The next time you drink Barolo, offer a toast to the Marchesa Falletti Giulietta Vitturnia Colbert di Maulévrier. It was she who wanted her nebbiolo wine to celebrate in name the place of its origin: Barolo.
Indeed, Marchesa Giulietta was “…a cultured…and generous benefactress and the leading light in a generation of Barolo makers who laid the foundations of town’s future fortune.”1
True, guys. It took a woman to name Italy’s King of Wines 😉
Many times I had the good fortune to return home with my bag of wine samples still containing a taste or two of Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo left in the bottle. In the words of singer-songwriter James Taylor, these were days where “Daddy loves his work”.
It is odd to me that Rinaldi so often flies beneath the radar of many die hard Barolo geeks – this producer is a pillar of quality and tradition in Barolo winemaking. So, I am happy to write here about three vintages of Barolo Brunate – Le Coste from this exceptional producer.
Giuseppe Rinaldi entered the wine business through the portal of a long family tradition in winemaking, leaving behind a professional life as a veterinarian and taking over the family wine business in 1992 when his father, Battista Rinaldi, passed away.
Although the label of “traditionalist” would apply here, I more like to think of Rinaldi as a classicist, as it is a word that conveys a certain intelligence and respect not only for traditional viewpoint, but also for principles and ideas which tradition rests upon. A subtlety, yes, but one that I think is more accurate in terms of where Rinaldi is coming from, so to speak, and one which he deserves.
If you are a Barolo lover, I am guessing you are already familiar with the name Brunate. But if not, you’ll want to remember it: Brunate is among the grandest and finest of Barolo crus and constitutes the lion’s share (80%) of Rinaldi’s Barolo Brunate – Le Coste cuvee. Brunate is known for wines of great balance, permeating fragrance and considerable structure. Le Coste, another highly regarded Barolo cru, is fantastically located with good southern exposure and excellent sun, and completes the cuvee. (Yes, a cuvee – although classic and traditional, Giuseppe Rinaldi does not fear original thinking.)
The Rinaldi Barolo cuvees – there are 2 – are made from 100% nebbiolo grapes sourced from the estate’s plots – in this case Brunate and Le Coste – and follow the same traditional vinfication course: long macerations on skins, daily punch downs by hand and maturation carried out in large wood vats, and aged for 3+ years in botti, the large casks of Slavonian oak ubiquitous to traditional Barolo winemaking.
Tasting Notes / Impressions:
Rinaldi Barolo Brunate – Le Coste 2001
Medium garnet color with translucence reminiscent of fine crystal. Cherry kirsch, flower, and spice aromas interlace an alluring incense. Exquisitely complete flavors of red fruit, flower, tobacco, and powdered chocolate and a spirit of feminine strength. Finishes with the firm embrace of classic Barolo tannins.
Rinaldi Barolo Brunate – Le Coste 2000
Medium ruby color. A smokey, brooding perfume of red berries, dark fruit, earth, tobacco, eucalyptus. That mood continues on the palate with rich, shaded sensations of cherry kirsch with hints of truffle and plum. Masculine in personality compared to the 2001, the wine finishes with a handshake of aftertaste and firm tannins that do not miscommunicate what you are drinking.
Rinaldi Barolo Brunate – Le Coste 1999
Slightly darker than medium ruby color. Incredibly complex on the nose – earthy aromas seem to breathe in and out an entirely other perfume of roses, leather, and berries, as if each embodies the other. Delicious acidity underscores the intensity of ripe dark berry fruit and hint of pipe tobacco. Powerfully tannic, massively structured, with an ethereal, slowly retreating finish strung with haunting images of aroma and flavor.
NOTE: Rinaldi wines are intended for long cellaring – don’t make the expensive mistake of buying a recent vintage and opening it for dinner tonite ;-).
Food Pairing Suggestions:
MEAT: red meats and game, either braised, stewed, roasted, especially try Brasato al Barolo (beef braised in red wine) served over polenta; veal stuffed with cheese and flecks of truffle; Risotto: hearty risotto cooked with red wine (barbera or nebbiolo); Cheeses: well aged cheeses.
1. A Wine Atlas of the Langhe: The Great Barolo and Barbaresco Vineyards: published by Slow Food Editore, authored by Vittorio Manganelli and other writers, edited by Carlo Petrini. NOTE: This is an absolutely incredibly volume and highly recommend it for your reference library or general reading.