Founded in 1870 by Francesco Rinaldi, this traditionalist estate is located in the town of Barolo with important holdings in two of the greatest Barolo vineyards: Brunate and Cannubi. One hundred and thirty years later, much of the same traditional techniques are still used in the Francesco Rinaldi cellars to produce top wines of Barolo. The current head of the family estate is the spry, 80-something Luciano Rinaldi, who took over the reigns of the family winery in 1938. Today he is ably assisted by his nieces, Paola and Piera Rinaldi, and they continue to make beautiful wines within the great traditions of Barolo, with no new oak, long macerations and long aging in large Slavonian oak botti prior to bottling. In fact, about the only thing that has changed here is that Luciano no longer crushes the grapes by foot himself, as a new press is one of the only nods to modernity in these great old cellars.
The Rinaldi wines are known as beautiful, classic expressions of Piemontese Nebbiolo, of their underlying terroirs, with well-integrated tannins, tangy acids and beautiful complexity and balance. These wines improve immeasurably if decanted an hour prior to serving. The two flagship bottlings at Francesco Rinaldi e Figli are the single cru Baroli, Brunate and Cannubio. Brunate is one of the greatest vineyards the Barolo region, lying on the border between La Morra and Barolo proper, with each village sharing the vineyard (though with the lion’s share lying within the village boundaries of La Morra). Wines from the Brunate vineyard are prized for their depth, power and brilliant balance, and the example from Francesco Rinaldi e Figli is one of the very greatest examples of Brunate made. In a great vintage it demands at least a decade to really begin to soften, and generally is not in full bloom until its twentieth birthday. The other single vineyard bottling is the Cannubio (or Cannubi as it is also known), which is made from the single greatest vineyard in the village of Barolo, as well as the most famous individual cru in the entire region. Cannubi was the first vineyard name to be famous in the Barolo region, and to this day a bottle of 1752 Cannubi is still treasured by the wine-producing family of Manzone, and is considered the oldest, extant bottle of Barolo still in existence. The vineyard is most famous for the fabulously perfumed wines that it produces, for Cannubio is not the most powerful cru in Barolo, and much like Romanée-Conti in Burgundy, it is cherished for the fabulously complex aromatics and round, suave palate impression that it provides when fully mature. This is not to say that Luciano and Paula Rinaldi’s Cannubio is a delicate wine, for it is a deep, intensely-flavored and concentrated Barolo of great pedigree and elegance- once it is fully mature. Like the Rinaldi Brunate bottling, ten years is required in top vintages, and the wine is really at its blazing best at age twenty.