TN Fontanafredda 160th Anniversary Vertical Collection 1982–2010

‘The king of wines, the wine of Kings’ — is said about Barolo and true for Fontanafredda.

Based in Serralunga d’Alba, winery played crucial role in history of Barolo. Founded by Vittorio Emanuele II, the 1st King of Italy in 1858.

The history of estate is like a rollercoaster ride and reminds to many the history of Barolo itself. When royal family gone bankrupt, it was sold to the world oldest bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena in 1931. Since 2009 it belongs to the owner of Eataly. Winery owns ~100ha being the largest producer in Barolo. It has built a reputation for a very affordable Barolo. For a long time it produced Barolo for Autogrill, the largest chain of roadhouses.

Barolo Riserva is produced only from estate owned vineyards, mostly from Serralunga d’Alba. All wines were stored in estate cellars and released for 160th anniversary. Pristine condition, new corks, good levels and beautiful labels.

1982 Tar and roses. So classic, so deep. Complete graceful wine. Simply fantastic. Ripe fruit. Balsamic and truffle tertiary aromas. Little bit of sandalwood. And eucalyptus finish.1982 is a blockbuster vintage. Gorgeous, richly textured and structured wines. (96pts)

2010 Oh, this menthol and eucalyptus oil notes. Strawberry. Touch of colour paint. Sandy tannins are ripe. Nose is great.It is surprisingly accessible and already showing how good it is. Should be laid down to gain more complexity on the palate. Huge potential ahead.Another great vintage. 2010 had long, cool growing season. (93+pts)

1996 Tight in the beginning. Fruits and berries. Perfumed intense aromatics. Rose petals, rather concentrated and sweet on the nose. Very focused. Energetic. Good balance on the palate. Ripe fruits, dense with medium (-) body. Dries rose and black cherry.1996 is a classic Barolo vintage. Wines with good structure, tough tannins and nervous acidity. (92pts)

1998 Lots of red berries. Slightly green on the nose. This Barolo has some weight. Tannin is present, ripe and granular. Acidity is very refreshing.1998 is sometimes referred to as a sleeper vintage. (91+pts)

1999 Concentrated and dense version of Barolo. Ripe jammy dark fruits in chocolate. Plums and dark red rose. Intense perfumed aromatics.1999 overall is considered as excellent vintage in Barolo. (90pts)

2000 Vanilla dominant. Very straightforward and one dimensional wine. Tannins are present and granular. Overall impression of a hot dry year with overripe fruits. It has Barolo typicity into it, but the wine is just not great. (89pts)

I must say the labels look dreadful to me.
Art is always difficult. I do think the red jelly mould / dome is the sort of thing that gives art a bad name and the one after it not much better. I rather like the 3rd one on the top row and the penny farthing is pleasant, though I'm not sure of the relevance.

As for the wines, when the supermarkets do cut-price offers on the basic silver labelled Barolo, then it can be well worth buying. Nothing profound, but a good step up from Araldica and Terre del Barolo's basic bottling. Beyond that, I'd had a couple of very decent older bottles (late 1950s), but am less enthused to seek the current era wines. Although we do usually fit in a visit to Eataly when in Torino, it's not the highlight that some people see it as. For me there is much better quality (and cheaper / friendlier) in the city itself, and it is very noticeable how Farinetti's own products get the prime spots in the shop. It's not a food temple, but rather one of the best (if not the best) supermarkets.