Giuseppe Fanti in Trentino
Giuseppe Fanti, Photo Credit
Twenty years ago, Alessandro Fanti, the son of Giuseppe, was the first in the Trentino to plant Manzoni Bianco– a cross between Riesling and Pinot Blanc– in two plots, at 300m and 600m. A champion of indigenous varietals, he was also a pioneer in elevating the quality of Nosiola, an indigenous grape from Trentino that was at the time, near extinction. A true farmer who lives close to the land, Alessandro Fanti took over Giuseppe Fanti from his father in 1972, and became the first in the family since the 18th century to start bottling his wines.
Producing only 17,000 bottles a year, Alessandro is hands-on, managing and engaged in every step of the process from farming to fermenting and bottling his wines. Experimenting with biodynamic techniques, Fanti’s vineyards are ICEA certified organic and with low-yielding vines (approximately 1 kilo per vine) that are the result of an intense green harvest, especially with the Nosiola, a varietal that needs a lot of sun and ventilation. Planted at 500m to soils of marnose calcareous with red soils that are rich in iron and aluminum, Nosiola elsewhere is typically reserved for blends or bottled with elevated residual sugar, but here it is aged on lees for approximately nine months before being bottled at 100%. Giuseppe recommends serving it with trout, anchovies and antipasto.
Alessandro Fanti, photo credit
“A grape of large structure and freshness,” said Giuseppe, the Manzoni Blanco, along with Fanti’s other varietals, are planted to the rolling hills of Pressano, on the eastern side of the Adige River, just opposite the Dolomites. With eight months on its lees, the Manzoni Blanco is long on the palate with floral, citrus and mineral notes that pair well with crustations.
Also made from 100% Manzoni Blanco that’s planted at 600m (the highest plot of Manzoni) to mountain soils of loess, stone and granite in the Vigo Vineyard, the “Isador” ferments for 3-4 weeks in a “completely reductive environment” before spending another ten months on it’s fine lees, followed by 10-12 months in the bottle.
A blend of barrel fermented Chardonnay and stainless steel fermented Manzoni with a touch of Nosiola, the Giuseppe Fanti Pritianum –round and structured with great acidity– is an expression of Alessandro’s best vineyards.
“The only way to be a true contadino [or farmer], is to endeavor to understand a little,” said Giuseppe when we last visited the winery. “The system is as old as the world. An empirical system. Solutions are not on a label or a certificate.”