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 2020 Dolcetto d'Alba DOC Login AG 88 WS 90 <1 Case
Elio Altare 2018 Barolo DOCG Login On Order
Elio Altare 2015 Barolo Riserva, Cerretta Vigna Bricco, DOCG Login WA 94 AG 95 WS 97 In Stock
Elio Altare 2017 Barolo, Cannubi, DOCG Login WA 95 AG 95 WS 95 In Stock
Elio Altare 2017 Langhe Rosso, Giarborina, DOC Login WA 94+ AG 95 In Stock
Elio Altare 2017 'La Villa' Langhe Rosso DOC Login WA 94 AG 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 2/2021
"Altare's 2017 Barolos are gorgeous, must-have wines for the year. The 2017s stand out for their exceptional balance, especially in the tannins, and that places them at the very top of the pack. Farming is meticulous, as it always is."


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 2017 Langhe Rosso, Giarborina, DOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 94+ (7/23/2020)

    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.
  • Elio Altare 2017 'La Villa' Langhe Rosso DOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 94 (7/23/2020)

    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.
  • Elio Altare 2017 'La Villa' Langhe Rosso DOC
    Vinous
    Rating: 95 (2/21/2020)

    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.
  • Elio Altare 2017 Langhe Rosso, Giarborina, DOC
    Vinous
    Rating: 95 (2/21/2020)

    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.
  • Elio Altare 2017 Barolo, Cannubi, DOCG
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 95 (6/17/2021)

    The Elio Altare 2017 Barolo Cannubi is emerging as a top wine from this celebrated estate even though its first year of production was as recent as 2011. The Cannubi shows an extra level of finesse and pedigree that is fundamentally specific to this site, and of course, it takes a winemaker with vision to pull out the best and most nuanced side of this celebrated cru. This hot-vintage expression is especially impressive. Despite the high 15% alcohol content, the wine remains forever smooth and silky. Silvia Altare, and her dad Elio in a second degree, take ownership of this success.
  • Elio Altare 2015 Barolo Riserva, Cerretta Vigna Bricco, DOCG
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 94 (6/17/2021)

    The 2015 Barolo Riserva Cerretta Vigna Bricco is a bold and amply fleshed out expression with dried cherry, blackberry preserves, prune and more dried fruit at the back. The wine carries a 15% alcohol content, but in the case of this sunny and hot 2015 vintage, I feel that the fruit is more dried out as a result. With fruit from Serralunga d'Alba, you get a lot of brawn and muscle, with background tones of red brick and iron ore.
  • Elio Altare 2017 Barolo, Cannubi, DOCG
    Vinous
    Rating: 95 (2/1/2021)

    The 2017 Barolo Cannubi is a dense, powerful wine. In most vintages, the Cannubi is gracious and finessed, but the 2017 packs a serious punch. Intense fruit and equally imposing tannins drive through to the finish. The 2017 needs time to come together, but it is not likely to ever be an easy wine. Mint, white pepper and flowers add a bright upper register to the red-toned fruit.
  • Elio Altare 2015 Barolo Riserva, Cerretta Vigna Bricco, DOCG
    Vinous
    Rating: 95 (2/1/2019)

    The 2015 Barolo Riserva Cerretta Vigna Bricco is a dark, powerful wine that expresses the depth and gravitas of Serralunga in spades. Black cherry, plum, chocolate, new leather, licorice and menthol all add to an impression of power and gravitas. Ample and creamy in feel, the 2015 has a lot to offer. This is the first vintage in which the Cerretta will be released as a Riserva, although in reality the wine has always been sold with the bottle age needed to qualify as a Riserva. In other words, the wine itself is unchanged from previous editions.
  • Elio Altare 2020 Dolcetto d'Alba DOC
    Vinous
    Rating: 88 (1/13/2022)

    The 2020 Dolcetto d'Alba is fresh and vibrant, with lovely blue/purplish berry fruit, lavender and licorice. In 2020, the Dolcetto is a bit lighter in body and less persistent than in most vintages because of rain prior to harvest.
  • Elio Altare 2015 Barolo Riserva, Cerretta Vigna Bricco, DOCG
    The Wine Spectator
    Rating: 97 (4/30/2022)

    A bright beam of cherry runs through this silky red, flanked by raspberry, rose, spice and mineral notes. Finely woven and harmonious, with a solid line of refined tannins underneath. It all comes together on the long, fruit-, spice-, mineral-infused aftertaste. Best from 2024 through 2045. 150 cases imported to the USA.
  • Elio Altare 2017 Barolo, Cannubi, DOCG
    The Wine Spectator
    Rating: 95 (4/30/2022)

    Succulent cherry and plum fruit is framed by vanilla and toasty oak in this sleek, expressive red. Hints of tea, hay and tobacco add complexity as this winds down gracefully on the long finish. Firmly structured, with well-integrated tannins. Best from 2024 through 2042. 38 cases imported to the USA.
  • Elio Altare 2020 Dolcetto d'Alba DOC
    The Wine Spectator
    Rating: 90 (4/30/2022)

    A densely structured red, evoking blackberry, plum, earth and black pepper aromas and flavors. Saturated with fruit yet remains lively and long on the finish. Drink now through 2025.