Visit to the Giuseppe Rinaldi Winery
@ Via Monforte 2, Barolo, Piedmont, Italy (7/4/2016)

After a lovely lunch at La Cantinetta, I walked to the Giuseppe Rinaldi Winery for a 3pm appointment. Another legendary winery which is a Fine Wine Geek favorite with a FWG Giuseppe Rinaldi page. Also, my long-time Nebbiolo group and I sat with Beppe and Marta Rinaldi at the Gala Dinner which was part of the first of Antonio Galloni's La Festa del Barolo events in 2011.

One coincidence of my day is that I had visited Cantina Bartolo Mascarello in the morning. Bartolo Mascarello and Beppe Rinaldi were first cousins because Bartolo's mother, Maria Rinaldi, was the sister of Beppe's father, Battista Rinaldi.

For each image, I have posted a compressed (and possibly cropped) version. Click on it to see the original, much larger image.

In the center of the town of Barolo, across the street from La Cantinetta, there is a small piazza where there is a view
of the side of the G. Rinaldi Winery (in the center of the photo at the top of the hill):

Below is an aerial map photo showing the winery near the center. Above the winery
in the photo is north and closer to the town and the hillside seen in the photo above.
Below (south) and right (east) of the winery is the Le Coste vineyard which
I have outlined in red. Outlined in blue are the G. Rinaldi plots within the Le Coste vineyard.
Original aerial map photo © Google Maps.
Lines drawn with the help of Masnaghetti's Enogea Barolo map book.

Winery History

The official name of this winery is "Rinaldi Giuseppe Azienda Agricola". The Giuseppe Rinaldi referred to in the name is not the current owner, but his grandfather. To avoid confusion, we refer to the current owner as Beppe Rinaldi.

The Rinaldi family has been in the wine business for more than 5 generations. Some time in the second half of the 19th Century, Giovanni Battista Rinaldi left his home in Diano d'Alba to marry Ludovica Barale. I do not know if she was related to Francesco Barale who had founded Barale Fratelli in 1870, but I am trying to find out. This is relevant to our story because we know that in 1900, Carlo Barale, the son of Francesco Barale, married Margherita Rinaldi, the daughter of Giovanni Battista Rinaldi. According the Sergio Barale (grandson of Carlo Barale) this is how the Barale & Rinaldi winery was formed. Carlo Barale and his father-in-law Giovanni Battista Rinaldi were partners in this winery. Here is a bottle from the Barale & Rinaldi Winery:
A bottle like this was mostly likely made for family consumption as most of the grapes produced during the pre-World War I period were sold to the few large producers like Marchesa Falletti.

Carlo Barale died young in 1918. He had 5 children: 2 daughters (Ludovica and Filomena) and 3 sons (Battista, Giuseppe, and Francesco) After his death, the Barale & Rinaldi Winery was split into 3 wineries, one staying with the Barale family, the other two coming from Giovanni Battista Rinaldi's family: Since all three of these wineries came from Barale which was founded in 1870, they all can claim founding in that year.

Focusing now on the Giuseppe Rinaldi Winery, they are not sure of the exact year of their first vintage, but this bottle from the 1921 vintage is the oldest bottle they have which is labeled Giuseppe Rinaldi:

Giuseppe Rinaldi's son Giovanni Battista Rinaldi was born in 1918, and was known as Battista Rinaldi. He was the first resident of Barolo to graduate from the Scuola Enologica di Alba. He began making wine in the family winery in 1944. Battista took over the winery full-time after his father Giuseppe died in 1947. Battista Rinaldi was also the mayor of Barolo from 1970 to 1975. Among his accomplishments as mayor was the acquisition of the Castello di Barolo, which was first used as the town Enoteca, and later as the Enoteca Regionale del Barolo. Battista Rinaldi was also the first president of the Enoteca. It was Battista Rinaldi that bottled the first G. Rinaldi single-vineyard wine, a 1964 Brunate Riserva:
Note that "Brunate" was spelled "Brunata" in those days. Some Le Coste was blended into this for balance. The remaining Le Coste and all of the Cannubi San Lorenzo and Ravera were blended into a base Barolo. This practice continued through 1990. In the years in which the Battista felt the Brunate was sufficiently exceptional, it was bottled separately as a riserva. In other years, the Brunate was blended into the base Barolo.

When Battista passed away in 1992 his son Beppe (b. 1948) left his career as a veterinarian to run the winery. Beppe changed the bottling practice slightly, putting more of the Le Coste in with the Brunate and labeling it as "Brunate–Le Coste". The remaining wine was then bottled as "Cannubi San Lorenzo–Ravera".

