Barolo vintner Giuseppe Rinaldi dies aged 69

Barolo winemaker Giuseppe ‘Beppe’ Rinaldi, known for his pure and traditional approach to winemaking, has died aged 69.

Vineyard in Barolo

As reported by Wine Spectator, Rinaldi died on 2 September having been recently diagnosed with bladder cancer.

The Rinaldi family first started selling grapes in the late 1800s, while Rinaldi’s grandfather, also Giuseppe, began bottling and selling wines in the 1920s. Beppe Rinaldi is the family’s fifth generation to make wines in Barolo, having taken charge of the estate after his father Battista’s death in 1992.

A staunch traditionalist, he produced two cuvées, each a blend of vineyards: Brunate-Le Coste and Cannubi San Lorenzo–Ravera.

Farmed organically, Rinaldi had always fermented with the indigenous yeasts in his father’s and grandfather’s ancient tini – tall upright oak vats – without temperature control for a month, punches down by hand and ages in old botti grandi for 3 ½ years.

He was joined in the winery by his eldest daughter, Marta, an oenologist, in 2008, and younger daughter, Carlotta, an agronomist, in 2012.

Speaking to The Art of Eating in 2000, Rinaldi described his philosophy on wine: “I don’t want a wine that pleases easily, when someone says I like it or I don’t like it and that’s it”.

Instead, Rinaldi aimed to produce wines that demanded thought and research. “It takes time. You have to study, to think, to understand, like all of art,” he explained. “It isn’t simple but complex; it doesn’t please right away. It’s the opposite of a mass-produced product. It has angles, not curves. It’s not easy.”

Paying tribute to Beppe, Dominic Nocerino of Vinifera Imports, Rinaldi’s New York importer, described him as a “special person, low-keyed, very knowledgeable about the history of the Barolo area and a staunch traditionalist, just like his father and grandfather.”

One Response to “Barolo vintner Giuseppe Rinaldi dies aged 69”

  1. Richard Ballantyne says:

    One of the greats of Barolo, indeed Italy. Very sad news

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