Tag Archives: Brunate

An interesting Brunate from Francesco Rinaldi

DSC045512010 Barolo Brunate, Francesco Rinaldi

Totally transparent, glowingly blood orange with red purple nuances.

Very fine tuned, reticent nose that really take its time to show its overly complex perfume of dog rose, Asian spices and beautiful perfume, classic roses as well as some anise.

On the palate, the texture and softness of tannins impress and confirm this vintage. The acidity is very balsamically fresh and approachable wrapping green pears. Fruit is clean and we are offered balsamic herbs and some typical site-specific anise seeds. Good length and purity.

This is a good represent of the vintage and it is very balanced with fantastic acidity. As many 2010’s it is preparing for a sleep period and needs a lot of time to be woken up now. However, it is not really up to the same level as their Cannubi in this vintage we think. Wait until 2022 to open this.


The 2011 Brunate from Beppe “Citrico” Rinaldi


On our current trip to Barolo we made a stop today to say hello to Enzo Brezza. We also had our lunch at his restaurant on top of his wine cellar (cantina). He has a great wine list that also includes other fellow wine makers. Today we decided to taste the newly released 2011 vintage of Brunate from Beppe Rinaldi. Readers can probably recognise the Barolo castle in the background.

Beppes Brunate is always great, but nothing yet compares to the amazing 2010 vintage tested here.

If anyone has missed out on our visit to them it is here.

2011 Barolo “Brunate”, G. Rinaldi

Sir Galahad:

Very transparent, blood orange red colour with light edges.

A lovely, quite immediate, very pretty and seductive perfume opens up in the decanter just after some minutes. Moreover, some Asian spices, violets and anise seeds. As always a dense and complex nose of which you can sit with for a while.

It emerges on the palate as very generous, filled with sweet, very ripe red fruit. In addition, pastry, anise and crystalline minerals. Balance is impressive and it is seamless with remarkably crisp acidity that effortlessly brings forward the aromas with just right level of freshness. Texture is impressively and unexpectedly smooth and soft too for this vintage. It lingers beautifully and with precision in the long, and pleasant characteristic finish. The fruit maybe just a little overly sweet as well as it may lack some complexity and depth, but everything else is perfect for this vintage.

It might be the best 2011 so far, only competing with the Francia from Roberto Conterno. It is approachable so open now but even better in two years. It will not be long lived.



Rather fruit driven and open nose with a slight sourish touch to the fruit, some balsamic notes, but also a floral expression containing some white flowers. Generous and open start to the wine.

On the palate the red fruit is very juicy and almost chewy, combining well with the tannic structure that is quite careful but adds texture. There are also some hints of salt and liquorice, and very soft barnyard notes. The fruit also gets more sweet in the finish of the wine. The acidity gives a careful tingling sensation on the tongue and adds energy and freshness more than precision.

This Rinaldi is generous, juicy and seductive, rather than elegant and complex. Exactly the expression this vintage should convey.


The best Brunate from the Burgundy-inspired Altare

in 2011 the rental contract with Marco Marengo ended, so there won’t be any more bottling of what we find being their best barolo. The oldest vines here are about 90 years. 2010 don’t need any more introduction, but as many readers know by now, it is most likely the best vintage ever since 1989 in Piedmont. Especially the tannins are of highest quality in this cold and slow-cycled vintage and berries are small. 

2010 Barolo Brunate, Elio Altare

Colour is glowingly blood orange on the edges with darker red middle.

The nose is slow and needed a lot of airing to wake up and the oak is dominating now, but after several hours in the decanter, there is a very pretty perfume, loads of seductive flowers, ripe fruit, fresh subtle herbs, spices and new baked brioche that slip through from this sacred vineyard in La Morra.

On the palate, its texture is soft but currently somewhat grainy from oak and the tannins bites just a little at this stage so it needs a lot of time to integrate further. Really good concentration and packed with ripe and candid red fruit, some tar, pastry and anise. Mouth-coating and full bodied, but just a little dry now in the very persistent finish. Acidity is fresh, crisp and promises a long life a head.

It is a very Burgundish and fruit-driven Brunate with razor-sharp precision that will most likely need a decade, but it will certainly be pretty and elegant. Well done, Silvia Altare!


