Why Should I Drink It
The wines of Barolo are structured and firm, refined and classy, elegant and elite- though not always necessarily a bank breaker. While some of the higher end riservas and prestige cuvees can cost a pretty penny, wines from Barolo can actually be quite affordable. Discovering all that Barolo has to offer is not only a change-up from your ordinary weeknight red, but a headfirst dive into the culture of Piedmont, a journey into the terroir of the foggy northwest. Rather than your usual picks from La Belle France, consider a sultry Barolo for your next housewarming gift, special occasion, holiday dinner, or casual wine and cheese night.
This article is brought to you by Barolo Week, sponsored by Fontanafredda, an iconic Barolo producer founded by the first king of Italy.
Core Grapes & Wines
Why Should You Drink Barolo Wine
Barolo is one of the most prestigious, age-worthy, and collectible wines in the world. Like so many of the greats, Barolo is a fascinating expression of a particular place as experienced through the lens of a consistent grape variety. In that regard, there are many compelling similarities between Barolo and Burgundy, the latter of which is a highly demarcated region where minute differences in terroir and micro-climate affect the character of the Pinot Noir that grows there.
The history of Barolo goes back hundreds of years. According to most sources, Nebbiolo’s roots track back to the 1200s, but Barolo, as we are familiar with it these days, is quite a bit younger, only stretching to the middle of the 19th century. Regardless, it is widely agreed to be one of the most important red wines in the world.
When it comes to pairing Barolo with food, there is no more classic combination than savoring the wine alongside a simple dish of pasta with shaved white truffles on top. During truffle season in Piedmont, which tends to run from October to December each year, establishments all over Piedmont feature this quintessential combination. If you don’t have access to fresh white truffles, then truffle oil or truffle salt will work well, too. Sottocenere cheese, which is flecked with pieces of black truffle, is a delicious accompaniment to Barolo. The wine also pairs well with beef and veal, game meats, mushrooms across the spectrum, and even a straightforward platter of cured meats.
Barolo Marcenasco 2018 Renato Ratti
Description: The nose is slender, with a well-defined fruit combined with sensations of rose and violet potpourri and nuances of wild mint and licorice. On the palate it is juicy, rich, with a warm and soft finish with long balsamic echoes.
A winery that never ceases to amaze enthusiasts.
A sensational interpretation, with an intriguing multifaceted bouquet, a prelude to a vibrant sip. Fully among the best Barolo wines.
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How Much Should A Good Barolo Wine Cost
A review of a hundred Barolos
Recently I analysed over a hundred Barolos on sale in the UK, and wrote the article What is the right price for Barolo? With bottles costing anywhere from £16 to £260 and upwards, its a really broad range. For me the main question is, at what price will you get a high-quality wine that will give you the experience that you expect from such a legendary name?
Whichever way you look at it, youre going to struggle to find a bottle for a tenner. The price of Barolo is very much based on the following: the quality of the wine, and whether the vineyard consistently produces good wine, year after year. Such vineyards will be able to command higher prices. And finally, the merchants marketing ambition.
The three tiers of Barolo
From cheapest to most expensive, there are three tiers of Barolo wine:
- High-volume supermarket Barolo produced by farmer cooperatives £16-20
- Solid quality, small-volume Barolo produced by family vineyards £30-50
- High-end connoisseur Barolo £75-220
Having spoken to Barolo winemakers in Italy, I personally believe that the solid quality Barolo from family vineyards offers the best value for money. You can definitely find excellent wines between the £30 and £75 price point. If you want to learn more about the prices of Barolo read what is the right price for Barolo?
Communes And Cru Vineyards In Barolo Docg
The Barolo production area is subdivided into 11 villages, or communes : Barolo, La Morra, Monforte dAlba, Serralunga dAlba, Castiglione Falletto, Novello, Grinzane Cavour, Verduno, Diano dAlba, Cherasco and Roddi.
The five communes of La Morra, Monforte dAlba, Serralunga dAlba, Barolo and Castiglione Falletto are thought to produce the highest quality Barolo wines.
In each commune, there is a small number of crus. These are the most prestigious vineyards which are known to produce grapes of the highest quality. The word cru is used to remind buyers of the grand French wines.
Barolo from each commune has its own unique taste and character. This is because of the differences in soil type, the presence natural springs, and the altitude of the hills. For a quick comparison, well look at some of the Barolo wines in our collection:
- Demarie Barolo is the most elegant. It comes from the cru vineyard Santa Maria in the commune of La Morra. This commune is known for wines that are elegant, less tannic, and rich in red fruit and floral flavours.
- ForteMasso Barolo is the most tannic, powerful and deep. It comes from the Castelletto cru in Monforte dAlba: a commune known for its powerful, tannic wines.
- Francone Barolo is a blend of the most elegant and the most powerful styles. Its made from grapes grown in the Santa Maria cru in La Morra , and Ravera di Monforte in Monforte dAlba .
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How Is Barolo Wine Made
Barolo wine is made from the Nebbiolo grape. The Nebbiolo grape is a native grape of the Piedmont region, and it is known for its thin grape skins that produce high tannic wines with high acidity.
The extended fermentation time contributes to the wines rich, full-bodied taste.
Also the aging of Barolo in oak barrels, helps to develop and mature the complex flavors.
Barolo Docg: The Wine Laws Of Barolo
DOCG stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita. It is the highest classification of wine under Italian law, sitting above DOC . This means wine makers need to follow strict quality control procedures just to use the name.
The rules for growing, harvesting, ageing and bottling of Barolo are defined in a statute called Disciplinare di produzione. It is registered with the Italian Ministry of Agricultural Policy, and is often referred to as the Barolo wine law.
