A legend among piedmontese producers, Giuseppe Rinaldi has been producing Barolo wine for over a century. As traditional as it gets, “Beppe” Rinaldi still ferments all of his Baroli in the massive, 110 year old piedmontese oak vat that his great grandfather used. The wines are aged in large old oak for two years before bottling. Rinaldi still holds to the tradition of blending fruit from different vineyards to create a perfectly balanced, long aging wine.
Located just outside the Barolo town limits, on the road to Monforte, both the traditions and the modern developments of Barolo merge. One part of this partnership is represented by the winery’s current owner, Giuseppe Rinaldi, or, more simply, “Citrico,” as he is known to everyone, a veterinarian “lent” to viticulture and winemaking, a compelling raconteur and, according to all, one of the most original and clearest thinkers, not to mention liberal, in all of the Barolo Langa, and the other partner, even more compellingly, the one who preceded Giuseppe in the management of the cellar, his father, Battista Rinaldi.
It was in fact this singular person, whose moral uprightness and austerity became legendary, who turned this winery into one of the great labels of classic Barolo, moving to Barolo from Diano D’Alba at the age of 29, and taking over the winery in 1947 upon the death of his father, and acquiring, together with the Barale family, the ‘l Palas farmhouse from an overseer of the Falletti family.
Graduating with honours from the Scuola Enologica di Alba, Battista Rinaldi was the highly-regarded mayor of Barolo from 1970-1975, succeeding during his term of office in acquiring the Castello di Barolo as communal property, seat first of the town Enoteca, and later of the Enoteca Regionale del Barolo, of which he served as its first president, but he also had the good fortune, to inherit some hectares in particularly valuable terroirs such as Brunate, Le Coste, Ravera, and Cannubi San Lorenzo.
The grapes were vinified in different ways: the Brunate fruit was kept apart, and went into a special riserva that rested in the cellar in large bottles for ten years and was then put in standard bottles, while the other three lots, following one of the most hallowed Barolo traditions, were meticulously blended together.
Beppe Rinaldi joined his father in the winery, with notoriously different opinions than his father, as someday his eldest daughter Marta, after her oenology studies in Alba will join.
Since 1993 there are no longer a “standard” Barolo and a Brunate Riserva, but two different pairs of blends, all sourced from the same 4 estate vineyards: one cuvée of Brunate and Le Coste (10,000 bottles), the other, no less impressive, of Cannubi San Lorenzo and Ravera (from vineyards in Novello) of 3,500 bottles.
Vinification is classic and identical, with lengthy macerations on the skins and maturations in, of course, the large Slavonian oak botti dear to Barolo tradition and to the character of Barolo, since the possibility of using small barrels would never even have occurred to Beppe. These are not wines to be enjoyed in their youth: all of their personality traits, their tannic structure, their acidity and verve, their elegant aromatics, are designed for long cellaring.
The lineup of wines also includes Langhe Nebbiolo (100% nebbiolo obviously), Langhe Freisa, Dolcetto d’Alba, Barbera d’Alba, and a vino da tavola called Rosae, produced from Rouché, a grape perhaps native to Burgundy, an area Beppe Rinaldi knows well and loves.