Priya & Alex, A Vine Romance
It was a whirlwind visit for Danilo Drocco, winemaker at Fontanafredda in Barolo, Italy. He swept into Toronto for a lunch and dinner, only to rush back to the vineyard the following morning as they are deep into harvest season and as he said, “My job is to talk about Nebbiolo, but more importantly, to make Nebbiolo.”
Alex was especially thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down with Danilo as the 1974 Barolo was the first ‘big’ (read “expensive”) bottle of wine he had ever purchased as a gift for his father. They even had a bottle of that very vintage at the tasting, bringing back some very poignant memories!
Fontanafredda is located in Serralunga, which is considered to have the best soil of the 9 regions of Barolo. The soil here is more ancient and not very nutrient-rich thus the grapes have to struggle, which results in very intense flavour.
We appreciated the care and respect for the environment that Danilo expressed, saying “Our generation must also think about future generations.”
While he doesn’t quite ascribe to biodynamic winemaking, he does believe in letting nature do her thing without interference. In fact, they’re also toying with decreasing the amount of sulphites in their wines by up to 50%.
They encourage biodiversity and the growth of grass in the vineyards, avoid any herbicides or other chemicals, and help the vines only in so much as they position the leaves to have as much sun-contact as possible. After all, “A great wine is made from little details”.
Priya: Danilo and Fontanafredda have clearly worked on making barolo accessible to newer wine drinkers.
I love this quote referring to their approach to barolo: “Less aristocratic, more democratic.” Although I usually find barolo beyond my newbie palate, a few of these wines were right up my alley!
Alex: Indeed they would be Priya! While the reserve bottlings are certainly powerfully built to last for decades, the ’11 Barolo Classico and ’11 Serralunga d’Alba barolo are both made in a fashion to balance drinkability in youth with ability to age. Barolo everyday, bys?
Priya: I loved hearing the history of the La Rosa vineyard. As the story goes, the King fell in love with and married Bella Rosine, one of his soldier’s daughters.
This vineyard is her namesake. A love story that reminds me of the Taj Mahal and how Shah Jahan built it to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Ok maybe not so romantic since she was only one of many wives but hey, times were different back then! In any case, we enjoyed both ,the 2011 La Rosa and the 1998 La Rosa.
Alex: The wines from this vineyard are the essence of a magnificent woman in liquid form! Round and lush, satiny in texture, with sultry fruit, exotic aromatics and exquisite grace on the palate.
Ms. Rosine tantalizes us forevermore through the vineyard La Rosa! Ok, dreams aside, the barolo from here does produce a more feminine expression, due to a higher quantity of sand -er, pixie dust -in the soil here than is normal in Serralunga.
This vertical collection pictured below of 6 Riserva wines with original art by Ugo Nespolo was on display and would make a terrific gift for any Barolo lover!
Priya & Alex, A Vine Romance
Wine Blogger & Sommelier
Alex and Priya are not only wine lovers, but lovers in real life. No wine snobbery here — they’re all about bringing wine back to the masses.
Alex is a Certified Sommelier who lives, breathes, and of course, drinks wine. He is very passionate about wine and is currently the in-house sommelier for celebrity chef Susur Lee’s “Frings” restaurant.
Alex was the only person in a class of over 200 students to earn a perfect score on his Wine Specialist Exam in Napa, California.
Priya, an actor and on-camera host with top Canadian film talent, is a casual drinker and an entertaining hostess. With her background as a comic performer and producer, Priya has also produced and hosted events for groups of 100 to more than 2,000 guests.
Together, they are the hosts of the television series, “The Drink” on Bell FIBE1, where they visit the best venues and events to experience wine and fine beverages in Toronto