• сhristinabutorina

2019 #Piemonte | Renato Ratti winery, La Morra

Updated: Jan 7, 2020

The name Renato Ratti means a lot for whole Barolo production area. He was one of the pioneers in Barolo who really appreciated and promoted terroir concept, trying to change and turn local people's old-fashioned mind into this direction. The story of himself and his estate is fascinating, so visiting Renato Ratti winery is a must do when you are in #Barolo zone.

Renato Ratti was born in Piemonte in 1934, he had no heritage of wine estate in the area, he built himself from the scratch, and he really deserves to be called a great man. He was a super talented oenologist, who spend a long time in Brazil working for production of sparkling wines for a big brand "Cinzano", where he gained a priceless experience of winemaking in tough conditions on such a challenging market as Brazil.

In the 60s he returned to #Piemonte and bought his first vineyard for Barolo production, a small parcel in the historical zone of Marcenasco in La Morra, where in the ancient abbey he created the first cru Barolo Marcenasco in 1965. Together with his nephew Massimo Martinelli, also an enologist, they perfected vinification and maturation techniques, shortened fermentation and maceration period, and reduced aging in oak barrels to two years. In the 70s Renato Ratti bought new crus around La Morra: Conca and Rocche.

Nowadays the #winery itself located right in the heart of Barolo zone, in the village Annunziata in La Morra area, on the hill above a teeny tiny cru named Conca (=seashell in Italian), basically the name is reflecting an original shape of the vineyard, which looks exactly like a scallop shell.

In the 70s-80s Renato Ratti became an important person for #Langhe and Italian wines' business. He was elected president of the Barolo Consorzio and General Director of the Asti Consorzio. During his life he wrote a lot of books about Italian wines and in particular about Piemonte. He was the first one, who created a map of Barolo zone with the most important crus mentioned there, by the way this map is still quite accurate and relevant in our days, so Renato Ratti is really the father of Barolo crus. Excellent enologist and writer, he became one of the main drivers of the cultural and technical revolution in #Barolo area and brought Piemonte wines to the top level worldwide.

At the moment Renato's son Pietro runs the #estate, also an enologist he takes care of his father's legacy and carefully keeps Ratti's winemaking traditions. In the early 2000s he has built new cellars in a way to assure and continue vinification and refinement techniques' development started by his father in the 60s, always respecting the concept of #terroir and the grapes' origins.

The property of the estate covers 35 hectares located in La Morra, Mango and Costigliole d'Asti. Barolo is being crafted from three crus: Conca, Marcenasco and Rocche dell'Annunziata, all are around La Morra.

The winery itself is quite big and well equipped. Fermentation is going in stainless steel vessels of different shapes and sizes, which are placed in a multilayered way on the different floors inside the room.

The cellars are impressive, with kinds of huge Slavonian oak casks...

...and small French oak barriques.

Ageing in bottles is going side by side with ageing in oak. Everything is constructed in a very convenient way with a lot of space inside.

Marcenasco vintage 2017, see you on the market in 2021!

Wine library of the estate, where all historical vintages of Renato Ratti wines are carefully kept.

The #cellar is located few meters underground right under Conca vineyard and this wall is kept especially without any artificial coverage on it, to show pure soil open. I like such things, when you can see not only a small piece of soil in a glass jar in a tasting room, but to observe it in natural condition underground with proper temperature, a couple of meters visible layer by layer with parts of humidity touch, micro-inclusions of different minerals, so on and so forth. Very good experience though.

Liked also a tasting room and panoramic view on #Langhe hills.

Talking about the line up and style of Renato Ratti's wines in general, and of Barolo in particular, I would say they are more powerful and austere wines, which are better to be drunk years after #vintage as they are quite close and not approachable in their youth.

The label used for other except Barolo wines is historical "soldier", which was launched by Renato Ratti in remembrance of 17th century soldiers of Piemonte region, who were defending their land those times.

