Traditional vs. Modern Barolo / Barbaresco

I believe the designation for Raineri should be modified to reflect that their cru from Perno is traditional or lean traditional. From the winery: “Fermentation and maceration last about three weeks at controlled temperature (30°-31°C; 86°-88°F) in vertical stainless steel vat. About two months of malolactic fermentation followed by 24 months aging in large casks. No filtration, no fining” I have drunk their 2015 and 2016 wines from Perno and they are excellent and classically made to my taste. Unfortunately, they are still using barrique for their Castelletto, Monserra and their normale.

Thank you Jeff. I have updated the OP.

1 Like

Responding to this old query…

As I recall, for the modernists, the point of the rotofermenters was to extract flavors while minimizing extraction of tannin relative to other components. Extended macerations would defeat the point of rotofermenters. It seems that might accentuate nebbiolos very strong tannins. (Hence the Cavallotto’s very judicious use of them for their barolos.)

1 Like

Thank you!

Rotofermenters = more extraction/less tannin?
Extended maceration = get more natural extraction, but more tannin?
Cavallotto = judicious use of which?

1 Like

Someone else will know the details better, I’m sure, but the point of rotofermenters was lower the ratio of tannins to other things drawn/extracted from the grapes. By turning the crushed grapes constantly for 5-10 days, supposedly you’d get fruit and other flavors with a lower ratio of tannins.

The short macerations with rotofermenters affect the wine in other ways, as I understand it. Alcoholic fermentation can take up to a week, so, with a short maceration, the level of alcohol is lower for much of the time the skins and seeds are in the juice. By contrast, if you leave the juice on the skins for three or four weeks, with 13-15% alcohol, there is more time for the alcohol to extract elements that aren’t soluble (or not very) in pure water. An Italian friend in the trade (Luca Mazzoleni, who some people here know), told me once that there is research showing that the short macerations, while reducing tannins, also end up extracting fewer aroma and aroma precursor compounds.

Bottom line: a 21- or 30-day maceration yields quite different wine from one soaked for only 5-10 days with constant stirring in the rotofermenter.

If the Cavallottos are just turning their rotofermenters once a day, that sounds like just a gentle, automated punchdown, with little relation to using rotofermenters running continuously for five or seven or ten days.

FYI, I think you may be confusing the term “extracted” as applied to finished wines (dense on the palate, typically dark, often with a fair deal of tannin) with the winemaking process of extraction. All winemaking involves extraction. It’s “the drawing out of flavour, tannin and colour from grape skins before, during and after the fermentation process. The goal is to extract just enough but not too much.” (Decanter)

What’s at issue here is the method or extraction and the mix of things extracted from the skins and seeds and any stems, not just a difference in degree of extraction on one simple scale.


You’ve captured my understanding on rotofermenters quite well. I have heard that Sandrone uses them in a manner quite similar to Cavallotto and has been doing so for many years.

Gianfranco Bovio should be on the traditionalist list. Great resource here!

Pat, we will need to add Cesare Bussolo to the list. He makes a cru Barolo from Fossati in La Morra plus a normale from La Morra grapes ( I think from a portion of La Serra that he recently replanted). I don’t know where to slot him in the hierarchy, but based upon my tasting of his Barbera and his work with Roberto Voerzio since 2007, he will probably match to where you have Voerzio.

1 Like

I reviewed Bovio and moved it to Traditional with a note that two of the wines see shorter macxeration times


Yes, he does seem to straddle the fence a bit. The normale and Rocchettevino bottling appear to have pretty short fermentation/macerations – 10 days plus an unspecified “short” additional maceration. The other bottlings appear to be fully traditional.

I think 20 years ago he was using barriques. But there’s been a lot of pulling back on that, and it’s likely a new generation at the helm.

I would be interested in the feedback of those following this thread on the ranking of Paitin in Neive as “median.” I have thought of their wines, which I really enjoy, as being traditionally made. I checked their website and see that they employ slow fermentation of about a month and age their wines in botti using Slavonian and Austrian oak. Any reason that I am not aware to classify them as anything other than traditional?

Paitin’s website has undergone a considerable renovation since I last checked it. At the time I remember that I could not determine whether the barrels were actually botti or not. Now that they describe their elevage more clearly, I will move Paitin to traditional.

Thanks Pat! And thanks again for your great work on this. I refer to it frequently!

Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I’m glad you find it helpful.

1 Like

Like many producers, they experimented with new French barrels in the '90s and early '00s. When I visited them in 2006, they still had some barriques (I don’t think any were newer than 3 years IIRC?) but weren’t buying more and were in the process of going back to more traditional vinification methods.

1 Like


I think it is time to move Azelia from Modernist to Formerly Modernist now Traditional. I visited with Lorenzo Scavino last Thursday and tasted through their 2017 vintage (along with their 2010 Riserva from Bricco Voghera). All cru Barolo (not just Margheria and Bricco Voghera) are aged in botti and all of them are fermented for 55-60 days. The quality of the 2017 vintage is exceptional, particularly in view of the extremely dry season, owing to the age of their vines.

Jeff, thanks for this information. I have updated the list.

Thanks Pat. And I should not ascribe the success of the 2017 vintage solely to the age of the Azelia vines. Luigi Scavino and his son, Lorenzo, are dogged perfectionists, particularly in the vineyard. Luigi, himself, prunes Bricco Voghera each winter. It is about 3500 vines and literally takes him all winter to finish.

Thanks for the info. For what it’s worth, I think Paitin stopped working with De Grazia at some point in the mid-2000s.