Thursday, February 15, 2018

Francesco Rinaldi and Giuseppe Rinaldi: The Classicism of Brunate

The Saturday Masterclass (2013 Barolo: Sublime Finesse and Elegance) at 2018's La Festa del Barolo featured six flights of wines, with each wine presented by a representative of the estate. I have previously posted on The Art of the Blend and Renaissance of Verduno and Monvigliero flights and will continue down that path with this post on the flight titled The Classicism of Brunate. This flight features the wines of Francesco Rinaldi and Giuseppe Rinaldi presented by Paola Rinaldi and Carlotta Rinaldi, respectively.

Brunate is a 25-ha, inter-commune vineyard with administrative responsibility shared between the towns of Barolo and La Morra. According to, the soil profiles and exposure on both sides of the communes dividing line are essentially the same but the altitudes differ, ranging from 230 m to 400 m. The soils feature marls of S. Agata fossils with good levels of sand, especially in the higher elevations. reports that:
The lower sand levels in the soil result in aromas that are less intense but feature notes of fruit and spice such as clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg. As the wine matures, the fine structure of the terroir translates into hints of tobacco, rose and liquorice. And in great vintages, the nose has notes of truffle and tar. Alkalinity and elevated calcium levels give the final wine a touch of delicate elegance ... The Barolo of Brunate can be defined as a particularly balanced wine with an ample nose and an intense structure with good alcohol levels, as well as, generous tannins and body.
According to, "It is one of the most representative vineyards of the commune of La Morra and has always been considered one of the points of reference of the entire appellation." Vinous cites Manuel Marchetti of Marcarini who identified Brunate wines as "austere, yet ethereal, notes of spices, mint, licorice and balsamic are all very typical." Polaner Selections was pithy: "Brunate is one of the greatest vineyards in the Barolo region” ... with wines that "... are prized for their depth, power and brilliant balance..."

The Rinaldis
The Rinaldi winemaking heritage actually stretches back to 1870 when the great great grandfather of the current generation -- Giovanni -- merged his inherited vineyard with that of his wife's to form the Barale-Rinaldi estate, the third largest in the region behind Borgogno and Marchesi di Barolo (Labor of Love). The winery continued operation with the contributions of Giovanni's four sons until they parted ways. The original estate continued operation under the name Francesco Rinaldi (the youngest son) and is currently managed by Paola and Piera Rinaldi, great granddaughters of Giovanni and nieces of Luciano Rinaldi.

The Giuseppe Rinaldi estate was founded by Giuseppe Rinaldi who had already been making wines with his brothers but broke away to form his own estate in 1916. The current estate proprietor, Giuseppe, is best known for his continued adherence to the traditional ways of producing Barolo wine. Giuseppe has been joined in the estate by his two daughters Marta and Carlotta with Marta's area of focus being in the cellar while Carlotta spends a lot of her time in the vineyards.

According to Polaner Selections, "These two family wineries have marched down through time side by side, both upholding the unique, traditional style of Barolo that has also been championed by other great names in Piemonte such as Bartolo Mascarello and Bruno Giacosa."

Francesco Rinaldi Brunate
Grapes for this wine are sourced from a 2-ha plot of the famed vineyard. This plot is southeast-facing, with clay soils, and was planted between 1979 and 1981. The Francesco Rinaldi Brunate plot is shown in yellow on the map below.

Rinaldi Barolo vineyards (Source:
Grapes for this wine are vinified in temperature-controlled steel or concrete tanks and are subject to lengthy maceration periods. The cap is managed by automatic pump overs for 20 to 30 days during the maceration period.

After maceration the wine is racked over to Slavonian oak barrels (20 - 30 Hl) for 3 years of aging. After bottling the wine is subjected to additional aging prior to release on the market.

Giuseppe Rinaldi Brunate
The Rinaldi vineyards are farmed organically. The fruit undergoes a month-long pre-fermentation maceration/fermentation/post-fermentation maceration or a month in tall, un-cooled, Slovenian oak vats. Indigenous yeasts are utilized in this effort. Cap management is via twice/day pump overs along with some manual punchdowns. Grape solids are sent to a basket press at the end of the maceration.

The wines are aged in big botti for 3 to 5 years. They are racked once or twice per year during the first two years but are untouched in the third.

The Wines
For the Francesco Rinaldi Brunate, elegant rose petal, tar, licorice and ripe red fruit. Lands on the palate with the feet of a butterfly. Silky tannins, spice and a long, long finish. The Giuseppe Rinaldi Brunate showed tar, roses, licorice, and dark fruit on the nose. Weightier on the palate than was the case for the Francesco Rinaldi but does not suffer as a result. Roundness on palate with balanced, smooth elegance. Beautiful rose wood finish.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

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