Cascina fontana Langhe Nebbiolo

While there’s a certain amount of comfort to be found in the routines and traditions of autumn, isn’t there just a little part of you that misses the adventures of summer? Especially if those adventures took you abroad - somewhere where each day was filled with delicious food and wine, and lingering lunches with a view?

One of the things I love about traveling is that it’s often the simplest meals that form the strongest memories. The roast chicken from a farmer’s market in France, enjoyed with your feet dangling over the Seine; street tacos in Baja, washed down with a cold beer and cloudless view of the ocean; or one of my all-time favorites: long afternoons in Italy, where a charcuterie platter and a group of friends are all you need for the perfect meal.

So my suggestion is this, let’s pick a Sunday afternoon this fall and pretend we’re back on vacation - back on that veranda in Italy, where time doesn’t matter. All that matters is that we have a spread of salty cheeses and charcuterie, good company, and this stunning bottle of Nebbiolo.

Expect aromas of cherry, roses, and tobacco and a refreshing brightness from the lively acidity. And I love how salty foods like cheese and charcuteries balance out the subtle grip of the tannins in this wine - inviting you to spend the evening dancing back and forth between bites and sips until either the bottle or the cheese is all gone. That said, if you have a more formal meal in mind, it would also pair beautifully with:

~ Roast Duck with shaved black truffles
~ Pizza with sun-dried tomatoes, fontina, and sausage
~ Salt crusted pork tenderloin
~ Pasta with bolognese sauce or mushroom sausage ragu
~ Roman-style braised chicken with roasted peppers

Curious to learn more?

For Mario Fontana - arguably one of the last traditional winemakers in the Barolo region - making wine is not just a way to make a living, but a way of describing his land. Where so many others have lowered their standards and broken tradition to make more modern styles of wine for an international market, Mario is a rare glimpse into Italy’s viticultural past.

And now, the story behind this bottle straight from Mario…


“We are a small family wine estate located in the Barolo hills of Le Langhe, south of Alba, in Piedmont, Northwest Italy. 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.

Here, in our beautiful land dedicated to the production of wine, my family has grown grapes and produced wines for at least six generations.

Today I continue to grow the traditional grapes of Le Langhe, dolcetto, barbera and nebbiolo, to produce a range of classic and prestigious wines that are the purest expression of the land from which they are born, Le Langhe.

Cascina Fontana Langhe Nebbiolo is a special and unique wine. Nebbiolo of course is the great grape of the Piedmont, and the source of our greatest wines, such as Barolo and Barbaresco.
Our Langhe Nebbiolo is produced from nebbiolo grapes grown on the historic vineyard of the Castello di Sinio blended with a smaller proportion of nebbiolo grapes from the cru vigneto Il Pozzo in Castiglione Falletto.

The Castello di Sinio vineyard has been in our family for more than a hundred years. For many decades it was tended by Mario’s cousin Armando, who knew the vineyard intimately. Even after he reached the advanced age of more than 90 years, he still personally oversaw the work and passed on to Mario valuable knowledge of this select terroir.

Mario with his grandfather

The nebbiolo grapes destined to become Cascina Fontana Langhe Nebbiolo are vinified for a much shorter period (two weeks) than those destined to become Barolo. This results in a wine that is fresher, if less complex, but no less harmonious and elegant, with a beautiful balance of tannin and acidity. It is possible to age Langhe Nebbiolo for 15 to 20 years after the harvest. While Langhe Nebbiolo partners a range of foods beautifully, the most traditional dish with which it is enjoyed here is plin al ragù.

Great wine is born in the vineyard: the role of the winemaker to intervene as little as possible in order to result in a finished wine that is as pure an expression as possible of the grapes and the land which has given it birth. Thus, after a year of toil in the vineyard, the time the grapes are ready to harvest is ‘il momento della verità’ – the moment of truth. All of the year’s efforts and toil have led to this vital and very special moment. Intuitive decisions that have been made throughout the year, in the depth of winter, during the spring rains, or in the heat of midsummer cannot now be undone. There really is no turning back. My ancestors cultivated these lands before me, and thanks to their efforts, today it is my privilege to be able to produce great wines.”