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domenica 26 febbraio 2017

Visit to Giuseppe Rinaldi in Barolo

Entrance to the Cantina Rinaldi. 
On a slightly cold Friday winter morning in February a friend and I walked to the Giuseppe Rinaldi Cantina to meet one of the daughters, Marta.  The sun was shining magically on the Le coste vineyards as we approached.  

The annual production of Barolo here is around 16,000 bottles.  Rinaldi has 1 hectare of vineyards in Brunate and .5 hectares in Le Coste which produces perhaps their most famous blend of Barolo. The other vineyards for Nebbiolo are Cannubi San Lorenzo and Ravera. The biggest of the four plots is Ravera (3 hectares) which also holds Dolcetto, Barbera and Freisa vines and is used as well for the limited production of their excellent Langhe Nebbiolo. 

8 AM Early morning sun in the Le Coste vineyards of the Rinaldi estate looking south. 

Marta pouring us a sample of 2015 Langhe Nebbiolo from cask
which she explains is still a little nervous at the moment. This will be bottled in one week (at the end of February, 2017).  

2013 Barolo Brunate in an unmarked bottle. 
Marta poured us the unreleased but recently bottled 2013 Brunate. 85% Brunate juice with the remaining 15% from Le Coste vineyard. This was drinking surprisingly pleasant for not having been released yet.  Very healthy fruit with plenty of grip and some classic mint notes surfacing.  

Marta was excited with the results from 2013.  The harvest took place towards the end of October which was later than 2012.  Currently its displaying easier tannins and is a bit more feminine in its personality compared with '12.  2014 was a tough vintage in Barolo and in 2016 the Brunate vineyard got hit with some hail in July.

Beppe joined us to chat about cigars and the new vintage of Brunate.

The legendary chestnut Botte for Brunate.
 The oldest barrel which open ferments each vintages entire harvest from the Brunate vineyard.
This year it is celebrating its 70th harvest 

Beppe drinking Barolo with his father Battista Rinaldi (on the left) in their vineyards some years ago.
This is an old photo hanging just near the stairs to the Cantina.  
Beppe took over the winery full time in 1992 after his father had passed.  By the 1993 vintage he started bottling two different blended Barolos: Brunate - Le Coste and Cannubi San Lorenzo - Ravera.  These bottlings started at roughly 60% to 40% blends. In 2010 when Barolos labeling laws changed they moved to a one vineyard name "Brunate" with minimum 85% Brunate juice and allowing 15% to Le Coste to keep the classic blend alive. The Cannubi San Lorenzo - Ravera blend changed to Tre Tini where the remaining Le Coste juice would go into. 

Classic Piedmont antipasti from top left, Carne Cruda di Fassona, Vitello Tonnato and Insalata Russa. 

During our day in Barolo we stopped at Mangè in La Morra for lunch, one of the only restaurants open since in February most locals are on vacation and close up shop.  I spotted a Rinaldi Langhe Nebbiolo, 2014 at an amazing price for less than $40 and couldn't resist.  One huge difference in Italy is the much smaller mark up on restaurant wine lists compared to the United States.  

Their Langhe Nebbiolo is a very small production of around 2,000 bottles and quite hard to find outside Piedmont.  This bottle didn't let us down and it was extremely delicious and drinkable.  The depth and mouthfeel surpassed all of my expectations and on the palate it had marvelous healthy fruit and a distinctly herbaceous character that went well with all of the classic Piedmont foods.

A big thanks to Marta and the Rinaldi family for a great visit and to Mangè for an always epic yet simple dining experience. 

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