Vino Vinace Consulting

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Rinaldi, Giuseppe
Rinaldi, Giuseppe
Via Monforte 2
Barolo  CN
tel. 0173 56156
fax 0173 56156

Giuseppe Rinaldi looks a bit disheveled as he greets us at his door and seems to have forgotten our appointment completely. This is neither surprising or seemingly out of character for one of the great unsung heroes of Piemontese winemaking.

Unsung may be a bit of a stretch, the real problem here is that these exceptional wines are gobbled up like by cognoscenti and very rarely return into the marketplace. And as if that didn’t make things difficult enough there is simply not enough of his exceptional Nebbiolo d’Alba, not to mention Ruche, Freisa, Barbera and Dolcetto to satisfy local demand so forget about seeing these wines in the US.

It was with great anticipation that we were led into the house to join Giuseppe in his sitting room. For almost an hour while he lit and relit his beloved Toscani cigar we discussed life and politics, business and prosciutto. Once we had passed the oral exam we were treated to a few slices of spectacular prosciutto before being led down in the cellar.

With a mischievous glint in his eye Giuseppe asked what we wanted to try. When we respond “everything” he rolls his eyes and gruffly complains about having to open bottles of everything. In fact with each bottle open comes a gruff yet joking routine of surprise and bewilderment that we would want to try something other than Barolo, especially Freisa of all things!

This demeanor is not reserved for us though as minutes into our tasting we are joined by a regular customer of Rinaldis who is forced to sit and taste with us as he patiently waits to buy wine. Giuseppe even gives his friend a hard time about buying wine, complaining he is buying too much!

None-the-less we get a tour of the modest facilities including the new cellar one level down for a library collection that included shelves made with beautiful planks of wood and has a new, true cave dug out to one side. Unfortunately the cave is off limits today as its access passageway has just had a cave-in! Among the ageing bottles on the main level of the cellar are curing prosciutto, gift prosciutto, Giuseppe likes his prosciutto!, ageing tobacco for his Toscani and of course wine.

We were able to sample the entire line-up in bottle during this unique and slightly surreal visit and while the visit itself may not please everyone the wine speak for themselves. These are classics in the making

2006 Freisa – 88pts

Dark and floral on the nose with intense minerality 2+
Big, rich entry, really concentrated with earthy tannins and solid acids 2+
Dark berry fruit drapes over the slightly rustic structure with a gamy edge and emerging minerality on the back end 2+
Finishes a bit short but the mineral core leads to a richly fruited finale with dark, wild berry notes 2+

2006 Barbera – 93pts

The nose is bursting with juicy plumy fruit over a base of sand and concrete notes with cutting violet top notes 3
Pretty round in the mouth with lots of sweet fruit up front, soft tannins, and solid acidity 3
The plush, cashmere textured fruit creeps over the tongue blanketing it with sweet, ripe, plumy fruit and gentle suggestions of chamomile like herb tones 3
Finishes with moderate length and emerging mineral tones that lead to a mouthwatering blueberry finale 2+

2006 Dolcetto – 89pts

Really dark on the nose with emerging notes of seared plum, parchment, split leather and a bit of savory parsley root 2+
Soft acids in the mouth with lots of austere tannin, very focused 2
A bit tough in the mouth with drying tannins that clip the plum and mineral tone but do keep the wine taut and faceted in the mouth 2+
Finishes with great length and pure, clean fruit that gives unusually precise definition to the fruit that has an edge of bitter cocoa 3

2006 Ruche – 86pts

Opened for 2 days

Sweet macerated flowers on the nose are joined by bright lingonberry fruit and a bit of a terpene edge 2
Light and feathery in the mouth with a whisper of structure and a slightly viscous mouthfeel 2
Faded on the palate with delicate floral tones and moderately intense, anonymous fruit 2
The finish is very long with a bit of bitterness and a finale of bitter cherry fruit 2
A bottle of the 2007 was opened later and it should much better definition both on the nose and the palate with strong notes of tea and smoke but in all honest by then I did not have time to full assess the wine. I will have to return!

2006 Nebbiolo d’Alba – 91pts

From the Ravera vineyard in Novello
Adds acidity to the Cannubi-Ravera blend
7 to 10 day maceration followed by 1.5 years in large, old wood.

Very intense aromatics with great purity to the tobacco/herbal tones and deep core of wild cherry fruit, emerging notes of dry earth, leather and licorice add complexity 3
Exceptional balance in the mouth with a clear acidity and balanced, ripe tannins 3
Clean and refreshing in the mouth with excellent transparency to the low intensity cherry/berry fruit add the emerging vein of dark mineral and herb stem tones 2+
Finishes long with a brisk, mouth cleansing quality to the notes of sweet red cherry and herbal tea notes 2+

2004 Barolo Cannubi San Lorenzo/Ravera – 91pts

Not revealing much though with classic notes of concrete dust and beet root emerging, a touch of dried porcini and tar 2
Sweet and fresh on entry with seamless integration, really gentle tannins 3
Freshly fruited with notes of peach, red apple skins and dark berry tones. High-toned and elegant with a layered texture that is incredibly approachable and luxurious 3
Great length and a really pure feeling. Depth in hiding. This is reticent yet has all the requisite components to emerge as a classic. I wish I had a few hours to spend with this 3

2004 Barolo Brunate – Le Coste – 92pts

This is full on open with an incredible array of fruit liquor, rose, dark berry, earth, tar and balsamic notes that soar from the glass 3+
Big, rich and burly in the mouth with a wall of tannins and great acids 2+
Dark and earthy in the mouth with almost musky floral tones and rich, meaty dark bitter cherry fruit that struggles to emerge from behind the structure, very tight 2+
The finish is coy and teasing revealing only snippets of the huge complexity held in reserve. This is so young but given the promise and the track record this should be exceptional and one of the wines of the vintage 3

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