Producers of Barolo and the great wines of the Langhe, in Serralunga d’Alba
Born in 1858 from the love story between the King of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II, and Rosa Vercellana. We have always been a community, united by respect for the land, and today we have 120 hectares of ORGANIC crops that frame Italy’s first Storytelling Village.
1858 year of foundation
120 acres of organic vineyards
5.000.000 Kg of grapes pressed every year
5 different CRU of Barolo
2.500.000 bottles of Barolo ageing in the cellars
170 members of staff
285 independent wine growers
61 countries in the world
We are artisans, we are promoting the interaction between vine, soil and the hand of man
We are artisans and we foster the interaction between grape, soil and man. This enables us to draw out the very best from every single wine, which becomes an expression of the territory. We are artisans, but with industrial figures.
We are among the biggest private producers of Barolo. Iconic Barolos like our Barolo Serralunga d’Alba and Barolo Classico. Small speciality productions like Barolo Vigna La Rosa, Vigna La Villa, Vigna La Delizia, or our M.G.A. wines, Fontanafredda, Parafada and Meriame.
Our annual production accounts for around 6% of the entire appellation. We make the most important DOC and DOCG wines of the Basso Piemonte area, working across a vast expanse of territory which allows us to guarantee constant quality, split between Barolo, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto and other typical red wines (44%); Arneis, Gavi, Chardonnay, Moscato and other typical white wines (26%); Alta Langa Metodo Classico and Asti sparkling wines (30%).
Our mission to be organic farmers
We have 120 hectares of land, divided between the municipalities of Serralunga d’Alba, Barolo, Diano d’Alba, Dogliani, Farigliano, Alba and Rodello, at altitudes ranging between 250 and 420 metres above sea level, cultivated with Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, Nascetta, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Moscato, which represent the starting point for the remarkable quality of our wines.
The climate is typically continental, but with considerable variability in terms of rainfall and temperature, resulting in an extraordinary diversity of harvests.
The richness of our soils is due to their mainly calcareous composition with different textures even just a few metres apart, ranging from looser soils, with as much as 50% sand, such as those at the farthest end of Serralunga d’Alba and Barolo, to more loamy and clayey soils, like those in the highest area of Serralunga.
Our vines are old, having been planted between 1940 and 1999, and this allows us to have significant root depths that reward the qualitative diversity of each individual M.G.A.. When replacing vines or replanting our vineyards we use our own massal selections in order to maintain the same genetic material that has always distinguished Fontanafredda. And we experiment on small plots with new planting layouts or grafting systems that favour clean agriculture.
We are among the last producers to have maintained extensive woods in the Bassa Langa region, with a woodland area of 12 hectares. This helps us to increase the plant and animal biodiversity that facilitates our ORGANIC farming, launched in 2015 and certified in 2018. No herbicides, no pesticides, no synthetic fertilisers.
Practising organic farming stimulates the symbiotic relationship between vineyards and woods, with their respective wild flora and fauna. By keeping the pedological characteristics of our soils intact, we increase the development of the micro-organisms that determine the amount of organic matter in our soils for the enrichment of biodiversity.
We see organic farming not merely as a form of agriculture but as a way of life, which involves identifying with the plant as a living being and eliminating all unnecessary chemicals.
A community of farmers for a cleaner earth
60 years of relationships and human exchange have allowed us to build a large community of farmers with vineyards in extraordinary locations that continue to guarantee us excellent quality Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, Freisa, Arneis, Gavi, Riesling, Timorasso, Pinot Nero, Chardonnay and Moscato grapes, generation after generation.
We believe that we have an important social role to play throughout the Langhe area, and this is why we are working side by side with our farmers for the past ten years, trying to make them more sensitive towards cleaner agriculture, leaning towards organic farming. This means respecting both people and the land, leaving the soil cleaner than we found it, for the generations to come.
Following in our footsteps, thirty of our growers have already converted to organic farming, with ten of them having already gained certification. Fifty of them work with clean grapes, in compliance with regulations developed within Fontanafredda, without using herbicides or synthetic fertilisers.
