Giuseppe "Beppe" Rinaldi, proprietor of the Giuseppe Rinaldi estate in the Italian wine appellation of Barolo, died Sept. 2 after recently being diagnosed with bladder cancer. He was 69.
"Beppe Rinaldi was a special person, low-keyed, very knowledgeable about the history of the Barolo area and a staunch traditionalist, just like his father and grandfather," said Dominic Nocerino of Vinifera Imports, Rinaldi's New York importer, who began working with the estate in 1980.
Rinaldi, a veterinarian by profession, took the reins of his family's winery three decades ago after the death of his father, Battista. The Rinaldi family had first started selling grapes in the late 1800s; Rinaldi's grandfather, also Giuseppe, began bottling and selling wines in the 1920s.
Despite the changes occurring in the Barolo region in the 1980s and '90s, Rinaldi continued to make wines much like his father and grandfather had, blending crus to find a balance. He produced two cuvées, each a blend of vineyards, fermented in wooden vats and aged in large, neutral-oak barrels: Brunate-Le Coste and Cannubi San Lorenzo–Ravera.
When labeling laws changed with the release of the 2010 vintage, Rinaldi blended three of the vineyards, calling the wine Tre Tine, or "Three Casks," and bottled the Brunate separately. Known for their youthful austerity and ageability, Rinaldi's Barolos were pure and complex. Beppe's other nickname was “Citrico,” or “the acidic one,” for his directness and acerbic wit.
He was joined in the winery by his eldest daughter, Marta, an enologist, in 2008, and younger daughter, Carlotta, an agronomist, in 2012. "The winery is in good hands with his children," Nocerino told Wine Spectator. "Beppe will be greatly missed, but his legacy will live on in the wine world."
In addition to his daughters, Rinaldi is survived by his wife, Annalisa.
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