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Renato Ratti

Renato Ratti studied oenology at Alba and then went off to Brazil to work for Cinzano of Sao Paolo, producing vermouths and sparkling wines. In 1965 he returned to Piedmont and acquired his first vineyard in Barolo, in the historical zone of Marcenasco beneath the Abbey of the Annunziata in La Morra. Here the friars of the abbey cultivated vineyards and produced wine in the 15th century, but the first reference of Nebbiolo wine being made in the area dates to the 12th century, long before the abbey was built. In 1969 Renato's nephew Massimo Martinelli joined the business and together they perfected an innovative fermentation and maturation technique for their Marcenasco Barolo. This involved shortening fermentation and maceration periods and reducing oak barrel ageing to two years, and bottle-refining the wines to achieve elegance, refinement and longevity. Additional vineyards were acquired in the 1970's in Marcenasco, and the crus of Conca and Rocche in and around La Morra. They also restored the Colombè vineyards at Mango, as well as the family estate vineyards at Villa Pattono at Costigliole d'Asti in the province of Asti. The jewel in their crown was transforming the old Abbey of the Annunziata into the Ratti Wines of Alba Museum. Renato became a first-rate oenologist, writer, historian and educator. From the middle of the 1970's to the end of the 80's he was instrumental in the development of the Piedmont wine region, elected as the President of the Barolo Consortium and the General Manager of the Asti Consortium. Renato directly participated in the drafting of the rules and regulations governing the appellation of Alba wines and the prized DOCG label. Renato also wrote numerous books about the wines of Piedmont and Italy and completed painstaking research to write a guide to Barolo vintages and a guide about the historical Barolo and Barbaresco subzones. He was indeed right at the heart of the movement that eventually brought the wines of Piedmont to an international audience. Following Renato's untimely death in 1988 aged just 54, his son Pietro, also a graduate of oenology from Alba, took over the business continuing the expansion and restoration of vineyards and furthering the ongoing research. Today 35 hectares are under vine in six sites in La Morra, Mango and Castiglione d'Asti. The grape varieties cultivated, microclimates and soils vary, but the end result is the same: farming with respect for the environment to produce the best grapes possible. At Renato Ratti the winemaking is respectful of tradition but innovative, crafted in their stunning modern gravity-fed winery constructed in 2002 and built into the hillside over five floors with a vegetation-covered “green” roof. The wines are of incomparable quality, complex and fascinating, made with the passion passed on to Pietro by his father – the legendary Renato Ratti.