For some 10-years is a long time, but arguably not for a Barolo. Our Flash Wine special this week is the 2006 Elio Altare Barolo.
This wine is ruby-red with garnet reflections. Intense aromas of cherry, plum, clove, and cinnamon emanate from the glass. Fresh and intense, the berry/cherry fruit is slightly offset be a slight hint of roasted citrus. Smooth tannic structure and great balance make this wine an early pleasure.
Elio Altare is universally acknowledged to be one of the world’s greatest winemakers. Altare was a leader of the revolution in cellar and vineyard technique in the Barolo zone; among his many now-commonplace innovations were the use of rotary fermenters, a short maceration period, and the use of small barriques for aging. The resulting wines, from Dolcetto to Barbera to Barolo, are often considered to be the ultimate expressions of the soft, fragrant and lush qualities characteristic of the commune of La Morra, and today Altare is mentor to many of the younger generation of La Morra barolisti including Mauro Veglio, Mauro Molino, and the Revello brothers – his influence even extends to northern Ghemme where he lends advice to the Ioppa family.
The best of the local vineyards each comprise their own amphitheatre, south or south-east facing slopes at 280 metres above sea level on a sandy, tufaceous, marly soil. Elio Altare has vines in two of those, 50-plus-year-old vines in Arborina and a small parcel in Brunate which he started renting in 1995. The focus from Elio has always been to produce concentrated yields; he maintains, “You can’t make great wine without concentrated fruit.”
Elio Altare defines himself as “much more organic than most certified producers”.
No chemical fertilizer or herbicide has been utilised for 30 years. He also bought two cows in order to have production of manure. Elio consults with Claude Bourguignon, a renowned French specialist in soil microbiology. Above all, Mr. Bourguignon and Elio’s concern have been maintaining the health and vitality of the living environment.