2010 Giuseppe Rinaldi Brunate

This wine caught our attention when tasting it from barrel on our visit to the estate in 2013 and you can read about it here.

The 2010 vintage keeps being something out of the ordinary.

2010 Barolo Brunate, Giuseppe Rinaldi

Colour has a beautiful glowingly blood orange with light-orange edges.The nose emerges with crushed anise seeds, thyme, cardamom, some eucalyptus, pastry, oil paint and dried flowers; lovely violets and rose petals. After a few hours, a deep inner perfume slowly arrives and yes, this transparent site-typical nose is incredible with its depth and complexity.

On the palate, we are offered intense and highly concentrated, pure dark cherries, ripe red fruit, some tar, exotic spices, distinct anise seeds, licorice root and leather. Texture is amazingly soft and tannins are really high quality; chewy and ripe, as it already was from barrel a year ago. Now, just even more. Acidity is not dominating at all, it is simply crisp, fresh and vivid wrapping tasty salmiak and lime fruit. It is unusually approachable and offers breath-taking depth. It is very persistent too with an elegant and remarkably balanced finish.

Yes, even though Beppe needed to – against his principles – adding less Le Coste grapes into here, I am really happy that he was forced to. Why? This might be the best expression of the unofficial “grand cru” Brunate in Barolo ever with its sheer depth, impeccable balance and precision, but with just enough authority. The vintage of 2010 is perfectly manifested here in all its glory and excels the super approachable and balanced 2004 as well as probably sharing the precision and tannic quality in the 1989 in my view. Maybe, just maybe, the Brunate is the Piedmont equivalent of Burgundy’s Richebourg with equal complexity and authority. Open in 2020 for perfection, but is quite approachable even now really after some airing. It is hard to find and quantity is really low, so the hunt is on..


Piedmont Trip 2013: Oddero – The elegance-focused owner of six Barolo grand crus

The estate has been making barolo as we know it since the 1870’s. Today the estate is headed by the sisters Maria-Cristina and Maria-Vittoria Oddero, but Maria-Cristina is obviously the one that has put in a lot of effort to improve the vineyards and vinification a little to produce even more elegant and consistent high-quality wines, really balancing tradition with modern techniques aiming for transparency, freshness and elegance. The sisters are helped by a team with Sergio Blengio in the vineyard, Luca Veglio in the cellar and Gabriella Rosso on sales and accounting. In addition, Maria-Vittoria’s daughter Isabella has recently joined the winery and is the one travelling around the world to promote the wines, but still she stays in tune with the quality improvements at the estate.

Luca showing us the upward trellising system

Their enologist is the very helpful and engaged Luca, who together with Gabriella was kind enough to take us for a tour on our visit when Isabella could not receive us because of a business trip to Hong Kong.

The estate probably has the vastest collection of unofficial grand crus for Barolo in the area. Now, we are talking vineyards comprising parcels in the great Vigna Rionda from Serralunga d’Alba; the top three vineyards Villero, Bricco Fiasco and Rocche from Castiglione-Falletto, Brunate from La Morra and the Bussia Soprana from the northern part of Monforte d’Alba. As the crowd of Barolo fans already have noticed, this is indeed a collection of some of the very best crus in Barolo. Five of them are bottled as single cru Baroli.

Nebbiolo bunch with grapes and green stems

As most quality producers today, they put most of their focus on their vineyards and here we, with true joy, see the true potential. Green harvest is employed and only the best grape bunches are left two months before scheduled harvest. In addition, they started to employ high upward-trained trellising systems with wide rows in the vineyard in the 2000 vintage with more evenly outtake and riper fruit as a result as well as reducing the number of toppings. Yes, it sounds like what Roberto Conterno and Luca Roagna are doing to further improve quality.
The top soil is organically cultivated and they started doing this in 2008 using only copper sulfate to treat illness and mildew. Moreover, they now use organic matter and humus to fertilize the soil more naturally and they are preparing for an organic certification. In addition, they have started to adopt sexual confusion techniques to keep moths away.

Luca explains how you can recognise phenolic maturity and ripe grapes through inspection and by tasting. We discuss how hard work de-stemming of nebbiolo really is and that Oddero really tries to remove all stems, since they in nebbiolo vines usually are very green and bitter in Luca’s opinion. Obviously, in contrast to pinot, nebbiolo certainly does not need stems to add tannins.

