I’ll Drink to That: Barolo Producer Umberto Fracassi Ratti Mentone

Episode 425 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features Umberto Fracassi Ratti Mentone, the sole producer of a Barolo from Cherasco, which he produces for the eponymous family winery in Italy’s Piemonte region.

Umberto Fracassi is little known, even among hardcore Piemonte aficionados, but he is a key figure in Barolo as he is the only producer working in the Cherasco subzone. His Barolo is the only example of a Nebbiolo grown in Cherasco, and has been for some time. Umberto has wine labels from the family winery in Cherasco dating back to the late 1800s, and his family has roots in the area back to the 13th century. Cherasco, like Verduno, borders La Morra, but Cherasco, even though it is historically important as a town, is much less well known to wine lovers today than Verduno is. Umberto Fracassi explains some of the history associated with the area, and explains the notable aspects of Cherasco, both as a growing zone and as a town. This is a rare opportunity to hear from the Marchese, as there is little written about him in wine literature, and most visitors to the Piemonte have never even seen him. This interview is also an opportunity to hear about some particular specialties of the Fracassi winery, such as the white grape variety Favorita, and a Dolcetto produced in the “Nebbiolata” fashion. Those who study the Piemonte will want to listen to this interview to fill in some unique aspects of the Fracassi history and production. Those who are maybe less familiar with the region are likely to be charmed by the Marchese, who comes off as a good-natured person who enjoys a good glass of wine.

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I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine