User:Murgh/Azienda Agricola Altare

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Azienda Agricola Altare, fully named Azienda Agricola Cascina Nuova Elio Altare, or often simply Elio Altare, is an Italian wine producer from the Piemonte region in the district of Langhe situated in the commune of La Morra, who produces a number of Barolo wines, as well as Barbera and Dolcetto wines.

Elio Altare is considered the father of the Modernist movement in Barolo and the most influential voice of that school.[1][2]


The estate was bought and founded in 1948 by Giuseppe Altare as Cascina Nuova, and practiced mixed farming.[1] With a vineyard area of 5 hectares (12 acres), there was also cultivated apples, pears, peaches and cereals.[3] Succeeded by the son Giovanni Altare, the production continued in a primitive fashion, with oxen utilised to plough the soil until 1971. Gradually there was an turn to of farming with the use of various chemical products such as pesticides and artificial fertilizer, with an aim to lower costs and facilitate tasks while increasing growth and reducing disease.[3] With the economic difficulties at the time in Piedmont, the need to produce in greater quantities was greater than that of improved quality.

Elio Altare[edit]

Having participated with the vinification at an early age, Elio Altare was on a path to succeed his father during the 1970s. Convinced of his observation that the fruit trees of the property were dying, Elio Altare had the soil analysed in 1976, confirming his therory that the soil was no longer alive.[3]

Altare and other young Piemonte growers including Alfredo Roagna visited Burgundy in 1976, observing viticultural and vinification methods.[1][2] Upon his return, Altare became seriously ill, poisoned by the toxins used in chemical farming. On his physician's advice and inspired by Angelo Gaja, Altare decided to make drastic changes to the the estate's practices. As Giovanni Altare was in disagreement with this decision, Elio Altare took a saw to cut down all the estate's poisoned peach trees and cut to pieces the large old botti barrels of the cellars. This was followed by initiating several practices set to improve the quality of the grapes. As a result of the conflict, Giovanni Altare deemed his son unworthy of succession and disinherited him, leaving the estate to his two daughters.[3]

Elio Altare was eventually able to buy the property from his sisters who were disinterested in producing wine, and continue the restructuring of the estate with focus on extreme yield reduction, minimising all chemical use and other hygienic measures. The first vintage under Elio Altare's name was that of 1981.[3] Altare is credited with, in the 1980s, going against the traditional wisdom that held that the longer a wine is soaked on the skins the better it must be, and instead maintained that the opposite was true, bringing fruit and fragrance to Barolo.[4]

Decanter rates Azienda Agricola Altare among Italy's of Second Growths.[4]

With Domenico Clerico, Luciano Sandrone and Enrico Scavino joined to solve problems of improving the quality of their Barolos.[5]

Altare lost his entire 1997 vintage of 27,000 bottles to tainted corks.[6][7][8]

The daughters Elena and Silvia Altare have succeeded Elio Altare in running the estate.[3][9]


The Altare estate consists of 5 hectares (12 acres) of own vineyard area in addition to 5 ha of rented land. The grape variety distribution is 40% Nebbiolo, 30% Dolcetto, 25% Barbera and 5% Cabernet Sauvingon.

Uses new French oak with Barbera and Nebbiolo.[10] The production is approximately 70,000 bottles annually.[3]

Altare produces also a white wine and a sweet wine in the Cinque Terre, Liguria.

  • Dolcetto d’Alba DOC
  • Barbera d’Alba DOC
  • Barolo DOCG
  • Barolo DOCG Vigneto Arborina
  • Barolo DOCG Brunate
  • Langhe Rosso DOC Arborina
  • Langhe Rosso DOC Larigi
  • Langhe Rosso DOC La Villa
  • Vino Rosso da Tavola L’Insieme

a blend of six grapes.[9]

  • Cinqueterre Campogrande DOC
  • Cinqueterre Sciacchetrà DOC


  1. ^ a b c Belfrage, Nicolas (1999). Barolo to Valpolicella, The Wines of Northern Italy. New York: Faber & Faber. p. 65. ISBN 0517178529 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help). 
  2. ^ a b O'Keefe, Kerin, The Wine News (October/November 2008). Safeguarding Barolo
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Samuelsen, Ann J. (November 2010). "En stor barolopersonlighet". Apéritif (in Norwegian) (8): 22–28. ISSN 0805-6218. 
  4. ^ a b Baudains, Richard, (March 13, 2007). Italy's Classed Growths
  5. ^ Cooke, Jo, Wine Spectator (December 5, 2002). Barolo's New Generation
  6. ^ Joseph, Robert, (January 30, 2009). Which cork is best?
  7. ^ Hall, Allan, London Evening Standard (July 31, 2001). Goodbye to corked wine?
  8. ^ Wine Spectator (June 15, 2001). Cork Taint Ruins Almost All of Elio Altare's 1997 Barolos
  9. ^ a b Vora, Shivani, Wall Street Journal (January 29, 2010). Gastronomy Without Guilt
  10. ^ Rose, Anthony, The Independent (February 6, 1993). A powerful king with a bad reputation in Britain

External links[edit]