Francesco Rinaldi, Barolo "Le Brunate"
Francesco Rinaldi, Barolo "Le Brunate"

Francesco Rinaldi, Barolo "Le Brunate"

Piedmont, Italy 2017 (750mL)
Regular price$82.00

Francesco Rinaldi, Barolo "Le Brunate"

There are traditionalist estates in the now world-famous commune of Barolo, and then there is Francesco Rinaldi. If there were an award for upholding tradition, Rinaldi would win hands down. They’ve changed almost nothing in their 150 year history, though by standing still on a moving planet they have once again come into the limelight. With increasingly warm and dry summers, the staunch classicism of Rinaldi is producing supremely balanced, elegant wines. 2017 is exhibit A: The hotter, shorter growing season led to a wine that at just six years of age is already fascinating, captivating, and sensuously fun to drink. Of course it will age like a classic Barolo too, but the opportunity to get all the goods—sweet cherries, dusty earth, crushed roses, and much more—up front is very hard to pass up.

For 150 years the iconic address of Francesco Rinaldi, in the heart of the eponymous village, has produced wines that are snapshots of terroir and history. Perhaps only their cousins at Giuseppe Rinaldi, and the various Mascarellos and Odderos, share the same level of devotion to tradition. But even those icons have made some small adjustments and additions over the decades. Not so at Francesco Rinaldi. The only thing that has changed is the addition of basket press (hardly new technology) to replace foot trodding, and maybe some electricity for lighting. Indeed the only other change has been who is at the helm, and even that has barely budged as Luciano Rinaldi has had that position since 1941! The spry nonagenarian is now supported by his nieces Paola and Piera, and they will likely be joined by the next generation soon enough.

The Rinaldi holdings are capped by two of Barolo’s top crus, Cannubi and Brunate. Long before it became the fashion and focus of many of the region’s top estates, they were bottling these crus separately and of course continue to do so today. Our focus is the Brunate, an ancient vineyard that sits on the border between Barolo proper and La Morra. The Rinaldi team has two hectares of 40 plus year old vines here, growing on the classic mix of clay, limestone, and sand. The terroir is one of balance, and is at the heart of the Barolo legend of combining deep, brooding power with elegant, velvety texture. This is textbook stuff, and all the more delicious for it.

2017 was a very warm, dry vintage, as is becoming more and more common in Piedmont. However, there were less major heat spikes, slightly cooler evenings, and some serendipitous rain in September that gave a bit of extra hang time to an otherwise short growing season. Classic, old school producers with excellent terroir fared best, and so you have the glorious bottle of Rinaldi Brunate on offer today. Serve cool, in a large Burgundy stem, and the vibrant, ruby red color with only the slightest hint of brick orange at the rim will usher you into a full spectrum of spiced cherries, crushed raspberries, dried roses, wild herbs, porcini, bramble, tar, and hints of orange zest. A super classic Barolo deserves a super classic pairing, so go for some osso buco over a bed of risotto. There’s really nothing more comforting than a hearty meal and a perfectly paired bottle of wine, that’s how you embrace the fall!

Francesco Rinaldi, Barolo "Le Brunate"

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