The historic estate of Fontanafredda conceals one or two little secrets – not least the hunting lodge to which its origins can be traced back to 1878. The property of the first King of Italy, it was not only a base for his hunting of the local game, but also for more, shall we say, earthy pursuits. The king’s mistress, stationed at Fontanafredda, gave birth to a son and, while not officially recognised as royal progeny, he was granted the lodge when the King died. The development of Fontanafredda as we know it today ensued – until a bank took it over in lieu of unpaid gambling debts. Today, thanks to a law prohibiting Italian banks from owning agricultural assets, the estate has passed into the sympathetic hands of Oscar Farinetti, founder of the Eataly chain of Slow Food restaurants and a native of nearby Alba. It’s a winery that combines this great history – Fontanafredda used to have its own bakery and school, and still preserves a great sense of community – with thoroughly modern production facilities for everything from Asti to Barolo.
It is a deep rustic red in colour with an aromatic, spicy nose of red fruits and damsons. Medium bodied and soft, with balancing structure to the blackberry and morello cherry flavours, finishing rounded and supple with a hint of liquorice.
This wine is excellent with pasta, particularly with a cheese based sauce, or meaty pizzas and pan fried or barbecued red meat.