A note on the meaning and usage of “col fondo”

col fondo (KOHL FOHN-doh), literally, with the [its] bottom, and by extension, with its sediment.

From the Latin fundus (meaning bottom), the Italian fondo can denote the “bottom” of many things, as in the fondo del mare, the bottom of the sea or sea bed.

In Italian wine parlance, the term is used regularly to denote sediment, solids, dregs, and lees, depending on the context.

col is an articulated preposition, a composite of con meaning with and il meaning the.

col is generally reserved for literary Italian. Take, for example, the first line of sonnet 56 from fourteenth-century lyric poet Francis Petrarch’s songbook, Se col cieco desir che ‘l cor distrugge (If, through [with] the blind desire that destroys the heart).

But because of its mellifluous nature, it’s often found in workaday language as well: col cane (with [one’s] dog), col latte (with milk), etc.

It should not be confused with the abbreviated form col for colle meaning hill.

Some have attributed the coinage of col fondo to the well known and much beloved Venetian wine bar owner and restaurateur Mauro Lorenzon.

But others maintain that the expression was commonly used by the pre- and post-war generations in Treviso province.

Partly to set its packaging and marketing materials apart from those of other producers, Bele Casel writes colfòndo on its label. The accent grave on the o of fondo denotes its tonic character (excuse the pun) in the scansion of the expression.

col fondo sur lie

Author: Bele Casel

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.