‘ArnaldoRivera’ – Cantina Sociale Terre del Barolo

Italy / piedmont

Producer Info

press recognition: http://www.arnaldorivera.com/#news-press

Founded on 8th Dec. 1958 with 22 socii/members by Arnaldo Rivera, a teacher & for 37 yrs mayor of Castiglione Falletto, in the same year as the Barbaresco equivalent (Produttori del Barbaresco), the Cantina Sociale Terre del Barolo now represents the interests of over 300 Langhe families & 650 hectares of vineyard (c. 15% of the region’s total), but has largely been overshadowed by its more quality-driven neighbour (Barbaresco) in recent decades, preferring instead to pursue a policy of own-label & bulk sales.

All change in 2000 with the decision to shift the strategy from quantity to quality, initially by increasing the number of bottles being produced by the cooperative. Young winemaker Daniele Ponzo arrived in 2002, & more recently the squad has been bolstered by a new MD Dr. Stefano Pesci & by PR/marketer Gabriele Oderda (ex-GAJA). Separate single vineyard vinifications began in 2007, while the ‘ArnaldoRivera’ project was conceived in 2008. The best plots were identified across c. 15ha, the contracts drawn up to give roughly 35 members a five-year horizon in which to collaborate closely with a Terre del Barolo team that took an active role in determining the quality, starting in the vineyard. While in the cantina, investment has been made to provide Daniele Ponzo with fresh wood, in particular french Fontaineblue & Alliers 500 litre tonneaux coopered by Gamba.

La cantina sociale Terre del Barolo’s ‘ArnaldoRivera’ range provides us with a masterclass in Barolo: both a classic, traditional blend of Barolo, so called ‘undicicomuni’ as it’s drawn from across the eleven villages of Barolo, plus seven  single vineyard Barolo, notably from the Grand Cru equivalents of Ravera, Monvigliero, Bussia, Rocche di Castiglione & Vigna Rionda. It also sheds a bright light on the clear stylistic differences between the villages! Indeed, each label clearly depicts the village/comune to which the respective vineyard Barolo belongs. An exciting, & long-awaited range of delicious Barolos that faithfully & precisely expresses their provenance.

From vintage 2018, the ‘ArnaldoRivera’ range will also feature Barolo Villero, Castiglione Falletto, & Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata of La Morra.

And with vintage 2019 arrives Barolo Cannubi!


Barolo ‘undicicomuni’
Barolo Castello, Grinzane Cavour
Barolo Boiolo, La Morra
Barolo Ravera, Novello
Barolo Monvigliero, Verduno
Barolo Bussia, Monforte d’Alba
Barolo Rocche di Castiglione, Castiglione Falletto
Barolo Vignarionda, Serralunga d’Alba
Langhe Nascetta del Comune di Novello
Diano d’Alba Sori del Cascinotto
Barbera d’Alba Valdisera

Tasting Notes

2015 Barolo ‘undicicomuni’ – their flagship wine, a traditional blend drawn from across the eleven (undici) villages (comuni) of the Barolo DOCG zone, circa 7.5ha, which for vintage 2015 is from five villages (& ten single vineyards): Diano d’Alba (vigna Sorano), Verduno (Campasso), La Morra (Boiolo & Rocche dell’Annunziata), Castiglione Falletto (Codana, Piantà, & Villero ) & Serralunga d’Alba (San Rocco). A warm red, the nose delights, packed with lots of ripe red berries, dried rose, fine, classic, fresh; the palate swells with soft, straw-berry & rosehip  fruit flesh, detail, refinement & enjoyment! Truly a benchmark+, traditional Barolo, brimming with natural complexity that comes from such a diverse blend. Bottled 1st week of August 2018, c.50k bts.

