You might think otherwise, bur considerable thought goes into our Wine of the Week. There are certain criteria, e.g. we will not simply choose the obvious ones necessarily, the most expensive you-know-who-they-are wines, but rather seek out what we think is good value (so that one does not have to sell the boat to drink the wine), they are often wines that are somewhat under the radar, and, yes, we have to like it. We’ve had this week’s wine (07 vintage) of the week a couple of times already this year, but it was not until now we put it here. I guess we had it in the wrong bracket for a while (Langhe Nebbiolo), when it really should be judged as a Barolo. In many ways, it is similar to the Langhe Nebbiolos of Cavallotto, Altare, Cappellano, Marengo, CaViola, and Vietti. Nebbiolos that are a tad more expensive than the others (except for Cavallotto that is – I hope Laura, Giuseppe, and Alfio is not reading this, as price will then go up immediately), but that are really (look, taste, and age as) barolos, and thus warrant the higher price level.
The Rinaldi winemaking tradition goes back to 1870, and their winery to 1890, when the modern day Giuseppe’s grandfather by the same name started the winery, and acquired much of the vineyards still in the family’s possession. Next in line was Battista Rinaldi, who in addition to being a mayor of Barolo from 1970 to 1975, moved the needle on their wines quality. His son Giuseppe (also known as Beppe, or Citrico) today carries the torch, making Barolo with respect for tradition and history. Together with his daughter, Marta, they have just over 6 hectares of vines (including parcels in the Cannubi, Brunate, and Le Coste vineyards), and although they are most famous for their nebbiolos (who have gotten rave reviews, especially of late), they also make a dolcetto, a barbera, a Langhe Freisa, and a vino da tavola (Rosae) produced from the Ruche (Rosae) grape.
This week’s WOTW, the 08 Langhe Nebbiolo, resembles the Rinaldi barolos in many ways. It will probably age longer than most other Langhe Nebbiolos, and it’s more tannic than most others at this early stage of its life. That said, it is more than drinkable. It’s muscular, yet elegant. Black berries come to mind. And red fruits. Tons of it. The 07 had some tar aromas, but we cannot find them here. Very fresh. Yes, it is easy to enjoy now, but I cannot help to think that it would be even better down the road when the tannins smooth out. Long aftertaste. Better than the “industrial” Barolo DOCGs you find in this price segment. In our opinion, one of the top Langhe Nebbiolos around. Well done, Beppe and Marta. Wonderful stuff. We’ll save some for later years too!
A 07 bottle from last summer