Elio Altare

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Country of Origin: Italy
Location: Barolo
People: Elio Altare, Owner | Silvia Altare, Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Organic

Items

Elio Altare 2016 Barbera d'Alba DOC Login In Stock
Elio Altare 2012 Langhe Rosso, Larigi, DOC Login WA 91 AG 92 In Stock
Elio Altare 2016 Dolcetto d'Alba DOC Login In Stock
Elio Altare 2012 Barolo, Arborina, DOCG Login AG 92 WA 93+ In Stock

Below the hilltop town of La Morra and above Annunziata, lay the 5 hectares that make up the Altare Vineyard, which has been planted and maintained by the family since 1948. But the story is not all bucolic: the owner/winemaker, Elio Altare, now renowned for being a major innovator in the region, almost lost all claim to the winery for his rebellious winemaking views.

Elio was at the forefront of the period in Barolo when traditional, regional winemaking collided head-first with a new generation’s desire for modernity. After a trip to Burgundy in the 1970s, Elio returned with new visions of modernizing the family winery--which meant replacing the large aging barrels with smaller French barriques. His father did not share his vision, and the tension culminated when Elio took a chainsaw to his father’s old barrels. He was banned from the winery until his father’s death in 1985. Since he has regained control, he has implemented organic agriculture, the use rotary fermenters and short macerations and he has employed small barriques for aging.

Elio’s focus is on simple and natural wines without chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides. He bought two cows to create manure, which is all he uses for fertilization. He uses only indigenous yeasts and spontaneous malolactic fermentation, and the wines are not filtered or fined. He adds nothing that might change the color or texture, and he uses stainless steel tanks and clean barriques. Basically, these are unmitigated wines that express the nature of the grapes and place they came from.

Elio Altare is a family affair with Elio’s daughters, Silvia and Elena, representing the next generation. Elena studied enology, and Silvia studied Economics.

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 3/2016
"These new releases find Elio Altare at the top of his game...Over the last thirty years, so much has been made about Altare's innovative approach to winemaking that his decidedly artisan approach to farming has completely been overlooked..."


Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar 12/2013
"A long-time lover of Burgundy, Elio Altare is one of many Barolo modernists who treats his Nebbiolo gently, almost as if it were Pinot Noir. He uses no commercial yeasts or enzymes, racks his wines a maximum of three times in all, and bottles without fining or filtration during the third summer after the harvest. Altare wasn't yet swallowing the hype about 2010, maintaining that "the wines could lack flesh and sweetness. What's a grand vin?" he asked rhetorically. "Is it a black color? Is it 15% alcohol? For me, the most important thing is to make wine without faults every year."


Antonio Galloni, Vinous 10/2013
"Elio Altare's entry-level offerings are among the best handmade, artisan wines readers will find anywhere in the world."


Monica Larmer, Wine Advocate 6/2013
"Elio Altare is never a man to mince words. He tells the rags-to-riches story of Barolo with conviction, passion and firsthand knowledge. La Morra went from having a handful of farmers (five or six) back in the early 1970s to dozens of estates today. Back then, grape growers were considered so low in social rank, many could not find local women to marry. They imported wives from poorer regions of southern Italy, like Calabria and Basilicata, to live in the Langhe. “C’era la fame qui,” he says. (“We were starving.”) From his panoramic porch overlooking the Frazione Annunziata section of La Morra, he sighs, “Just look at us now.” He tells the story of his first trip to France: “It blew my mind that producers in Burgundy were buying Porsches and yachts with just a few hectares of vine while we were dirt poor.” Highly influenced by that trip (his use of French barrique for aging Nebbiolo is a prime example), Altare returned to Italy and vowed to shake things up. He most certainly did."


Antonio Galloni, The Wine Advocate 10/2012
"In my opinion, one of the benchmarks of a truly great estate is exceptionally high, uncompromising quality across the board. Altare is without question one of those properties where every wine is well worth the effort of seeking out."


Media Links
Vinousmedia.com: Portraits in Nebbiolo - 1984-2004
Winegeeks: Winery of the Month Elio Altare

Video Links
Guildsomm: The Wines of Barolo and Barbaresco (features Silvia Altare)

Reviews

  • Elio Altare 2012 Langhe Rosso, Larigi, DOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 91 (5/2/2015)

    Made with new oak, the 2012 Langhe Larigi shows a deep, penetrating and velvety appearance. Larigi is a pure expression of Barbera (from old vines) that macerates on the skins for up to four days. The color is rich and well concentrated. The best thing about this wine is that you never get that biting acidity that Barbera can give in lesser expressions. Morello cherry, blackberry and light spice come into sharp focus.
  • Elio Altare 2012 Langhe Rosso, Larigi, DOC
    Vinous
    Rating: 92 (3/1/2015)

    The 2012 Larigi, Altare's old-vine Barbera, offers good immediacy in its bold, pungent fruit. Dark red berries, spices, mint, sweet spices and licorice open up in the glass, but overall, the 2012 is a bit compact and not fully expressive, both of which are uncharacteristic for a warm year. It will be interesting to see if the 2012 puts on more flesh in bottle. There is good persistence and fine overall balance, just not the showiness of some years.
  • Elio Altare 2012 Barolo, Arborina, DOCG
    Vinous
    Rating: 92 (3/1/2016)

    A wine of delicacy and finesse, the 2012 Barolo Arborina is another wine that offers more in the way of freshness and persistence than power. The flavors are bright and focused throughout, which gives the wine considerable near and medium-term appeal. The classic, incisive Arborina tannins are nicely balanced throughout.
  • Elio Altare 2012 Barolo, Arborina, DOCG
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 93+ (6/29/2016)

    The 2012 Barolo Arborina is a complete and harmonious wine that plays its cards well. With textbook precision, fruit was harvested exactly 33 days after flowering. Bold aromas of dried cherry, spice, tar, cola and licorice grow in intensity. Only 20% of the wine is aged in new oak. The mouthfeel is silky and firm. The results are balanced and whole. This is a complete and classic Barolo that represents the best side of the vintage.