Elio Altare – the Godfather of Barolo
Elio Altare, aslo known as the Godfather of Barolo, has been making wines since about 1950. In 1976, Elio traveled to Burgundy and it was a trip that would change the course of history forever. Elio infamously took his father’s big barrels outside and chopped them up. He wanted to use small barrels instead, barrique, like the french. This act would eventually lead to his disinheritance. But Elio persevered.
Elio Altare’s use of Oak
Elio Altare uses barrique for their wines, but the oak is not dominant in the wines, just a helpful tool. Use of oak allows for small amounts of oxygen to pass through, helping to work the tannins. Oak can also help combat reductive qualities and add a richness to the barbera. The wines of Elio Altare do not have a huge presence of vanilla or toast, which can be a common aspect of wines made in barrique.
Altare Barbera d’Alba
Elio Altare Barbera is made with 10-30 year old vines, from different plots. The soil is calcareous but also very sandy. The wine spends about 5 months in 100% used barrique before it’s bottled. A barbera is perfectly paired with pasta or cheese.
2017 was a “big” vintage. Nicola at Trediberri comared it to Pamela Anderson. 2017 was one of the hottest and driest vintages, with temperatures above average throughout almost the entire season. The vintage will also be known for the lack of rain. Because of both the high temperatures and the lack of rain, the harvest was very early, with some barolo grapes picked before September! Although these conditions don’t sound great, it was quite optimal for barbera.
Where can you find it?
In Norway, you can either order it online or check out these local Vinmonopol:
Ullevaal, Oslo – 15
Gjøvik – 8
Bagn – 18
Bergen, Valkendorfsgt. – 6