Pietro Rinaldi Azienda Agricola is an artisanal winery located in Madonna di Como which lies 5 km from the city of Alba in Piedmont. Owners Monica Rinaldi and her husband Paolo Carlo Tenino have devoted themselves to produce wines of distinction from the terroir while striving to respect the traditions and heritage of the region. The result is wines of the highest quality which capture the beauty and symbiotic relationship they have with the land. Worldly Wino visited the winery in May 2014 to discover why these wines have such an appeal.
Winemaking first started in Monica’s family with her great grandfather Pietro, and then was taken up by her grandfather. When her grandfather passed away the land became abandoned. Monica’s father Mario lived in Torino and did not make wine but did own a restaurant. Eventually Mario decided to make wine for his restaurant and so the land was brought back to life by replanting all the vines. Currently Pietro Rinaldi Winery is in it’s fourth generation.
Pietro Rinaldi Azienda Agricola owns 10 hectares. All of their wines use only estate grown grapes. Monica and Paolo believe that high quality wines can only result through sustainable practices in the vineyard. They concentrate on vineyard improvements. The Burgundianlike soil consists of white clay and tuffeau. Vines are trellised in Guyot style and strict attention is paid to the cultivation of their grapes. Grape varietals grown are Dolcetto, Barbera, and Nebbiolo. They use three clones of Nebbiolo depending on the site it is grown in. Grass is left between the rows to avoid the use of herbicides. One of the challenges the vineyards face is the wild boar which come out at night to eat the grapes. Grapes are harvested by hand by workers from Macedonia.
The winery uses two cellars for production. The initial cellar is used for the production of Barolo and Monica states jokingly “it’s not really a cellar, it’s more like a garage”. A new cellar was built which features state of the art technology including heated floors, and stainless steel tanks. Yeast is used to start fermentation. Malolactic fermentation occurs in the stainless steel tanks. Fermentation lasts a total of 10 days. Aging of the wines occurs in tonneau (500L) which is made from Slavonian Oak from Austria, and in French oak barriques. In the last 5 years of production they are using more Botte from Austria. The culmination is a wine style that maintains the traditions but incorporates modern practices.
Initially after the replanting of the vines the production focused on Dolcetto and Barbera. After 3-4 years they then moved on to Nebbiolo. Paolo states “people say you must wait 10 years to come to sell wine”. The first Barbaresco was produced in 2004. Today Pietro Rinaldi Azienda Agricola produces 10 different wines. Each bottle is handcrafted and marked with the classic logo which was established in 1920.
Vigne di Hortensia
Lange Arneis DOC. 100% Arneis. The vineyards are located in Madonna di Como.Following fermentation the wine spends 4 months in contact with the lees. Aromas of citrus, and white flowers. A fresh, mineral driven wine. There is a slight bitter taste on the finish which is typical of Arneis.
Barbera D’Alba DOC Superiore. 100% Barbera. This vineyard sits atop a hill in Madonna di Como. The vines are 30-40 years old. Aged in tonneaux barrels for 12-14 months. A very fruit forward wine with amazing minerality and ripe cherry flavors, followed by a long finish.
Langhe Nebbiolo DOC. 100% Nebbiolo. Vineyards are located in Treiso, in the Marcarini Cru. This wine spends 16 months in French oak tonneau, followed by an additional 6 months aging in bottle. Roses, violets, raspberry and cherry aromas dominate the nose. A long finish.
Barolo DOCG. 100% Nebbiolo. Grapes are from the Verduno region in the cru vineyard of Monvigliero. The wine is aged 24 months in large oak barrels before spending another 6-8 months aging in the bottle. An intensely perfumed wine with scents of violets, blackberries and balsamic notes. Its a very spicy, complex wine with flavors of tobacco, licorice, currant, plum, and balsamic. This wine can age extremely well.
The highlight of the tasting was a vertical of 2005 -2010 San Cristoforo Barbaresco. It is made of 100% Nebbiolo grapes which are grown in Neive, in the cru of San Cristoforo. Pietro Rinaldi owns 2 hectares in this vineyard. The average vine age is 20 years old. The wine is aged for 16-18 months in oak tonneaux , followed by another 6-8 months of aging in the bottle. These wines were all of high quality and impeccably clean. Each one conveyed the passion and care taken to craft it. Pietro Rinaldi had captured beauty in a bottle: the beauty of the region, the beauty of the heritage, and the beauty of the people. These three items of beauty were in perfect balance with each other and the relationships between land, tradition and mortal were reflected in those wines. The music of Verdi played in the cellar and gave this tasting an ethereal quality. No wonder the wines all showed elegance and harmony.
2005 was a very good vintage. Aromas of roses, violets, strawberries, and raspberries dominated the delicate nose. On the palate there was great fruit and acid integration. The tannins had a fine, silky quality. This wine was still very youthful, and slightly closed. 50,000 bottles were produced.
2006 was a hotter year than 2005. This resulted in a very fruity and jammy wine. Red fruit and black fruit aromas dominated the nose along with aromas of licorice and chocolate. On the palate the tannins were much bigger than the 2005. This wine was deep, rich and intense. Great structure ensures this will will age for years to come.
2007 A nose of cooked cherries, plum, orange rind, licorice and smoke made this wine seem like it was more mature than the previous two wines. Tannins remained dense. A very concentrated wine with good structure.
2008 An incredibly floral, delicate, complex nose. Roses,violet, coffee, mocha, and balsamic aromas. An intense wine with smooth tannins. The finish was very long.
2009 Aromas of smoke, reminiscent of a campfire dominated the nose. The tannins were soft and balanced.
2010 This wine had only been in the bottle for 6 months. Despite this it showed round, fine grained tannins. The wine had great structure.
With tasting finished it was time to walk about the property. Paolo and Monica are in the process of completing a restoration of an old country farmhouse. This will soon feature 6 rooms where guests can stay in the vineyard. For those who enjoy wine and nature, this new wine resort promises to be a stunning destination. Fruit trees and flowers are planted everywhere on the property.
Back at the winery Paolo and Monica had one last wine to share. The D’Ampress. Designated Moscato D’Asti DOCG this sparkling sweet wine is made from 100% Moscato grapes. The vineyards are located in Madonna di Como. This delicate sparking wine smelled of white flowers, and peach. It was so refreshing. Sitting outside in the sunshine, sipping Moscato D’Asti one had to think it was a perfect moment.
Monica and Paolo Tenino of Azienda Agricola Pietro Rinaldi produce high quality wines which capture the essence of Piedmont.