John Paul Kaminga
Silky Gem: Francesco Rinaldi Cannubi
There are more than a few famous crus in Barolo, but no single site is more famous than Cannubi. Situated in the heart of Barolo, facing southeast, and featuring some of the sandiest well-drained soils in the region, Cannubi has long been known as a prime growing location for Nebbiolo. The Rinaldi family would know this as well as any in the region, as they have been making Barolo since the 1800s.
Today, Piera and Paola Rinaldi (pictured above) excel at the Francesco Rinaldi winery, one of the last bastions of old-school Barolo. Here things are done much as they were 150 years ago: farming is organic, vinification is slow and macerations long, no new oak, long aging in large old botti... Some might complain that their wines are not plush and round enough, but they would be missing the point. These are wines of grace and subtlety, to be celebrated for their inimitable complex perfumes and extraordinary length on the palate.
Piera and Paola's stunning 2016 Cannubi is truly an opportunity. It is an exemplary wine, showing to great effect the prodigious 2016 vintage and privileged Cannubi cru. It is not inexpensive, but in the context of great Barolo, it must be considered a superb value.
Francesco Rinaldi Barolo 'Cannubi' 2016 - $75
Old school, tightly-wound, graceful and understated, delicate and powerful at once; superb. Aromas of pink, red and blue fruits, it is somewhat vague and diffuse in the fruit department: red and blue plum, strawberry, cranberry, citrus... Gorgeous floral notes: roses and violets. Ethereal earthy and spicy intrigue: cinnamon, mint, clay, dried mushrooms, leather. Lots of character on the mid-palate, with darker tones taking shape and great inner perfume. Though the tannins are fine and composed, it is overall quite tense and nervy, with intense minerality taking over on the finish. On day two this becomes polished and silky, but it is still so tight and more about potential than pleasure right now. A gorgeous sweet alpine forest note emerges and melds with the minty and rosy nuances.
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