At least this morning I was able to get a good night's sleep. Our first appointment today is not until 11am, with Giuseppe Rinaldi. If anyone is a cult superstar in Barolo it is Rinaldi. Many will argue that the wines have improved under the supervision of Marta Rinaldi, which may be true, but these have always been among the best of the best here in Barolo.
Having said that, the public has spoken and there is no wine here. Not quite, but today's tasting has followed a pattern over the years of ever fewer wines being offered. Today we tasted three wines, the 2012s from botte and a lovely 2013 Nebbiolo. 2012 is turning out to be a very varied vintage with wines that range from a touch dilute and delicate, to powerful and complete. I have yet to get my head wrapped around the vintage but the 2012 Rinaldi Brunate is a bit more towards the delicate side of the spectrum, a touch simple, though with great energy and elegance in the mouth. I imagine it will put on weight in the botte and the bottle and should be it usual standout self.
The Nebbiolo is, as always, standout among Nebbiolo, and as good as if not better than quite a few Barolos. Sadly we did have a bottle of the 2012 Rinaldi Barbera I believe, the bottle was thrown out, that was refermenting in the bottle. A note of caution and perhaps an indication of the risk one might have to take to hit the high notes so often.
Our visit was lead by the modest and sweet Carlotta Rinaldi on this day. Any question we had was answered and the visit itself was quite informative and complete, just don't get your hopes up for lots of a grand tasting here. For that you'll have to buy the bottles, and not here either. They are, after all, all sold out!
Lunch was the usual, back to Montanello, though we swung by the little market in Gallo, a lovely family store that sells virtually everything one might need for a meal from freshly baked breads and house made salumi to fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, frigate, and all the basic a person might want. A great alternative to the Famila supermarket right down the street.
Today they are simply Barale, and if you've been lucky you've been treated to some fabulous wines from them for the past several decades, my experience goes back only to 1961, but it includes many standout wines. Sergio, salt of the earth, and Eleonora, sweet, gentle, and sharp as a tack, seem to share the reins here today, and the infusion of a woman's touch and a younger outlook seem to have moved the style of wine slightly. In the past the wines could have been faulted for being a bit rustic and severe, nothing that time wouldn't cure, but the impression I got was that the wines profited a bit too much from press wine, and perhaps from either too much time in wood, or barrels that might have been a bit too old. Today the wines remain traditional and classic, but with fresher perfumes, crisper fruit, and a more refined mouth feel.
Holdings in Bussia and Cannubi are a source of pride for the family, but their historic holdings in Castellero produce a fabulous Barolo that is perhaps more approachable than the other two single vineyards, but no less of a great wine!