The evening turned out to be fantastic with the help of group member Marc who did a fantastic job coordinating the evening with general manager and wine director Christine Wright. This was my third visit here and like the others the food and service were top notch.
|Grass-Fed Beef Tartare with Salsa Verde, Raw Cheddar and Potato Chips|
|Maccheroni with Pork Ragu and Ricotta|
|Braised Rabbit Leg with Mushrooms and Leeks|
In my opinion this was our best tasting to date as all the wines, with one exception, displayed brilliant pedigree. What was very interesting, although not at all surprising, was that this very experienced and Nebbiolo knowledgeable group had some very different opinions regarding the wines.
"Beppe", as he was known, was an icon of traditionally made Barolo. It was Beppe’s belief, in the true traditional style, that the greatest heights to which Barolo could reach could only come through blending. Although this was not a popular belief during the ‘90s, as the modern movement swept through Piedmont, Beppe held fast and refused to change. His tope wines were blends from his estate's 4 vineyards. Perhaps his top wine was the Brunate Le Coste (10,000 bottles), a blend of the Brunate and Le Coste vineyards, followed by his Cannubi San Lorenzo Ravera (3,500 bottles), a blend of these two vineyards in Novello. Barolo wine laws changed in 2010 making it illegal to put the names of more than one vineyard on the label. Today, he makes Barolo Brunate, which contains 15% fruit from the Le Coste Vineyard and Tre Tine, which is a blend of the vineyards Ravera (50%), Cannubi (30%) and Le Coste (20%). The wines continue to be top expressions of traditionally made Barolo.
Sadly, Beppe passed away at age 70 in September of 2018, leaving the estate and winemaking in the hands of his very capable daughters Marta and Carlotta.
All wines we drank tonight were double decanted around 1 pm before being brought to the restaurant. For this tasting Ken arranged the wines into 4 flights from oldest to youngest.
Before we began the Rinaldi tasting we enjoyed a bottle of 2008 Pierre Peters Les Chetillons Champagne Cuvée Spéciale Blanc de Blancs Brut brought along by Alice. The Pierre Péters estate, situated in the heart of the "Côte des Blancs" in the village of Le Mesnil sur Oger, has been a family house for six generations and has produced Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Champagnes since 1919. A Champagne grower-producer, the wines come exclusively from their own vineyards. They farm just over 19 hectares of Chardonnay, mainly located in the communes of Le Mesnil sur Oger, Oger, Avize and Cramant.
I was not familiar with this producer or his Champagne, but I was delighted with my first experience. It had an enticing yeasty bouquet with a slightly saline and yeast palate and superb lengthy finish. The bubbles provided an excellent start to the evening.
1985 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Riserva Selezionata Brunate. A wow wine. I was smitten with the first sip of this incredible wine. The wine possessed a gorgeous earthy and fruity bouquet with a round, delicious, harmonious palate and lengthy elegant finish. About as perfect a wine as you will find. This slightly nosed out the ’96 as my WOTN.
1993 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate Le Coste. This was a difficult vintage in Barolo, although probably the best vintage of the early 90s. It took a while to open up and when it did it lacked the depth and complexity of the other wines in the flight.
1994 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate Le Coste. Another difficult vintage that showed a bit better than the ’93.
1995 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate Le Coste. Another tough vintage, although this showed a little more depth than either the ’93 or ’94 but far behind the ’85.
1996 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate Le Coste. A wine I have enjoyed on numerous occasions, and tonight was no exception. The wine evolved with each sip showing beautiful complexity and balance and a lengthy elegant finish. My runner-up to wine of the night.
1997 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate Le Coste. Originally thought to be a great vintage that quickly went south. I found this to be totally flat and over the hill.
1998 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate Le Coste, Magnum. I felt the wine was hitting on all cylinders and literally soared from the glass with complexity, balance and lengthy and elegant finish. One of the top wines of the evening in my opinion.
1999 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate Le Coste. Great potential here. Very good tonight, but give more time in the cellar this will be evolve into a classic wine.
2001 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate Le Coste. A beautiful bottle of wine that showed good complexity, depth and elegance. Many happy years of drinking are ahead for this wine.
2004 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Cannubi San Lorenzo Ravera, Magnum. While young this was quite good with fantastic potential. Glad to have a stash in the cellar.
2005 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate Le Coste. Like the ’04 Lorenzo, this shows terrific potential.
2006 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate Le Coste. Similar to the ’04 and “05 in this flight, young and delicious with great potential.
2007 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate Le Coste. This was superb! While young like the others in this flight I found more depth and finesses in the wine at this young age. Destined to be a prodigious wine.