The barrels in the cellar

Selection is hard and done both in the vineyard and a second one in the winery at harvest. After de-stemming, a 20-30 days maceration depending on vintage and vineyard is carried out by pump over and delestage in steel vats. However, for the Barolo classico, the traditional sub-merged caps is carried out. They used to use cement, but today only steel vats are employed for alcoholic fermentation. Only large, neutral barrels (45hl to 70 hl) from Slavonia and Austria are used for the Langhe Nebbiolo and Barolo classico. For the Barolo crus, they first use french barriques during the malo with the sediments that endures for about 6-9 months depending on vintage of course. Luca reminds me that no new oak is used, but only 2nd passage or 3rd with light toasting, except for the barberas. Then the grape juice is moved into neutral (25 hl and 30 hl) Austrian oak barrels for aging.

2009 Barbaresco Gallina

Dry soil and good drainage. Exposition is south. Maceration is carried out for 20 days with regular pumping over and a few delestage.

The colour is dark ruby red with white, transparent edges.

The nose has obvious oak notes, very fresh perfumes, dried rose petals, dry red fruit; strawberry, dark cherry.

The taste is very driven by ripe fruit, orange-peel, anise, fennel and ginger. Texture is fine sandy and tannins are quite polished already. Medium-bodied and slim structure. Fine finish with some saline acidity. This definitely lacks complexity and elegance, but fruit is good and tannins are polished and of high quality.


2009 Barolo

This is a blend of the vineyards; Bricco Chiesa, Bricco Fiasco and Cappallotto. Oddero will soon start bottling the Bricco Fiasco as a single wine. The grape for this blend in contrast to the barolo crus sees traditional maceration with submerged caps.

The colour is dark ruby red with white, transparent edges.

The nose offers animal notes, fragrant rose petals, wood glue and leather.

The mid palate offers balsamic tastes, fine minerals, fennel, tar, anise and loads of fresh, ripe red fruit. Texture is sandy and tannins are fine, The wine is build with details, nuances and a firm, base without being heavy. Impressive concentration, some depth and elegant persistent finish, but just a little too sweet. Structure is almost full-bodied.


2009 Barolo Villero

Luca describes this wine as “not too tall, not too round”. The wine was introduced in 2004 and before it was blended into the classic barolo. The vineyard has south exposition and is warm even during nights, so the soil will lose water, but it will stay deeper down. The roots then needs dig really deep down to find it, but can still handle stress well and the wine miraculously still manages to be fresh.

The nose offers complex, conserved and deep fruit. The mid palate offers paint box, wood glue, truffle, oranges and perfumes. A very complex and deep nose.

A mid palate of menthol, fine minerals, spices, tar, anise, some old-style austere note and loads of incredibly fresh, ripe fruit; plum, blackberry and cherry. Texture is sandy and tannins are a little heavy now but appears to be ripe and of high quality. Impressive concentration, its is very rich with a persistent finish. Structure is full-bodied and weightlessly powerful.

The colour is dark ruby red with white, transparent edges.
This surprises with its freshness in such warm exposition lacking cool winds. It is rich, balsamic-fresh, deep and powerful. Open 2016.


2008 Barolo Rocche di Castiglione

Colour is dark ruby red with light edges.

The nose offers plum, earth cellar, not so fresh. Burned minerals, glue.

A mid palate of dry licorice-root, minerals, metals, incredibly balsamic, grape-peel and distinct layers of unexpected darker fruit than usual. Texture is fine sandy, almost polished already, but tannins are a little dry and heavy. Medium-bodied and persistent with a classic austere-herby and a little dry finish. Open 2017.


2006 Barolo Brunate

Oddero’s parcels are very high up in this vineyard, where it is usually windy and the wine usually reflects aromatics and freshness.

Colour is dark ruby red with light edges.

The nose offers plum, sherry, earth cellar, not so fresh. Burned minerals, glue.

Unfortunately, very austere fruit in such a lovely vineyard. Texture is coarse sandy, tannins are rough, or more honestly stone-hard and a little dry. This is unpleasantly tannic, austere, grassy and simply strange expression for this great site that normally produces great elegant and complex wines. A true disappointment. What went wrong here in such a classic year?


