After being alienated from his father's winery, Elio Altare took a trip in the 1970Â’s to France, where he discovered an entirely new way of thinking in regards to wine. He traveled to Burgundy where he saw shorter fermentation times, and realized the importance that was placed on the soil and in the vineyard. For the first time he witnessed a green harvests and drew tremendous inspiration from the Burgundians. These ideas were a far cry from the traditional methods that Altare had been taught by his father Giovanni.
Since 1985, Elio Altare has worked hard to revolutionize the wine industry in Piedmont, a testament to which he is largely responsible for. Rotary fermenters, short fermentations in stainless steel followed by micro-oxygenation and aging the wines sur lie in small oak barriques are just a few of the daring innovations that Altare has brought to Barolo. Other techniques such as using only indigenous yeasts and allowing malolactic fermentation to occur naturally may not be quite so uncommon, but they certainly speak volumes about their commitment to quality. All of the wines of Altare are bottled without fining or filtration.
The success of Elio Altare rolls on, as each year the wines are celebrated by the prestigious Gambero Rosso as some of the best in all of Italy. While not everyone agrees with AltareÂ’s approach to winemaking, no one can argue with the results. In the years since he first drew inspiration from a trip to Burgundy in which he slept in his car to save money, Altare has shifted from the role of young rogue to learned master, and spends his time now sharing his secrets with some of the best and brightest in Barolo.
Elio Altare was the Winegeeks.com Producer of the Month in August, 2006.