Francesco Rinaldi Barolo Brunate 2015 Review

Need we say any more about the wonderful Italian wine that is Barolo?

There are simply no superlatives left over to describe the King of Wines. All that we can say is that it completely deserves its reputation as one of the best Italian red wines to have ever existed.

Its history stretches back further than almost any other wine in the world and anybody who’s been privileged enough to taste a good Barolo will tell you that it is at once silky smooth and remarkably complex.

So, we’re not going to spend too much time talking about this wine. In fact, there are entire pages of the Xtrawine blog that are dedicated to its history and what makes it such a spectacular wine.

Instead, we’re going to jump straight into looking at a producer that has created one of the best recent examples of Barolo that we’ve been lucky enough to sample.

We’re talking about the historic Francesco Rinaldi winery.

The Story

Many a winemaker will talk about history and tradition when discussing what they bring to the industry.

However, few can rival Francesco Rinaldi in terms or lineage and longevity.

You have to go all of the way back to 1870 to trace the history of this wonderful producer. It was on this date that the famous coat of arms that still acts as one of the symbols of the company was engraved into the oldest part of the winery’s cellars in Barolo.

Interestingly, it was not on this date that Francesco Rinaldi came into being as a commercial wine producer. In fact, the estate was owned by one Giovanni Rinaldi at this time. Though he had no aspirations of becoming a commercial wine producer himself, he still understood the great potential that his land held. Situated right in the heart of the Barolo region, his farmhouse and the surrounding estate offered the sorts of rolling hills that are ideal for the growing of the Nebbiolo grapes used for Barolo.

It is for this reason that he decided to start planting.

The history and tradition that has meant so much to this producer started on that day.

However, it was not until the 20thcentury that the estate began to produce wines for the masses. And it was also not Giovanni who introduced his blends to the world.

It was one of his four sons – Michele.

Michele’s initial passion is what showed the true potential that the estate had for becoming one of the leading lights in Barolo production. His early efforts were instrumental in preparing the vines for the greater quantities that being a selling producer would require.

But there is also a good reason why Michele’s name is not the one that the company uses.

That’s because it was Michele’s younger brother, Francesco, who truly helped the estate to realise its full potential.

While Michele’s passion played a huge role in the creation of the company’s brand, he also had ambitions of his own. He chose to leave the company in 1922, leaving Francesco behind to continue the work that he’d started.

Of course, Francesco was no novice to the Italian wine industry himself. He’d dedicated much of his life to the estate and relished the opportunity to make it his own. And unlike many others in his family, he had a keen eye for business that would prove vital in growing the brand’s reputation in the years that followed.

His masterstroke was to ensure that his bottles of Barolo found their way into the hands of people who influenced the industry at large. For example, he made sure it was his wine that was served in 1949, when Italian leaders toasted the country’s entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. 

In the 1960s, Francesco stepped aside and left the winery in the capable hands of his two sons, Luciana the Michele, the latter of whom was named after his older brother. Together, the sons continued to grow the brand until it was time to hand it over to the next generation.

In the 1990s, their children, Piera and Paolo took over the family business. Since then, they’ve busied themselves with modernising the company to ensure that it maintains its reputation in an industry that’s moving faster than it ever has before.

They’ve played a pivotal role in the expansion of the company into the United States. In fact, that territory is now the largest consumer of the company’s wine.

Again, the business mastery of the Rinaldi family comes to the fore. The two identified an opportunity and grabbed it with both hands.

All of this has grown from the passion of Giovanni Rinaldi, who recognised how wonderful his land was and how much potential it had. Each new generation of the Rinaldis bring something brand new to the table and we’re in little doubt that the brand that they spent so long building will continue to thrive in the years to come.

But now, it’s about time that we took a look at one of their wines. And we can think of no better example than the…

Francesco Rinaldi Barolo Brunate 2015

What’s interesting about this Barolo is that it presents some notes that you may not expect to find in this most traditional of wines.

An exploration of the bouquet will reveal notes of heather and violet, neither of which you’ll find in many examples of this type of wine. But of course, further exploration reveals this to have all of the qualities that you would expect beyond the notable twist.

Like any good Barolo, the wine has remarkable ageing potential. You can choose to leave it in storage for 25 years or more and still delight in its flavours when you finally open the bottle. However, opening it early will reveal an amazing balance that you may not expect from an unaged bottle of Barolo.

The experts at Xtrawine have given it their own taste test, which is good enough to merit a 92/100 rating. But we believe that the true qualities of this wine will make themselves known with age.



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