2005 Barolo Vigna Rionda

This is a very classic site and Oddero harvests this one before the other nebbiolo vineyards. The wine ages for 42 months in cask. Not this one, but from the 2006 vintage, this barolo will be released first after ten years of ageing in Oddero’s cellar.

Colour is dark ruby red with light edges.

The nose emerges with dry lavender, cinnamon, ethereal, glue, black pepper, exotic herbs, gravel of lime, dry licorice-root and balsamic fur. I always recognise this vineyard on the nose and this is a really great version.

A mid palate of distinct dark, very deep layers of fruit, tea, forest floor, shale, leather, some orange-peel and complex minerals. Texture is fine sandy, tannins are of high density, fat, chewy and hefty. This wine, as expected, has big, big structure, is mid-weightly powerful and offers fantastic concentration.

A wine with more feminine characteristics than usual from this vineyard that resemble us of Massolino. This offers depth, great concentration and impressive balance. Open 2015.


2003 Barolo Bussia Soprana di Mondoca

Among all Oddero’s six unofficial grand crus, this is their favourite and it was acquired in 1980. Vines are about 35 years old here, exposure is south-west and the soil is almost white which is referred to as “lunar soil” according to Isabella. In the best vintages a special riserva is made too.

Colour is garnet red with light-orange edges.

The nose offers conserved fruit, plums, wood glue, violets, thyme, fire stone, shale, forest floor, burned limestone and dry herbs.

A mid palate emerges of very fresh, ripe fruit, fennel, anise, balsamic flavours, tar, metals. Texture is fine sandy and tannins are fine but over ripe and bold, The wine is build with details, nuances and a firm, base without being heavy. Very good concentration, some depth and elegant persistent finish, but just a little too sweet. Structure is almost full-bodied.



Over the years, Oddero has appeared uneven among vintages and vineyards and also in this tasting two wines from great vintages e.g. 2006, 2008 were disappointments, whereas others are great and interesting. However, the main impression is that the estate offers an exceptional portfolio of grand crus and when Oddero gets it right, they truly excel. The 2005 Vigna Rionda and 2009 Villero are good examples of this and these really impressed us. I certainly hope that quality in the very near future will be more evenly high and that they will be more recognised, because we think this estate have a lot of potential and they are definitely on the right track.

2007 Mario Marengo Barolo Brunate

This wine is from the unofficial grand cru Brunate in the commune of La Morra in Barolo and Marengo owns two parcels with perfect exposition in the top parts of this fantastic vineyard. Producion is extremely small and there is a version of this wine from 70-80 old vines too, but this is the regular brunate. The 3rd generation Marco Marengo is running the estate today with help of the skillful enologist Beppe Carviola. This wine undergoes ten days maceration and then after malo it is aged in barriques for about 24 months of which 30% are new. Costs about €45, so very price worthy indeed.

The vintage 2007 is a warm year with an unusually early blooming, a whole month earlier than usual, and it was saved by a late cooling period right before an early harvest. The wines are usually very forward, a little fleshy, opulent, intense, but not heavy and still with fresh acidity. It is not a great vintage, but still a very good one and it is approachable now and will not be long lived.

2007 Marengo Barolo “Brunate”

Sir Galahad:

Colour: dark ruby-red colour, transparent white edges.
Nose: Some distinct dry licorice root, tiny notes of dog rose, wonderful roses, toffee, lavender, dry boysenberry jam, balsamic notes, some saline mushrooms, wet autumn breeze, typically burned, delicate notes of limestone and truffle. Some peppery oak notes are here too but not disturbing in any way at all. Incredibly fresh and terroir-honest bouquet. It is so extremely fragile and delicate, but I love the nose!
Taste: Very fresh, very balsamic and with energetic acidity. Very carefully, delicate low tuned red fruit, fennel, promising acidity here. Super-slim body and this vintage is just a little volatile in Concentration. Texture is fine sandy and tannins are very soft.

It is not as deep on fruit as expected from this vineyard, but it is extremely elegant, fresh and even though it may lack some complexity too, this is a wine is an honest ambition and focus on conveying the special terroir of Brunate. We definitely need to find the “vecchie vigne” version soon..