Francesco Rinaldi: Traditional As They Come

3/30/2007 -

We here at Chambers St. wines are as obsessive as they come about traditional Barolo and Barbaresco. We love them plain and simple. Drinking them and championing them is akin to campaigning for an endangered species. As more and more producers eschew tradition in favor of mechanized winemaking traditional Barolo becomes scarcer and scarcer. So when you are drinking, buying and cellaring these wines you are doing your duty to preserve an ever shrinking "endangered" species of wine. The traditional Barolos need much more time in bottle especially the ones made in the 50's, 60's & 70's as winemaking was even more traditional then than it is now. The wines were made for the cellar, as the idea to make easily accessible Barolo for early drinking was heresy, and they need 20 years to get even remotely drinkable, unless you had a particular affinity for massive angular tannins. But once they become drinkable they stay in that window for 20-30 years.

Francesco Rinaldi is one of those stellar producers that often gets overlooked for no good reason. In Piedmont, like Burgundy, you have tiers of producers. There is the holy trinity of Giacomo Conterno, Bruno Giacosa & Bartolo Mascarello and then it gets a bit difficult as there are so many excellent producers in the next tier. It is just like Burgundy except that in Burgundy the tiers are much more crowded as there is a much longer tradition in the region. The 2nd tier guys are so close to
the 1st tier guys in quality and they are on the average 15 to 25 percent less expensive. So all this sets up a screaming buy for Nebbiolo lovers and newbies alike.

The wines are big and deep in color but also have incredible finesse and length to them. Their balance is superb and they age effortlessly. Just unbelievably authentic examples of pedal-to-the-metal traditional Baroli. This is one of the most exciting offers you will see this year. In today's offer we have a range of old-vintage Francesco Rinaldi wines from 1970 all the way through 1990. In my humble opinion the 1964, the 1967, and the duo from 1970 are drinking the best now. If you wanted to go nuts you could do a white truffle dinner and a vertical of these wines. It is such a rare opportunity to get all these great vintages all offered at the same time

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