In recent years, Beppe's daughter Marta Rinaldi (b. 1985) has joined him in the winery after getting a degree in enology from the institute in Alba. And his younger daughter Carlotta Rinaldi (b. 1988) joined her sister and father in the winery after working in the wine business in New Zealand. She has a degree in agronomy. I had the good fortune to meet with all three of them during my visit.

Starting with the 2010, a further bottling change was imposed from outside. New laws do not allow for more than one vineyard name on a Barolo label, so the winery has gone back to a Brunate bottling (with some Le Coste blended in) and another bottling with grapes from Le Coste, Cannubi San Lorenzo and Ravera. This is labeled "Tre Tine" referring to the three vats from the three vineyards. Here are the 2012 Tre Tine and Brunate just bottled at the time of my visit:
More details can be found on the FWG Giuseppe Rinaldi page.

Walking to the Winery

Original aerial map photo © Google Maps.

If you want to see photos of my walk from lunch through the town of Barolo to the winery, click here.

Arriving at the Winery

This winery was built by Beppe's grandfather Giuseppe Rinaldi in the 1920s.

An old house directly across the street:

The garden inside:

At this point, I was ushered into a sitting room where I waited for Carlotta.
Note that the original image is quite large (over 11 MB).

The other side of the sitting room and a plate with the family symbol, a lyre.

Model cars and a photo,
maybe of Beppe as a boy???
View out the back window of the sitting room.
Boschetti vineyard rising up the opposite hill???

Down in the Cellar

Carlotta took me down into the cellar where her father Beppe eventually joined us.

This office room in the cellar is heaven for the Fine Wine Geek given
his love of Rinaldi wines and his obsession with old Nebbiolo labels.
Note that the original files are quite large.

Near the bottom of this post, I include close-ups of some of these old bottles.

After chatting for a while with Beppe and Carlotta about history, winemaking and many other subjects, Carlotta showed me around the winery.

Large botti aging wine in the cellar:

Small barrels and demijohns are used for overflow and topping up:

The very old Brunate tine (fermentation vat) made from chestnut wood long ago. Carlotta said she believes that every vintage of Brunate was fermented in this vat since the winery was founded. This was whether or not the Brunate wine was eventually bottled by itself, blended with Le Coste, or blended with all three other vineyards to be labeled just Barolo.

A photograph of Beppe’s father, Battista Rinaldi:

Marta working in the winery.

Carlotta getting some 2013 Brunate for us to taste.

My tasting note on this very promising wine:

2013 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (7/4/2016)
[Tasted from botte at the winery.] Gorgeous cherry nose. Soft with sweet red fruit and gripping tannins on the finish.
Hard to judge too precisely at this early stage, but has great potential. Sweet fruit and great structure. Amazing length.
[After Carlotta left, I finished her glass too.] (95–? points)

Before Carlotta left, I asked her for an email address
in case I had some questions later. She used an old
Brunate Riserva label and wrote it on the back.
I thought that was funny. She said,
What else can we do with them?

I spent the last part of my visit chatting with Marta, but I did not take any photos. In fact, my one regret about this wonderful visit is that I did not get a photo which captures what I saw in Marta: A person who is so happy to be in her wine cellar making wine. That's what I saw with my eyes, but did not capture with my camera.

Here is a photo I took of Marta at the 2015 La Festa del Barolo:
That is Franco Massolino next to her.

I came away from this visit with the sense that Marta and Carlotta are quickly assuming more and more responsibility at the winery. And that Beppe is comfortable with this. As he once said, "the future belongs to women!" [The Mystique of Barolo by Maurizio Rosso, 2002, p. 127.]

The future is very bright at Azienda Agricola Giuseppe Rinaldi!

A view of the town from the back of the winery. The photos I took from town of this winery
were taken just to the left of the large beige building on the left.

Carlotta taking her dog Vida for a walk.

Beppe and a worker trying to fix the lock on the gate:

Leaving the winery:

A farm vehicle going by:

Walking back through town to my hotel, I can see Barale Fratelli as I look east on Via Roma back toward La Cantinetta.
It is the 3rd building on the right (with blue shutters) in the 1st photo. There is a woman on the balcony in the 2nd photo.

Later this evening, I had a simple dinner at La Cantinetta.

Bottles on Shelves in the Office

As mentioned above, the office room in the winery is heaven for the Fine Wine Geek given
his obsession with old Nebbiolo labels. Here are photos of some of those bottles:


Later this evening, I had a simple dinner at La Cantinetta.



All original content © Ken Vastola