Elio Altare

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

Items

Elio Altare 2015 Langhe Rosso, Larigi, DOC Login WA 91 In Stock
Elio Altare 2016 Dolcetto d'Alba DOC Login AG 89 In Stock
Elio Altare 2014 Barolo, Arborina, DOCG Login WA 91 In Stock
Elio Altare 2014 Barolo, Cannubi, DOCG Login WA 93 In Stock
Elio Altare 2012 Barolo, Cerretta, DOCG Login WA 95 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.

Vinous 2/2018
"Silvia Altare has done a terrific job with her 2014 Barolos. The Cannubi and Ceretta are especially notable, but then again, 2014 is a year in which the very best sites have an upper hand."


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..."


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."


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


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."


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

Reviews

  • Elio Altare 2016 Dolcetto d'Alba DOC
    Vinous
    Rating: 89 (6/1/2018)

    The 2016 Dolcetto d'Alba is very pretty and full of varietal blue/purplish fruit, almond, licorice and lavender overtones. In this vintage, the Dolcetto is a bit restrained, but the purity of the flavors is superb. Floral notes give the 2016 a lovely sense of lift.
  • Elio Altare 2012 Barolo, Cerretta, DOCG
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 95 (6/29/2018)

    This is the first vintage in which this wine is being released as a Riserva. The 2012 Barolo Riserva Cerretta shows the depth, bounty and power that is almost always associated with Nebbiolo from the Serralunga d'Alba township. The wine reminds us that 2012 was characterized by a hot growing season and scorching summer. You can taste that extra fruit blackness or ripeness as a result. The mouthfeel also shows a good dose of soft succulence that enhances and widens the extremely focused and streamlined Nebbiolo taste profile.
  • Elio Altare 2014 Barolo, Cannubi, DOCG
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 93 (6/29/2018)

    Of the new 2014 Barolo releases from Elio and Silvia Altare, I am most impressed by the 2014 Barolo Cannubi. This wine dances or flutters over the palate with fine-tuned aromas of wild rose, white cherry, autumnal leaf and campfire ash. The mouthfeel is stitched together with silken threads. Because so much fruit was lost due to difficult weather conditions and hail in 2014, only 1,200 bottles were produced.
  • Elio Altare 2014 Barolo, Arborina, DOCG
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 91 (6/29/2018)

    The Elio Altare 2014 Barolo Arborina normally sees short skin maceration times (of about three days), but they were cut even shorter in this challenging vintage in order to preserve the primary fruit freshness of the wine. I was struck by the immediate and accessible quality of fruit here that seems very generous and open, even at this young stage. In fact, I have reduced the drinking window to about ten years as a result. The wine wraps thickly over the palate with ripe cherry and prune. The tannins are ripe and soft.
  • Elio Altare 2015 Langhe Rosso, Larigi, DOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 91 (6/29/2018)

    Here is a generous and jubilant expression of 100% Barbera. The 2015 Langhe Larigi opens to a dark and succulent inner core of black fruit, dried blackberry, crushed granite and smoky spice. This wine is refined in new oak to gain extra structure and more spicy flavors. The mouthfeel is thick but velvety. There is a note of sweetness on the finish. Only 2,500 bottles were produced.