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 2018 Barbera d'Alba DOC Login On Order
Elio Altare 2015 Langhe Rosso, Larigi, DOC Login WA 91 <1 Case
Elio Altare 2016 Langhe Rosso, Larigi, DOC Login WA 91 In Stock
Elio Altare 2018 Dolcetto d'Alba DOC Login On Order
Elio Altare 2015 'Unoperuno' Barolo DOCG Login On Order
Elio Altare 2015 Barolo DOCG Login WA 93 In Stock
Elio Altare 2013 Barolo Reserva, Cerretta Vigna Bricco, DOCG Login On Order
Elio Altare 2015 Barolo, Arborina, DOCG Login On Order
Elio Altare 2015 Barolo, Cannubi, DOCG Login On Order
Elio Altare 2016 Langhe Rosso, Giarborina, DOC Login WA 92 In Stock
Elio Altare 2016 'La Villa' Langhe Rosso DOC Login WA 92 In Stock
Elio Altare 2016 Vino Rosso, L'Insieme Login 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 2/2018
"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 2015 Langhe Rosso, Larigi, DOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 91 (6/29/2018)

    Here is a generous and jubilant expression of 100% Barbera. The 2015 Langhe Larigi opens to a dark and succulent inner core of black fruit, dried blackberry, crushed granite and smoky spice. This wine is refined in new oak to gain extra structure and more spicy flavors. The mouthfeel is thick but velvety. There is a note of sweetness on the finish. Only 2,500 bottles were produced.
  • Elio Altare 2016 Langhe Rosso, Giarborina, DOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 92 (6/28/2019)

    Seeing a short maceration time and only a brief aging period in barrique, the 2016 Langhe Giàrborina offers a rich, plummy and soft approach. The wine is ready to drink right out of the gate with a veal lasagna and bechamel sauce. The 15% alcohol will help to wash through the cheese and fat, as will the freshness and natural structure of the Nebbiolo grape.
  • Elio Altare 2016 'La Villa' Langhe Rosso DOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 92 (6/28/2019)

    The 2016 Langhe La Villa is a blend of Nebbiolo and Barbera. This plump, rich and ripe vintage is another good choice for a cheesy pasta dish with its 15% alcohol and solid acidity. The Barbera is what gives the wine its fleshy succulence and freshness, and the Nebbiolo adds the structure and the elegance. The finished product is opulent and dense.
  • Elio Altare 2015 Barolo DOCG
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 93 (6/28/2019)

    Elio Altare gives me a bit of his winemaker's wisdom: "Wine is like a marriage—it needs to be consummated early." With that in mind, the 2015 Barolo is engineered for near- and medium-term drinking with lots of plump fruit that jumps right out. The wine is open and inviting. Dark fruit is followed by warm tones of tilled earth and cured tobacco. Grapes are harvested from different parcels in four vineyard passes. In 2015, the team had the time to wait for each parcel to mature properly because the harvest was relaxed and spread over more comfortable timing. This Barolo would match up nicely with a mild liver dish.
  • Elio Altare 2016 Langhe Rosso, Larigi, DOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 91 (6/28/2019)

    The 2016 Langhe Larigi, a pure expression of Barbera from old vines and with only 2,500 bottles produced, is a beautiful wine with bright ripeness and lush fruit. Semi-crunchy in nature, it also has some muscle under the hood with a 15.5% alcohol content. The finish is fresh and bright. Try it with the famous local tajarin (rich egg-yolk pasta), without giving a second thought to all that cholesterol and the volume of alcohol you are consuming. By the way, Elio Altare is now 69 years old, and he counts 54 vintages under his belt.