The harvest, a magical feeling
Our grapes are harvested strictly by hand.
The key to producing a great wine is to harvest the grapes just at the right time, when they are perfectly ripe, not only in terms of sugar and phenology, but also physiologically.
When sugars, tannins and acidity are in complete harmony, that is the right time to harvest.
If you get it wrong, even by just a few days, you risk failing to achieve balance in the wine. The grape harvest is a magical moment in which fear is pitted against hope, ending with joy on a day of celebration.
Fermentation is the energy of our wine
When you have outstanding raw material, you have to do everything within your power not to ruin it. We use different fermentation techniques depending on the type of grape, striving to enhance what the land offers us.
For some years now, thanks to the University of Turin, we have selected yeasts originating from our vineyards. This enables us to carry out different types of fermentation with native yeasts depending on the grape, enhancing the typicality and varietal characteristics in our wines.
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the bases for our sparkling wines. We work to ensure that the time between harvesting and pressing is as short as possible. It allows us to maintain a pure and rich aromatic framework. We apply different pressing and skin maceration techniques to extract different polyphenols and anthocyanins depending on what we want to achieve:
- Blanc de Blanc
- Blanc de Noir
Precision and careful tasting during maceration are essential to determine the duration of contact with skins. Once the desired extraction is reached, fermentation begins at low temperatures in order to preserve the freshness of the aromas. After a few months of ageing, the wine is bottled and undergoes second fermentation in the bottle, with an active yeast load of up to a billion cells per bottle. This generates a fine, persistent and precise sparkle.
We have been fermenting our white wines in different ways depending on the variety: traditional fermentation with no skin contact for Arneis, fermentation on skins for between 3 and 18 hours for Riesling or Chardonnay, and new experiments with whole cluster fermentation.
The fermentation of red wines, thanks to centuries-old traditions, varies according to the grape we are vinifying. Dolcetto ferments on skins for 10/12 days but is racked before fermentation has been completed, to avoid the extraction of bitter tannins. Barbera and Nebbiolo ferment on skins for 12/15 days at average temperatures between 24°C and 28°C. When the fermentation process is complete, Barbera is racked, while Nebbiolo macerates for a further 5/10 days to enhance its elegance.
Nebbiolo for Barolo changes according to the type of Barolo we are making.
“Barolo Classico” ferments on skins for 12-15 days at average temperatures between 24°C and 28°C. Once fermentation is complete, the wine undergoes submerged cap maceration, immersing the skins in the wine for 20 days, allowing better extraction, finer tannins and a more linear structure, which conveys longevity to the wine.
Barolo Serralunga d’Alba has two souls, long fermentation with submerged cap maceration for the more “austere” vineyards, and quicker fermentation, rewarding elegance and finesse, for vineyards richer in sand. The union of the two generates a complex wine, rich in red fruit and spices, enhancing the typical structure of Serralunga.
Barolo Proprietà in Fontanafredda does not usually undergo maceration, but is racked immediately and transferred to wood, postponing malolactic fermentation until the following spring. In this way we are able to give the wine a “new” freshness and expand the elegance and finesse of the lower part of Serralunga.
Barolo Fontanafredda Vigna La Rosa and Vigna La Villa, on the other hand, undergo maceration for an average of 15 days, in an attempt to maintain greater body while obtaining more structure.
Barolo Vigna la Delizia undergoes long maceration, for up to 45/50 days, enhancing the particularity of this soil, amplifying the structure, mentholated freshness and notes of incense that characterizes this terroir.
Barolo Parafada ferments in tonneaux, 50% whole cluster and 50% destemmed. Upon completion of fermentation, it is racked and blended, like Meriame, to enhance the sweetness and also the vegetal and tannic notes of this terroir.
The art of waiting
Ageing is the slow maturation of the wine, day by day until it reaches perfect harmony. We use steel for fresh white wines; tonneaux and barriques for some white wines for ageing; concrete for fresh reds and Slavonian and Allier oak barrels for structured reds.
When we feel that our wines are exactly as we imagined them, they are bottled. This is a crucial moment in which the use of inert gases allows us to achieve a low sulphur content.