2014 Barolo ‘undicicomuni’ – tasted from bottle in July & Sept ’17, & then in Jan’18, this classic Barolo was a collaboration with 10 producers of Nebbiolo from 10 vineyards over 5 villages: Diano d’Alba (vigna Sorano) , Verduno (Campasso), La Morra (Boiolo & Rocche dell’Annunziata), Castiglione Falletto (Codana, Piantà, & Villero ) & Serralunga d’Alba (San Rocco)! Vinified largely in botte & cement tanks, the production was down 10/20% due to the vintage, but there’s great, natural complexity due to the selection of fruit from the villages. Hence the fabulous nose of rich rose, strawberry spice, ginger, sandal, incense, warm earth, orange rind…It’s suave, rose petal fresh, swims with cassis crunch, ginger root & licorizia! It’s got it all.

2013 Barolo ‘undicicomuni’ – named after the 11 communes that make up the Barolo region, this is a traditional blend of fruit from five key ones : 25% Novello, 25% La Morra, plus 50% Monforte, Serralunga & Castiglione Falletto. Broad, complex, fleshy (the earthy/incense of La Morra & chalky freshness of Novello prominent) 50k bts produced in 2013.

 2015 Barolo Castello, Grinzane Cavour – the fruit from this 1ha handkerchief that’s been tended since the 1970s by Alba’s Umberto 1 Wine School sits right below the beautiful & historically significant castello itself. For it was here that Camile Benso, Conte di Cavour, the Foreign Minister during Italy’s re-unification in 1861, initially experimented by planting Pinot Nero, only to soon realise that he wasn’t in Burgundy, & that Nebbiolo was best! Much lower in altitude than Boiolo, at 230m asl, on Diano sandstone soils (arenaria di Diano), facing full south, Castello always seems to treat us to a Christmas cake, glacier cherry & mixed spice compote! Very inviting, both sumptuous as well as crochante, cleansing tonic fresh, with an earthy rose fragrance. Very distinct, circa 4k bts produced.

2014 Barolo Castello, Grinzane Cavour – tasted from bottle in July & Sept ’17, & then in Jan’18. A virtual monopole of 1 hectare, a handkerchief facing plum south-west below the Castello di Grinzane Cavour itself, & since the 1970s managed by the Cantina Sociale in collaboration with the enological students at Alba’s Umberto 1 school along a strict ‘ArnaldoRivera’ protocol of no herbicides or chemical fertilisers, only copper & sulphur treatments. It retains a healthy red garnet glow, thanks to modest sunlight levels (thus the anthocyanins weren’t burnt); spherical, warm earthy, cherry kirsch, yet open, easy on the eye, from Diano soils, hence the Christmas pudding, & curry spice fruit. Distinctive, understated. Only 3.6k bts produced in 2014.

2013 Barolo Castello, Grinzane Cavour – while Grinzane Cavour is one of the smallest commune, lying at the entrance to the Barolo zone, its importance to the story of Barolo should not be overlooked ; Camile Benso, Conte di Cavour, one of the driving forces behind Italian re-unification in 1861, planted experimental vineyards around the prestigious castle (castello) Warm spice 3.4k bts.

 2015 Barolo Boiolo, La Morra – as you might expect & hope, from La Morra clay-rich, water-retentive soils, the Boiolo vineyard seems to have weathered the hot summer well. The vineyard’s elevation at 420m asl, ESE facing, perched above Rocche dell’Annunziata, Rocchettevini off to the left & Brunate to the right, has certainly benefitted this Barolo in the warmer 2015 vintage. It has a dark, smouldering, tamarind spice, dried orange, sumptuous, Brunate esque presence & depth. Is it too fanciful to suggest it has the dried rose & incense nose of Rocche & Rocchettevini, & the dark fruit, shoulders, volume & invigorating cologne whiff of Brunate?! Owned by the Cantina Sociale since 1999, replanted in 2002. Circa 2.4k bts produced.