Langhe Chardonnay DOC Brigata

Grapes: Chardonnay 100%

Vintage: 2017

Alcohol: 14%

Vinification: alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel

Ageing: in stainless steel

Nose: apple, lemon peel, white flowers

Palate: medium body, fruity, fresh

The first vintage of Chardonnay, crafted at the estate. The vineyard used for #Chardonnay plantings called Brigata and located on the south-west of Barolo zone, in Dogliani area. Repeating here again my same opinion about Langhe Chardonnay, which I already mentioned in the article about Paolo Scavino winery, I don't think planting and crafting Chardonnay in this terrior is a good idea.

Barbera d'Alba DOC Battaglione

Grapes: Barbera 100%

Vintage: 2017

Alcohol: 14%

Vinification: alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel with maceration on skins during 7-10 days

Ageing: several months in oak casks

Nose: plum, red cherry, black pepper, cinnamon

Palate: fresh, round texture, spicy

Very good Barbera, full bodied, rich in color, warm and spicy. As great as a well made #Barbera can be: full of ripe black fruits, fresh and juicy. Great to be drunk young, but still can be kept in bottle for another couple of years.

Villa Pattono Monferrato DOC

Grapes: Barbera 60%, Merlot 40%

Vintage: 2016

Alcohol: 14,5%

Vinification: alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel with maceration on skins during 7-10 days

Ageing: 1 year in oak casks

Nose: blackberry, black cherry, vanilla, liquorice

Palate: intense, persistent, spicy

Villa Pattono is the vineyard located on the north-east direction from Barbaresco zone towards Asti. Villa Pattono is the name of an ancient country house, belongs to family's ancestors from Costigliole d'Asti. The story tells that hundred years ago a great grandmother produced a house wine there, making a blend of the grapes grown in the different vineyards around the house. So this wine is kind of supporting old family's tradition. Well, it sounds again a bit weird for me to blend #Barbera with international variety as Merlot... however, the wine made of good quality, fruitforward and spicy, full of oak flavours, so I believe it should suit well a regular American palate and one of the biggest wine consuming markets like the US.

Langhe Nebbiolo DOC Ochetti

Grapes: Nebbiolo 100%

Vintage: 2017

Alcohol: 14%

Vinification: alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel with maceration on skins during 7-10 days

Ageing: 1 year in oak casks

Nose: strawberry, cranberry, graphite, wet leaves

Palate: velvety, high tannins

Classic Langhe Nebbiolo, fine and delicate, a little bitter on the mid palate, pleasantly round in general. Typical red berries and dried herbs flavours, well-balanced acidity and persistent aftertaste. I would say it's an everyday wine, for #Nebbiolo quite easy drinking, made with style, liked it.

Barolo DOCG Marcenasco

Grapes: Nebbiolo 100%

Vintage: 2015

Alcohol: 14%

Vinification: alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel with maceration on skins during 7-10 days, malolactic in oak

Ageing: 2 years in oak casks

Nose: dried raspberry, tobacco, balsamic, game

Palate: full body, austere tannins

Marcenasco cru is located nearby Annunziata village in La Morra area. It has ancient roots as the name Marcenasco comes from historical Marcenascum (Latin) a Benedictine Abbey and castle with property of #Nebbiolo vineyards, where the monks were growing grapes and producing wine from the 12th century onwards. The soil of Marcenasco cru is calcareous, with blue marl and ancient marine fossils. The label of this wine is referring to the history of Marcenasco with the coat of arms of a local noble family, with a black falcon and the Latin inscription "Probasti me et congniusti me" which means "You tried me, you knew me". Well, sounds quite applicable to such noble wine. Barolo Marcenasco is definitely crafted intentionally for a long aging, a powerful wine, elegant and well-balanced. However young #tannins are quite harsh and rustic, this wine would be a better choice for your cellar, just forget it there for another 10-20 years and your patience will be rewarded then.

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