Elio Altare Offer

Elio Altare Offer

Published by The Wine Emporium on 20th Aug 2020

As for the wines, they are positively stunning across the board in both vintages. At a time when so many growers have shifted towards a more classic style, Silvia Altare told me she has no plans to change the approach that has made her family's wines so highly coveted all over the world. It's hard to argue with that, especially given how deeply personal and compelling these artisan wines are. Antonio Galloni


The Elio Altare Style

After an eye opening trip to Burgundy in 1976, Elio Altare famously took a chainsaw to his large, old wooden vats in the cellar to make room for the french barrique and a new era of Barolo winemaking. Altare’s contemporary winemaking techniques have stood the test of time, and today they are collected by a highly passionate and growing group of enthusiasts who adore the approach of this fastidious grower and winemaker.

Altare employ very short maceration times, in roto-fermenters, and with strict temperature control to ensure the desired extraction in the final wine. Maturation occurs exclusively in barrique (approximately 20% new for the Barolo’s and 100% new for the micro-cuvee’s of Giarborina, Larigi and La Villa) and are bottled unfined and unfiltered. As a result the wines are vivid and pure in their fruit profile, with a silky and stylish palate that showcases the natural exuberance and fertility of the wines from the La Morra sub-region of Barolo.

Additionally to the range of very fine Barolo, Altare make three premium micro-cuvee’s - bottled as Langhe Rosso - all sourced from their home vineyard of Arborina. Larigi is sourced from an old-vine plot of Barbera planted in 1948, the Giarborina is Nebbiolo fruit from the Arborina vineyard (and distinctly richer than the Barolo Arborina), and the stunning La Villa which is an ode to the traditional Nebbiolo/Barbera blend that used to be made in the area.

The 2016 Barolo Vintage

2016 was a vintage with a very late harvest compared to the average past years; this trend producing wines characterized by a brilliant balance with important aromas and excellent structure. We can for sure say that this will be a memorable vintage. For some winemakers 2016 is epic, for some others excellent or fantastic, you wont find a bad wine in 2016, even many of the entry-level bottlings are fabulous. - Elio Altare

"Two thousand sixteen is a classic, late-ripening year characterised by a leisurely October harvest and no real shock events to speak of... In tasting, what stands out most about the 2016s is their extraordinary balance and harmony. Independently of what the numbers show on paper, in vintages like 2006, 2010, 2013 and 2014, the perception of acidity and tannin is higher, because those attributes are prominent. But in 2016, especially among the best wines, nothing really stands out because they are so impeccably balanced. So many of the entry-level bottlings are fabulous, always a sign of an important vintage. Lastly, the 2016s are incredibly expressive of site, which is one of the most fundamental qualitative attributes shared by all great Piedmont vintages." - Antonio Galloni,

2017 Elio Altare ‘Larigi’ - $165 ; Normally $195

The 2017 Larigi is silky, perfumed and gracious. Bright floral notes and red berry fruit are front and center in this super-appealing, mid-weight Larigi. The 2017 is wonderfully finessed and nuanced. As always, Larigi needs time in bottle to be at its most expressive; today, the 2017 is primary and fruity. Cellaring is essential. - 94 Points, Antonio Galloni,

Larigi is a historic family vineyard in La Morra planted to the Barbera grape. The Elio Altare 2017 Langhe Larigi pours from the bottle with a darkly saturated appearance and bold aromatic intensity. The hot vintage underlines aromas of blackberry preserves, candied cherry, cola and scorched earth. The wine rests in new oak for 18 months, so you get plenty of integrated smoke, tar and spice as well. The alcohol content is 16%, one of the highest measures I have seen in this report. You hardly feel it whatsoever because the wine offers terrific overall balance despite all that natural richness and opulence. A mere 1,920 bottles were released. - 93 Points, Monica Larner,

