In a nutshell: A fresh, crunchy and vibrant Dolcetto from a great producer and a rather unique vineyard.
The lowdown: The traditional and highly regarded Francesco Rinaldi estate, now run by decendents of Francesco, Paolo and Piera, make some beautiful wines from their base in Barolo. While Nebbiolo is perhaps the most famous of Piedmont's red grape varieties Barbera and Dolcetto also certainly deserve their limelight as well. Rinaldi's Dolchetto d'Alba is rather unique in that it comes from the small Roussot vineyard bang in the middle of prime Barolo country, and yet they have decided not to pull up the vines, replant with Nebbiolo and triple the price, but to instead showcase the young, fresh Dolcetto style.
No oak has been used and everything has been about accentuating fragrance and freshness. Fresh and perfumed aromas with touches of rustic earthy and herby notes on the nose lead onto a palate that is vibrant and juicy with blueberry and black fruit notes and savoury hints on the finish. A really great example of this native Piedmontese red.
When to drink: Lovely now though has the structure and quality to age over the next 5 years or so. Will classically pair with a plate of salumi, or try with pasta with tomato or mushrooms, lasagne, or any quite easy going fare.
Francesco Rinaldi e Figli is one of the great names in Piedmont. Located in the town of Barolo itself, the estate has a long and illustrious history in the region since its foundation in 1870. Giovanni Rinaldi built a winery and cellar in the town and this came into the charge of his youngest son Francesco in 1922. His sons Michele and Luciano further develop the estate in the 1960s and in the 1990s Luciano's nieces Paola and Piera took the reins and currently run the estate.
While they make several wines from across the region their flagships are from two single cru Barolo vineyards, Brunate and Cannubi. They only have small holdings here and the wines are pretty sought after. While the estate is proud of its traditional approach sisters Paola and Piera have broadened the estate's horizons considerably.