The story of Azienda Agricola Tiberio rings more like a new world tale than one from the old world of the ancient lands beneath the Majella and Gran Sasso mountains in Abruzzo. At 350 meters, twenty three miles inland from the seaside city of Pescara near the hillside town of Cugnoli, Riccardo Tiberio found an old plot of Trebbiano Abruzzese vines roughly 50 years old so impressive that he decided to change his and his family’s destiny.
Only one of three white wines to make this list of Italy’s best wines of 2020, so you know just how seriously superb it is. Every sip of the 2018 Fonte Canale tells you that you are in the presence of greatness, as it magically combines the cooler aspects of vintages like 2013 and 2015, and the riper tropical elements of the 2014, but without losing its typical laser-like, high acid personality. The secret to this wine achieving greatness was the specific weather pattern of the 2018 vintage, that allowed for two extra weeks of hang time than usual (compared to the 2017 vintage, for example, but preceeding ones too). There is a degree of complexity that is even deeper than usual in this young and highly promising wine. I have no doubts that, much as in past vintages, you will also find that as the Fonte Canale ages it takes on remarkably Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos-like nuances (Les Clos more so than Valmur or Blanchots). Best of all, this wine embodies to fullest effect what magical results can be obtained through the combination of very old vines, the right biotype of a grape variety wrongly thought to be uninteresting, and a suitable terroir, not to mention a talented producer. If it isn’t the best Fonte Canale ever made, it’s darn close. Drinking window: 2024-2038.
You could lose yourself in the bouquet of the 2018 Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Fonte Canale. Lemon confit and exotic sweet florals gain further depths through notes of dried apricot, flint and crushed limestone. This enters the palate silky and pliant, yet it firms up quickly, becoming more angular, as salty acids and minerals saturate, giving way to hints of young mango and sour melon. An almondy richness resonates through the long and tension-filled finale, with tart orchard fruits lingering incredibly long. Wow. The 2018 is a wonderfully complete and harmonious vintage of Fonte Canale that will enjoy a long and open drinking window. At the time of tasting, this was transporting me to Puligny-Montrachet. 2022 – 2034
Elegant notes of green apples and flowers with hints of citrus and flint lead to a dry palate, harmonious and flinty, with plenty of refreshing citrus and a creamy texture. Drinking Window 2023 – 2026