2017 Elio Altare ‘Giaborina’ - $165 ; Normally $195

The 2017 Langhe Giarborina is gorgeous. A wine of dramatic sweetness and intensity, the 2017 is utterly captivating today. Ample and creamy, with striking depth, the 2017 is an outrageously beautiful wine that will drink well with minimal cellaring and also age well for many years to come. Sweet floral and spice notes resonate on the finish. This is such a gorgeous and inviting wine. - 95 Points, Antonio Galloni,

This wine is almost a Barolo for all practical purposes, save for the fact is it released one year early. The Elio Altare 2017 Langhe Giàrborina draws its fruit from the Arborina vineyard in La Morra, and if you look closely, you will see that its fantasy name reflects the vineyard name. This is a beautiful wine, offered at an appropriate price point that reflects the care and precision of the final results. Dark fruit (blackberry and plum) is folded within smoke, tar and black licorice. Thanks to 18 months in new oak, you'll find that the darkness and richness of the fruit is supplemented by sweet oak tannins and texture. A mere 1,920 bottles were released. - 94+ Points, Monica Larner,

2017 Elio Altare ‘La Villa’ - $165 ; Normally $195

The 2017 La Villa, Altare's Barbera/Nebbiolo blend, is another fabulous wine in this range. The 60% Barbera gives La Villa wonderful depth, darkness and volume to play off the Nebbiolo aromatics and structure. Black cherry, plum, mint, spice, licorice and new leather build into the sumptuous finish. I would prefer to cellar the 2017 for at least a few years, its considerable beauty today notwithstanding. - 95 Points, Antonio Galloni,

The Elio Altare 2017 Langhe La Villa is a blend of 60% Barbera (from the Larigi vineyard) and 40% Nebbiolo from the family's historic Arborina cru. The wine is soft, supple and rich, driven in part by 18 months of aging in new oak. The dark fruit component sits squarely across barbecue spice, smoke and tar. The wine achieves good balance thanks to the acidic freshness of Barbera and the natural structure of Nebbiolo. I opened my sample hours prior to tasting, and the results sang loud and clear. Only 1,920 bottles were made. - 94 Points, Monica Larner,

2016 Elio Altare Barolo - $158 ; Normally $185

Bright and floral, with lovely aromatic top notes that give the wine energy, the 2016 Barolo is a terrific introduction to the Altare Barolos. Lavender, rose petal, mint, spice and new leather are some of the many notes that grace this silky, mid-weight Barolo. - 93 Points, Antonio Galloni,

The Elio Altare 2016 Barolo is a blend of fruit from Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, La Morra and Novello. This is a classic interpretation of Nebbiolo that offers beautiful intensity and balance. The bouquet is pure, elegant and direct with highly distinguishable aromas of wild cherry, tobacco, earth and licorice root. It sees two years in used barrique, and this time in wood contributes to the volume and depth of the palate. The wine is almost ready to drink out of the gate, or comfortably within the next 10-year window. - 94 Points, Monica Larner,

2016 Elio Altare ‘Arborina’ Barolo - $220 ; Normally $260

Arborina is the historic family vineyard; the winery and the house sit right on top of it. It’s a beautiful south facing bowl, 10 hectares in total and we own 1.5. Arborina, especially in 2016, is perfumed and gracious, the tannins are silky, supple and nuanced. In general this is a vineyard that truly represents the characteristics of La Morra, being very bright lifted and femine. - Elio Altare

The 2016 Barolo Arborina is one of the most perfumed, gracious wines I have ever tasted from Altare. More than that, the tannins that can be a bit aggressive in young Arborina are wonderfully silky, supple and nuanced. Sweet red cherry, kirsch, spice, wild flowers, mint and white pepper all give the Arborina brilliant top notes. Medium in body and impossibly refined, the 2016 is a stunner, but it is a less obvious wine than it has tended to be in the past. - 95 Points, Antonio Galloni,

The Elio Altare 2016 Barolo Arborina sources its fruit from the family vineyard that surrounds and extends downhill from the higher perch where the Altare winery and home is located in La Morra. The wine exudes darkness and rich concentration with blackberry aromas that are followed by spice, tar and campfire ash. It ages in barrique for two years, and only 20% of that oak is new. These results are open-knit and accessible, revealing velvety texture and black fruit flavors. - 94 Points, Monica Larner,

