Barolo winemaker Giuseppe Rinaldi dies
Giuseppe Rinaldi – known simply as ‘Beppe’ Rinaldi to many in Piedmont – was one of the most respected Barolo producers of his generation, as well as one of the most outspoken.
Son of Battista Rinaldi – mayor of Barolo during the ‘70s – Giuseppe originally graduated as a veterinarian. But he became involved in the family winery from the age of 29 in 1947.
Known to friends simply as ‘Beppe’ and nicknamed “Citrico” (citric) for his cutting comments, he was the last survivor of an uncompromising trio of Barolo producers, also including Teobaldo Cappellano and Bartolo Mascarello.
Rinaldi never changed his austere yet elegant style, obtained by long maceration of the Nebbiolo grape, nor did he swap the large neutral Slavonian oak vessels for new small French barrels.
He was always very critical of ‘ready to drink’ Barolos, preferring firm, long-lived wines. He was also sceptical about Mga (menzione geografica aggiuntiva), preferring the harmony and balance of blending different ‘Bric’, ‘Ciabot’ or ‘Sorì’, as are called the hills of the Langhe.
From 1993 he labelled his Barolos as ‘Brunate, Le Coste‘ and ‘Cannubi – San Lorenzo, Ravera‘.
Today, Rinaldi’s reputation for creating wines with outstanding elegance will be carried forth by Beppe’s daughters, Marta and Carlotta; in charge of the winery and the vineyards respectively.
Yet the Langhe region is losing one of its most authoritative voices.
Rinaldi was sceptical about the extension of the Barolo DOCG zone, which increased by 30 hectares (ha) in 2018 after being enlarged by 10 ha in 2017.
Rinaldi was also critical of rising land prices in Barolo territory. Some estimates suggest that put the price per hectare is up to two million euros for the best plots, with vineyard land sales up by 7% last year.
‘Too much money in too little time, which is changing the Langhe region and our producers from viticulturists to business men,’ Rinaldi said.
‘I admired him and the purity of his Barolos,’ said Dante Scaglione, a consultant of Bruno Giacosa and one of the leading winemakers for the most traditional-style Barolos.
‘He sought depth in Nebbiolo without any artificial intervention. He was able to express the true masculine essence of Barolo.’
A civil ceremony to pay respect to Beppe Rinaldi will be held at his home this Wednesday (5 September).
Editing by Chris Mercer.