A Poor Man’s Barolo And Barbaresco


 Chiavennasca (KEY–OV-UH-NASS-CUH)

In The Northwest region of Italy known as Piedmont, Nebbiolo is used in 3 D.O.C.G villlages. Barolo, Barbaresco and Gattinara. All 3,Barolo the most popular are pretty pricey or at least around $45.00 Minimum Retail. In Langhe which is not a D.O.C.G. you get a better bang for your buck with Nebbiolo. In the North of Italy however in the region of Lombardia they use Nebbiolo from High Altitudes and it goes by the local name of Chiavennasca listed above. 

Rainoldi Family

Aldo Rainaldi

Peppino Rainoldi and his nephew Aldo featured above make wines with strong personalities…bringing out the best of the various terroirs where Nebbiolo rules supreme.” – Gambero Rosso Italian Wines 2010

“This producer based in Lombardy’s Valtellina makes a number of delicious, value-priced reds.” – Antonio Galloni

Founded in 1925 by the current proprietor’s grandfather, Casa Vinicola Aldo Rainoldi is THE flagship estate in the Valtellina, the heart of Lombardy’s heralded Nebbiolo-growing region. The northernmost wine region in Lombardy, vineyards in the Valtellina are located at extremely high altitudes (600+ meters) and are protected from cold, harsh winds by the nearby mountain peaks, which also trap the HEAT in the valley. The STONY based vineyard soils also retain heat and RELEASE it during the night to warm the vines. These conditions provide a long, slow growing season for Nebbiolo, allowing it to fully develop its flavors

 2009 Rainoldi Prugnolo Valtellina Superiore D.O.C.G.

Rainoldi FrontRainoldi Back

Named after the Prugnolo Shrub which produces small Blue/Purple berries that mature in Autumn. To be called a Valtellina Superiore D.O.C.G the wine must be at least 90% Nebbiolo which this one is 100%. It must be a minimum of 12.0% Alcohol and this one is 13%. It must also age for a minimum of 2 years with at least 1 year in Barrel. 

The Review

Rainoldi Glass

On appearance it is classic color of an 8 year old Nebbiolo from Italy. As it ages in the bottle it turns an Orange Brick Type color with that rusty brownish tinge on the edge. Easy to identify for someone like me on a Blind Tasting. The rest is nowhere near a Nebbiolo from Barolo or Barbaresco in Piedmont. It almost has a modern style to it and I think a lot of that has to do with those ROCKS in the terroir that retain the heat during the day and send it back to the vines at night. The aromas were a hint of Piedmont Nebbiolo of Black Tar mixed with Clay and Saddle Leather or like a new baseball glove. A hint of almost Nutella (hazelnut spread) in the background and candied sour cherry. On my palate it took awhile to open up and for me to nail the flavors of Red Plums, Red Tart Cherry, Crushed Violets and the finish was well almost slightly sweet oak and moderate tannins. A medium finish.

Summary and Score 86/100

Right off the bat if you are expecting Barolo…this is not your wine. If you are looking for that Chill Out wine after a tough day at work…this is not for you either. My only objection to the wine was a little too much oak which threw the wine off for me especially on the finish. Plain and simple it is a FABULOUS FOOD WINE. I tried this with Grilled Smoked Chicken Sausage and it paired wonderfully. I tried this with just cubes of Cave Aged Gruyere it was a perfect match!. 

If you are like me and a fan of Barolo or Barbaresco and having some aged cheeses and salamis, anything off the grill,or bringing wine to someone’s house you were invited to this would delight you and your friends as the perfect Nebbiolo accompaniment and at $21.99 it will satisfy your Barolo Palate on a Valtellina Superiore Budget.

Grape-fully yours, Larry 

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