2016 Elio Altare ‘Cannubi’ Barolo - $470 ; Normally $550

The first vintage of Cannubi for us was 2011. After years and years of research we were lucky enough to have access to a small plot of a quarter of a hectare. Cannubi is the most emblematic single vineyards of the Barolo region, historically probably the oldest ever known, already mentioned in some documents of the 1600. 2016 has richness but still an elegant texture, with cherry menthol and licorice. We produce about 1500bts - Elio Altare

The 2016 Barolo Cannubi is a powerful, structured wine that is going to need time to come into its own. Cannubi Barolos are often seductive when young, but Altare's 2016 has quite a bit of tannin that needs time to soften. Even so, all the elements are wonderfully balanced. Kirsch, sweet tobacco, menthol, licorice and dried flowers infuse the 2016 with striking layers of nuance. - 96 Points, Antonio Galloni,

Fruit for this wine comes from a leased vineyard site in Cannubi (in the comune of Barolo), and the first year of production was 2011. This is a passion project very much spearheaded by Elio's rambunctious and curly-haired daughter Silvia Altare. The 2016 Barolo Cannubi represents a beautiful departure in the family portfolio. Within this collection of new releases, the Cannubi best articulates the purity of the Nebbiolo grape. Like the other Baroli, it is aged in oak for two years (with 20% new barrique). There is greater varietal purity here with etched and linear fruit tones followed by ethereal smoke, tar and white licorice. I love the mouthfeel too, with that sudden point of cherry sweetness that is followed by elegant texture and acidity. This is a gorgeous release of just 1,500 bottles. - 97+ Points, Monica Larner,

2016 Elio Altare ‘Unoperuno’ Barolo - $630 ; Normally $740

The 2016 Barolo Unoperuno explodes from the glass with striking aromatic intensity, inner perfume and brilliant fruit. The 2016 is a blend of co-fermented fruit from Arborina, Cerretta, Cannubi and Liste, bringing together elements of traditional and modern schools in a gorgeous Barolo that hits all the right notes. In a word: stunning! - 97 Points, Antonio Galloni,

The Elio Altare 2016 Barolo Unoperuno is a special wine with a high price tag that is explained by the manual labor required for its creation. "Uno per uno" means "one at a time" in Italian, and the fruit, the actual individual berries, are selected by hand during a super precise sorting operation. It represents a blend of Arborina in La Morra, Cannubi in Barolo, Pernanno in Castiglione Falletto, Sarmassa in Barolo and Cerretta in Serralunga d'Alba. This is a grounded and powerful wine (with a potent 15.5% alcohol content). It reveals cherry cough drop, blackberry preserves and candied orange peel. There is smoke and spice acquired during two years of oak aging. A precious few 1,200 bottles were produced, berry by berry. - 97 Points, Monica Larner,

2014 Elio Altare ‘Cerretta’ Riserva Barolo - $265 ; Normally $310

The 2014 Barolo Cerretta Vigna Bricco is the most successful of the 2014s from Elio Altare. Deep, powerful and resonant in the glass, it fills out its ample frame nicely. Black cherry, plum, chocolate, menthol, licorice and dark spice flesh out in an ample, textured Barolo that shows why the Barolos of Serralunga are so compelling. - 94+ Points, Antonio Galloni,

This is usually the last wine I taste in the Elio Altare lineup, but because of the delicate nature of this vintage, this wine comes after the Barolo Arborina and before the Cannubi (both from 2016) in order of increasing intensity. The 2014 Barolo Riserva Cerretta Vigna Bricco offers sharp intensity and a polished, subdued approach. The aromas presented mirror the wine's birthplace with the dark fruit, ferrous earth, blood orange and tarry licorice that is characteristic of Serralunga d'Alba. It sees 24 months in oak, with only 20% new wood. The wine is dense and well structured, thanks to the quality of the tannins at the back. - 95 Points, Monica Larner,


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