Private Collection: Grand Barolos of Giacomo Conterno, Giuseppe Mascarello, and Giuseppe Rinaldi

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Conterno, Giacomo 2000 Barolo Riserva Monfortino

This completely blew me away — a staggeringly good wine — on a par with any La Tache or any other wine that exists in it's own category. An absolutely complete and delicious wine, with incredible length, pure fruit, beautiful ripe tannins; sweet and rich but light and elegant on the palate.

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Conterno, Giacomo 2009 Barolo Cascina Francia

From the ripe 2009 vintage, Giacomo Conterno's Barolo Cascina Francia avoids the overly rich character of some of the wines of their neighbors. Perfumes of orange oil, earth, grilled meat arise from the glass. The palate while dense and structured shows fine counterpoise between power and elegance, with sweet fruit, soil notes, and savory notes framed by ripe tannins and buoyed by good acidity for the vintage. This is quite pretty and while drinking nicely with decanting, this will benefit from another 10-20 years in the cellar when the fruit and structure should integrate. John McIlwain

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Rinaldi, Giuseppe 2006 Barolo Cannubi - Ravera

Sig. Rinaldi is a key figure in the renaissance and development of natural wine in Italy, acting as mentor and inspiration to other producers. He’s also one of the organizers of the great natural wine fair called ViniViniVini. Tasted there two weeks ago, the Cannubi-Ravera 2006 shows great potential — of course the wine is tight, but nonetheless it was very expressive and beautifully balanced, with gorgeous kirsch fruit and mineral aromas and flavors dominating; the finesse that’s typical of this wine — delicate and powerful at the same time — is already evident. Jamie Wolff (2008)

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Rinaldi, Giuseppe 2009 Barolo Brunate - Le Coste

We tasted this from barrel in May (barrel meaning really big old ‘botte’ – the barrel in question stands at least 15 feet high) and the wine was spectacular then. Very classic, very pure with great balance and everything desirable present. A wine to love, but a wine for the cellar. Jamie Wolff (2011)

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Rinaldi, Giuseppe 2011 Barolo Brunate

Tasted twice (once from barrel in 2014, and from bottle in March 2015), this shows the warmth of the vintage in terms of a solid dark core, ripe tannin and tons of black cherry fruit (reminiscent of Cascina Francia), but without losing the balance that Rinaldi always seems to achieve. Jamie Wolff

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Rinaldi, Giuseppe 2011 Barolo Tre Tine

Formerly labeled Cannubi San Lorenzo - Ravera, this is close to same blend / same wine. Early on (from barrel in 2014) the Tre Tine seemed closer in style to Brunate than usual, sharing a dark core of ripe fruit, and very ripe tannin. A year later there was more obvious difference, with the elegance of Cannubi beginning to shine. Out of about 120 Barolos, this is one of the very best 2011s we've tasted. Jamie Wolff

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Rinaldi, Giuseppe 2013 Barolo Tre Tine

Allowing for the fact that wine is a very subjective experience, I like to think that I call it as I see it. So I believe I’d know if it was a disaster, but otherwise I’m irrational and unreliable on the subject of G. Rinaldi. When I’m there, I wander around in a kind of stupor of infatuation with the wines. My penetrating notes (for 2013 Tre Tine, for example) say things like “super-great” [full stop]. I suppose if I have to have a wine crush, it might as well be on one of the best wineries in the world. Jamie Wolff

PS: Please don’t shoot the messenger. We don’t make the prices (neither, so far as I can tell, do the Rinaldis, because the wines leave the cellar at very reasonable prices). We’re well into the world of luxury goods here, and all I can do is sigh and make puppy dog eyes at the bottles while they’re in the shop. I do think it’s an objective fact that these are great wines and even if it’s a gratuitous comparison, they are the superior of many far more expensive wines.

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