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 2021 Barbera d'Alba DOC Login AG 89 In Stock
Elio Altare 2021 Dolcetto d'Alba DOC Login AG 90 In Stock
Elio Altare 2018 'Unoperuno' Barolo DOCG Login WA 95 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 2018 'Unoperuno' Barolo DOCG
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 95 (8/11/2022)

    As the wine name suggests, this Barolo is assembled a single berry at a time, "one by one." With a high price point that reflects a labor-intensive winemaking process, the Elio Altare 2018 Barolo Unoperuno shows some softness and sweetness of a hot vintage. This wine is made of a blend of fruit selected from Arborina (in La Morra), Cannubi (in Barolo), Pernanno (in Castiglione Falletto), Sarmassa (in Barolo) and Ceretta (in Serralunga d'Alba). The bouquet reveals soft cherry confit and dried raspberry with spice, leather and dark licorice. Made entirely by hand, this is a limited production of 1,300 bottles.
  • Elio Altare 2021 Dolcetto d'Alba DOC
    Vinous
    Rating: 90 (12/6/2022)

    The 2021 Dolcetto d'Alba is all class. Juicy dark plums, cloves, licorice and lavender are front and center. This succulent, racy Dolcetto is an absolute delight. I especially like the energy here. Dolcetto is once again a real highlight in 2021.
  • Elio Altare 2021 Barbera d'Alba DOC
    Vinous
    Rating: 89 (12/6/2022)

    The 2021 Barbera d'Alba is packed with jammy dark red fruit, spice, mocha and crushed flowers. Supple and juicy, with tons of fruit, the 2021 is a fine choice for drinking now and over the next handful of years.
  • Elio Altare 2018 'Unoperuno' Barolo DOCG
    Vinous
    Rating: 95 (11/21/2021)

    The 2018 Barolo Unoperuno is terrific. Bright and beautifully perfumed, the Unoperuno impresses with finesse. Crushed flowers, sweet red berry fruit, kirsch, cinnamon, mint and dried flowers all soar out of the glass. Readers will find a Barolo of uncommon finesse and elegance. As has been the case for a few vintages now, the Unoperuno is made from a blend of vineyard sites, with all the fruit destemmed by hand. The purity of the flavors is unreal.