2014 Barolo Boiolo, La Morra – tasted from bottle in July & Sept ’17, & then in Jan’18; 14%, less crop in 2014, down 15%, so only 2k bts in total. Boiolo on the junction – the rotonda! – between Rocchettevini, Rocche dell’Annunziata & Brunate! Owned by the Cantina Sociale since 1999, in 2002 replanted with different clones, notably that of Chiavanesca (of Valtellina fame), giving smaller/Michet like bunches of thick skinned berries. From vintage 2014, the vineyard became organic. Deep brooding, almost plum garnet, black pepper, fresh clove, a generous fleshy hug of rich forest floor, tea leaves…

2013 Barolo Boiolo, La Morra – perhaps less well-known as a single vineyard Barolo/label, Boiolo sits on the crossroads of three famous ‘crus’ at 400m asl looking ESE: Rocche dell’Annunziata, Rocchettevini & Brunate. A single plot owned by the TdB itself. Stunning dried rose & bramble spice.  2.4k bts

 2015 Barolo Ravera, Novello – one of the region’s increasingly sought-after vineyards & villages, ArnaldoRivera’s Barolo Ravera returns to the fold in 2015, having not been bottled in vintage 2014. The reason being that Novello’s geographical position, being 400m asl high & to the south-west of the Barolo zone, gazing at the Alps, combined with fine calc rich marl soils, makes the village open to the prevailing fresh weather & the cool Alpine breezes/westerlies. So suolo, elevation & position translates into poise, finezza & freschezza! A good combination for a vintage like 2015: notable is the paler red (lower pH), a bright perfume of fresh yet restrained orange skin, rose, sublime detail & elegance; the palate is light on its feet/agile, charming, porcelain tannins, racy, cool cologne & light red fruit & rosewater finish. From six parcels, c.3ha, & only 5.6k bts produced.

2014 Barolo Ravera, Novello – Not bottled as the Cantina Sociale decided the quality of fruit did no merit the single vineyard label in this vintage.

2013 Barolo Ravera, Novello – one of the most fashionable Barolo single vineyards, Ravera lies in the Novello commune, revered for its cool, friable, marne, Monforte-esque soils & vineyards that gaze at the snow-capped Alps to the west. Racy, perfumed. 5.6k bts

 2015 Barolo Monvigliero, Verduno – Ah! Monvigliero! Just its name causes palpitations! Look at this dreamy pale red Barolo; just wallow in the swooning dried rosehip & orange skin perfume that glides so effortlessly, like the river Tanaro close by (& responsible for the village’s growing reputation). In 2015 the ArnaldoRivera Monvigliero was drawn from 4 growers, totalling 2ha, with vines planted between 1948 & 2002. Perfectly located at 280-300m asl, facing full south, the soil here is a calc rich, talcum powder fine, marne soil, whose properties give a very distinct expression, that of Monvigliero: with a wonderful perfume & the finest of tannic structures. No change in 2015, if a bit riper, with notable strawb fruit, a gentle acidity & peppery spice. 4k bts.

2014 Barolo Monvigliero, Verduno – tasted from bottle in July & Sept ’17, & then in Jan’18; from 4 plots higher up mi-coteau, owned by 4 proprietors; focus orange rind, swooning, sandy balsam oil, cool, pretty violet perfume, charming, it flows like the Tanaro not far away, a nudge back towards the Roero perhaps; planted in 1955, 1968 & 1976 accounts for the elegant yet noble structure; aged in 12 700 & 500 litre Alliers French oak, 20% new 80% used, yet suave tannins, lovely relaxed feel combine with volume & a clear sense of purpose. Only 4.1k bts produced.

2013 Barolo Monvigliero, Verduno – even more sought after are the Baroli from Monvigliero, whose chalky talc soils lie in a natural amphitheatre below the village & close to the river Tanaro, giving a rose petal refinement & grace. 4.2k bts

 2015 Barolo Bussia, Monforte d’Alba – from the higher, top half of the massive Bussia MGA (289ha), from two plots: Sant Eligio & Corsini at c. 410m asl, planted in 1969, ’81 & 2003, on a very steep gradient, facing west, on poor calc, fine grey marl soils that share a similarity with those of Ginestra & Mosconi than Bussia (lower down), hence producing a racy, finely perfumed Barolo of great poise. Riper in 2015, balsamic perhaps, yet still minerally & blessed with nervy acidity. Energetico, more lampone/raspberry than fregola/strawberry, despite the warmer vintage, points to a great oscillation of temperature, day/night, fixing fresh aromas. Persistence, linear, compact. Needs time. 4.5k bts.

