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Renato Molino, La Morra (Barolo)

Located in Annunziata, a tiny hamlet near the historic commune of La Morra, Renato Molino is one of the few truly “old school” Barolo winemakers remaining in Piedmont.

The cantina was founded by Renato’s grandfather Luigi, who bought the estate back in 1926. Nearly 100 years on and not much has changed. Renato, his wife Maddalena and their four daughters Chiara, Grazia, Lucia and Olimpia follow the same winemaking traditions as their ancestors with meticulous care of the vineyards and minimal intervention in the cellar.

Renato owns around 3.8 hectares in total with parcels in the following vineyards:

Rocche dell’Annunziata (La Morra) – 50-year-old vines, prime parcel with southern exposure
Annunziata (La Morra) - 26-year-old vines with a south-eastern exposure
Boiolo (La Morra) - 24-year-old vines with a south-eastern exposure
Villero (Castiglione Falletto) - 30-year-old vines, prime parcel immediately above Giuseppe Mascarello's holdings with a south-western exposure

Integrated viticulture is practised with only copper and sulphur used to protect the vines. Cover crops and green manures are applied every 3-4 years and the Molino family constantly thin the clusters between May and July each year. A balanced green harvest is conducted throughout each growing season with pre-harvest undertaken usually a week before harvest to remove any unwanted clusters. Harvest itself is slow and steady to keep the grapes intact. Yields vary from year to year but 50/60 hectolitres per hectare were produced in the 2015 and 2016 vintages.

Work in the cellar is traditional and based on outright necessity, carefully navigated by Renato using the finely honed skills and experience passed onto him from his father and grandfather before him. Further manual selection of the grapes takes place before crushing commences within a few hours of harvest to avoid early fermentation. Slow and gentle natural fermentation without temperature control occurs in concrete or stainless-steel vats. This fermentation technique reduces the colour intensity of the wine and gives extra perfumes and aroma complexity. Pump over is entirely manual and that means Renato wakes throughout the night during vinification to support the remontage process! Malolactic fermentation is spontaneous. 10-40hl Slavonian oak 'botti' are used for ageing. The botte are handmade by Bruno Arcaro, who is a third-generation artisan barrel maker from Vicenza and one of the very few traditional botti specialists still practising in Italy today. Bruno regularly cleans, maintains and restores Renato's used barrels. Total time in oak varies from year to year based on Renato's extensive sampling and judgement. Both 2016 Barolo wines received approximately 40 months in wood which is not uncommon at this cantina. Renato then transfers the juice to stainless steel to rest prior to bottling. Renato's wines go through several laboratory tests during vinification, ageing and again before bottling (2/3 tests per step).

The family produce a small quantity of two Barolo wines. The 'straight' Barolo is made with select grapes from all their holdings including their Villero parcel although Renato says that he will consider vinifying a separate Villero Cru for us in the future!! From the choice selection of grapes from their 50 years old vines in Rocche dell’Annunziata, Renato crafts a stunning single Grand Cru Barolo. The family also make a young and vibrant Nebbiolo-based Vino Rosso called Spluva.

Renato’s wines are ethereal and elegant typified by their delicacy and unadulterated expression of terroir. The total production is approximately 7,000 bottles, but this varies depending on the vintage.

Approximate total production:

3,700 bottles - Barolo
1,900 bottles - Barolo Rocche dell'Annunziata
1,000 bottles - Nebbiolo Spluva

Ultravino is the UK exclusive importer

Wines:

Barolo Docg

Barolo Docg, Rocche dell’Annunziata

Spluva Vino Rosso