the risks by having patches of vineyards in various locations.
This is how Mario works, with separate vineyards planted with the
classic grapes of the Langhe: Dolcetto, Barbera, and Nebbiolo.
We intend to represent the full list of Cascina
Fontana wines on a regular on-going basis. These are wines that
we ourselves never tire of drinking and we hope that you will come
to love them as much as we do, indeed come to consider them as your
own house wines. From easy-to-drink, fruit-driven Dolcetto, through
the more well structured Barbera to the elegant and beautiful Nebbiolo
d’Alba, and of course the powerful and aristocratic Barolo,
this truly is a range of wines for all seasons and occasions. And
as an added treat, we have a tiny amount of Mario’s delightfully
fresh and grapy Moscato, low in alcohol, deliciously fragrant, a
Save driving over and getting the wine yourself,
this is as direct a link between producer and consumer as you can
ever get. Mario and Luisa plan to come over regularly to host wine
dinners and tastings. We furthermore envisage Vino wine tours to
Alba and the Langhe (perhaps during the vendemmia – harvest
– or at the time of the internationally renowned Fiera di
Tartufo truffle festival.
Recently Mario has been advising Geoff about
vineyard management and grape growing with the aim of helping him
to improve and develop Pebblebed Vineyard. Mario and Luisa have
two young sons, Edoardo and Vasco (coincidentally almost the exact
same age as Geoff and Anna’s Martha and Jessie). Our exchange
— of friendship, wines, travel, ideas, mutual help and the
sharing of cultures — is central to our vision of what Vino
is all about.
The Barolo wine zone of the Langhe is a truly
wonderful area, rich in every way, and our special Vino relationship
with Mario and Luisa will allow us all to get to know it far better,
not just the wines, but the people, foods, and culture.
wines of Cascina Fontana