Discover the Barolo of Elio Altare
Friday, August 2, 2019 in News
Jesper Kjaersgaard, Langton’s Head of International Buying, shares his admiration for the wines of Elio Altare and this winemaker’s influence on Barolo and the world of fine wine.
Elio Altare is still held as the driving force behind the ‘modernist movement’ that ripped through Barolo in the 1980s. To this day he refutes this reputation, but his impact on the region simply cannot be denied.
A young Elio Altare visited one of the great domaines of Burgundy and saw how well the winemakers were living. This was in stark contrast to the toil and struggle of generations of his family. Elio, who believed utterly in his terroir and his vines, was inspired to embark on a path of revolutionary change.
Still in his late teens, Elio started to question tradition and the winemaking practises of his father and neighbours of the Langhe. Many sought to stand in his way.
Elio decided to change the traditional method of how wines were made. He started green harvesting, cleaning up the winery and, most importantly, began using smaller new barriques instead of the traditional large-format botti of Barolo. This caused a rift between Elio and his family. It wasn’t until 1985, when his father passed away, that he was able to buy the farm back from his sisters.
Elio was the flag bearer of what became known as ‘the Modernists.’ Read more about the philosophical war that divided the winemakers in Barolo.
Still keeping an eye on the winery, Elio has now passed the baton to his daughter Silvia who has continued the ambassadorial role for the region once held by her father. Elio himself has distanced himself from the ‘Barolo Wars’ and proclaims that there are only two kinds of wines - good and bad.
The wines from Elio Altare have never been better. It is a most impressive set of wines that have been released in Australia. From the entry-level Dolcetto and Barbera to the brilliant premium Langhes – Larigi, La Villa and Giaraborina – through to the Classic 2015 Barolos and finishing with the majestic 2013 Cerretta Riserva.
I am so very pleased to present these wines to you but I must caution that allocations are strictly limited. These will be sought out by both fans of Barolo and lovers of the world’s great wines.