1870. Just a mere century ago. That’s when Francesco Rinaldi began making wine in Piemonte.
The family coat of arms, engraved on a vault in the oldest part of their cellar, stands as an important starting point chronicling decades of history and passion for the hills of Barolo. This bears witness to the fortunate intuition of Giovanni Rinaldi. He realized the potential of the little farmhouse on the hill, planted with vineyards, and decided to buy it.
The Rinaldi’s own vineyards in some of Barolo’s most prestigious areas; specifically, La Morra, Castiglione Faletto and Barolo. The family own 2 hectares within the Brunate vineyard. I’ve written about my love for Barolo from Brunate many times. I’m convinced that, along with Cannubi, it is the greatest vineyard in Piemonte. This perfectly cellared example has reinforced that for me yet again.
An issue of style
Barolo aficionados will spend countless hours “debating” the merits of style when it comes to Nebbiolo. I use quotation marks because more times than not, I have seen it escalate to passionate, if not heated displays of rhetoric. That’s because Nebbiolo is unique. Nowhere in the world does it excel as it does in the Langhe. It is very easy to overwhelm Nebbiolo with oak and given the varietals high level of natural tannin, care must be taken to manage wood aging. Barrique can be a dirty word.
I am not against barrique aging for Barolo. Pio Cesare’s Ornato and Luciano Sandrone’s Cannubi Boschis leap to mind as successful examples of the style. As with anything, judicious balance is critical.
Francesco Rinaldi employs a more traditional wine-making style for Le Brunate to incredible success. Sourced from a parcel of Brunate that is 350 meters above sea level, the vines are approaching 30 years of age. After fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine is aged in 5,000 liter Slavonian oak casks for a minimum of 3 years.
The 2010 Francesco Rinaldi Barolo Le Brunate is an absolute masterpiece. In the glass, the wine is a brilliant ruby color. Aromas of wild cherry, turned earth and fennel are present. However, the star of the nose is an enormous core of truffle. Simply ethereal. On the palate, the wine is elegant and full bodied. Ripe flavors of crushed cherry, fennel and mushroom are powerful. The balance is impeccable. As a result, this drinks wonderfully with and without food. It is a treat to be cherished. Long, long sambuca tinged finish. My last bottle, but I am on the hunt for more recent vintages. An absolute colossal wine and a bargain. 98 points. Find this wine.
With that, we bring down the curtain on 2021. As I sit typing, I’ve still got the cold that has been nagging me for the better part of a month. No, it’s not Covid as I’ve twice tested negative. So 2022 will start slowly as I regain prime tasting form. For the time being, I wish you a safe, wonderful and wine filled New Year. 2022 here we come!