2014 Barolo Bussia, Monforte d’Alba – tasted from bottle in July & Sept ’17, & then in Jan’18; from only 2 owners, with plots in the highest Corsini (400 m asl) & San Eligio (420m asl) vineyards close to the village, planted in ’69, ’81 & 2003, aged in one new 700 litre Alliers tonneau & four 500 litre ones. As you might expect & hope, it’s racy, high toned, with almost minty freshness that stems from those high, nutrient poor grey marl Monforte soils. It’s got lovely pace, lampone/raspberry essence, cool, transparent, agile, sapid minerality, cleansing, lifted, ethereal…

2013 Barolo Bussia, Monforte d’Alba – one of the great names of Barolo, Bussia’s character & quality has been often misunderstood due to the enormous size of the Menzione Geografica Aggiuntive (MGA/zone) at 289ha & due to the distorting techniques sought by the village’s modernist producers, who prefer extraction over elegance. Here, from two prime plots in the high part of the cru close to the village, one can really appreciate the vineyard’s brilliance. Balsam oil essence & minerals. 3.6k bts

 2015 Barolo Rocche di Castiglione, Castiglione Falletto – since 1994, replanted in 1977 & 1990, the Cantina Sociale has owned a tiny 0.3ha wedge of a plot that lies at the southern end of the Rocche di Castiglione cliff. Stunning to look at (from Perno), the resulting wine is stunning to behold! Chambolle-esque, it radiates a raspberry/wild strawberry perfume, smouldering, haunting, seductive, the pure calc bedrock that underpins this sensational site bestows a cool, white stone purity to this gorgeous wine. Aged in four Alliers & Fontainbleu wood tonenaux (500L), the wine remains cool & composed. 2.4k bts produced.

2014 Barolo Rocche di Castiglione, Castiglione Falletto –tasted from bottle in July & Sept ’17, & then in Jan’18; replanted in 1990, owned by the Cantina Sociale since 1994; aged in four 500 litre Alliers & Fontainbleu French oak tonneaux; from the brilliantly white cliff/Rocche of Castiglione, it hums with Chambolle-esque raspberry fruit, exquisite freshness, aromas, so cleansing, so calcareo, white stone purezza & poise, essence…

2013 Barolo Rocche di Castiglione, Castiglione Falletto – another great vineyard, owned by the TdB & lying at the plot’s southern end, perched above Roagna’s Pira estate on pure calc cliffs, whose tapered end lies on the border with Monforte. Brilliant perfumed, raspberry/rose water/ethereal purity. 2.7k bts

2015 Barolo Vignarionda, Serralunga d’Alba – courtesy of Pier-Angelo Ferretti’s pretty small plot just below the Vignarionda shoulder at c.330m asl, facing full south, located above Massolino but below Figli Luigi Oddero, replanted in 2003. Vinified in one 500litre & two 700litre tonneaux due to the tight quantity available. Yet despite the small wood, the wine remains unfazed & composed: notable for its pale red/orange hue, there’s perfect pitch on the nose, with a mass of tightly red (currant), iron, talc rich fruit packed together as one. It’s very moreish in 2015, juicy even, flowing with orange skin, lots of stoffa/material, yet finely woven. Very tidy if difficult to read so young. 3.3k bts.

2014 Barolo Vignarionda, Serralunga d’Alba – tasted from bottle in July & Sept ’17, & then in Jan’18; one careful owner, Signor Ferretti, replanted diligently in 2003, on the shoulder of this prodigious vineyard – below Giovanni Rosso but above Massolino – aged in two 500 litre & one 700 litre Gamba tonneaux; complete even from young vines, yet explosive, racy, tobacco/blood orange, so fine, one can almost sense the layers of limestone & sand, laced with notes of iron, fennel, so fluid, salty ribes rosso, light of foot…

2013 Barolo Vignarionda, Serralunga d’Alba – arguably Serralunga’s finest, a perfectly situated spur facing pure south on grey marne, iron, sandy calc soils, this comes from a single plot (3.4k bts) that lies on the shoulder of the vineyard, recently planted in 2003, & catching the best of the light & breezes. Formidable but with lifted ethereal beauty with time in the glass, allied to Castiglione Falletto & also to Monforte.