Quality of DOCG wines is guaranteed by a government-licensed agency VALORITALIA S.r.l. that certifies each batch of wine. Each guaranteed bottle is labelled with a numbered governmental seal across the neck of the bottle, to prevent fraud.
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Making Barolo Wines For Dummies
The first step in the Italian winemaking process is harvesting, which takes place in mid to late October. Without the Nebbiolo grape, there would be no wine for the Barolo producers in the wine regions Monforte d alba and Serralunga valley
After crushing and breaking the grape berries, the juice, pulp, and seeds is allowed to flow with the skin and stems of the fruit. Pressing the freshly picked Nebbiolo grapes is commonly the next logical step in the wine production process that separates the juice from the solids.
Fermentation is the magic at play in the making of Barolo red wine. The fermenting occurs naturally together with the grape skins, with the aid of wild yeasts, which give the wine its red color .
The final stage of the Barolo red Italian wines making process involves the waiting and aging, and finally bottling of the wine. During the process bottling goes through multiple operations: pumping, filtration, filling, and corking.
Where Nebbiolo Is Grown
Nebbiolo only shows its best character in a few areas, and these are mainly in northern Italy. Unlike French grapes, such as Merlot and Chardonnay, Nebbiolo has only found success in a few other places in the world.
It is generally accepted that the best Nebbiolo wines come from the Langhe hills in Central Piemonte, from two denominations: Barolo and Barbaresco. Additionally, there are a number of areas across northern Italy historically known for excellent Nebbiolo wines.
In Central Piemonte, the hills of Roero have younger sandier soil. This leads to more approachable, less tannic Nebbiolo wines when compared to Barolo and Barbaresco.
In the middle ages, the were the source of the best Nebbiolo wines. Here, Nebbiolo is called Spanna. The Gattinara denomination was the most famous supplier to the court of The Holy Roman Emperor. Other historic denominations of Novarra and Vercelli include Ghemme, Boca, and Bramaterra.
Carema DOC in north-west Piemonte produces mountain wine vino di montagna from Nebbiolo planted on Monte Maletto at 300-700 m. Piemontes northernmost denomination for Nebbiolo is Valli Ossolane DOC, in the Alps northwest of Lago Maggiore. Here, Nebbiolo is known as Prunent.
Nebbiolo vineyards in Valtellina heroic viticulture
In the rest of the world, Nebbiolo grows in the Guadalupe Valley in Mexico, and in a few regions of Australia.
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The Main Barolo Wineries To Visit:
There are around 23 wine cellars and producers and 7 shops to visit in Barolo, where you can buy and taste Barolo wine directly from the producer. Most of those cellars are open to the public and can be visited during the Barolo Wine Tours or the Barolo Grand Tour from Milan.
Barolo Wines : Key Points
A prestigious appellation located in Piedmont, Italy, Barolo is the birthplace of exceptional wines. This appellation covers an area of 1,500 hectares spread over 11 municipalities, including the renowned Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d’Alba, La Morra and Monforte d´Alba.
Classified a DOCG – the highest hierarchical level in the classification of Italian wines – the Barolo appellation is renowned for its powerful and complex red wines.
Barolo is made from the Nebbiolo grape, which takes its name from the morning fog truly emblematic of the Piedmont region. Barolo wines are truly excellent, distinguished by their very pale color, which evolves a garnet hue over time. The nose is complex, offering notes of ripe berries, cherry, tobacco, as well as the grape varietys tell-tale aromas of red roses and tar. On the palate, Barolo wines are powerful, structured by very fine tannins and a lively acidity. Sometimes quite austere in their youth, Barolo wines are, by definition, wines with exceptional potential for age.
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What Are The Communes Of Barolo
Barolo wine is made in 11 different communes of the Piedmont region. Each region has its own unique climate and soil, which gives Barolo wine its distinct flavor.
The eastern communes sandy soils produce more concentrated wines that need longer aging than the Central Valley communes , which are known for fruitier, softer expressions of the region.
What Does Barolo Taste Like
In its youth, Barolo boasts brambly berries and cherries that are framed by mouthwatering acidity and assertive yet not generally thick tannins. There is often a hint of flowers peeking through, as well as something more savory: All indications of delicious things to come. Spice notes and tobacco are also commonly experienced. With age, however, mature Barolo emerges with notes of tar, roses, mushrooms like truffles and porcini, and fruit in the cherry and mountain-berry family.
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Barolo Bussia Riserva 2015 Livia Fontana
Description: Galvanizes the nose with a kaleidoscope of scents ranging from intense hints of ripe berries, plum allusions embellished with humus, camphor and pine resin.
On the palate it has a very thick and silky tannic texture which is counterbalanced by an important acid shoulder that gives it freshness and drinkability. Voluminous and harmonious finish, of extraordinary persistence.
A wine with an enthralling and expansive sip that maximizes the eloquent and elegant character of Nebbiolo. Imaginative and exciting, fully qualified among the best Barolo wines for taste-olfactory finesse.
The Barolo Wine Producers
The care of the vineyards and particular production processes make this wine unique.The producers are in small numbers, but there are many wine bars in Barolo where it is possible to taste and buy Barolo wine. The town of Barolo is a small village perched on the Langhe hills famous for the castle that stands out in the center of the town. Among the streets of the center of Barolo, there are really many wine shops and wine shops where to make Barolo wine tasting experience. In addition to wine shops and wine shops, there are many wine cellars that produce hundreds of bottles of fine Barolo wine every year. In this article, you will find the best Wineries and Winemakers of Barolo and Barbaresco.
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More About Docg Barolo
Considered to be one of the best in the world, Barolo is one of the most exclusive wines on earth. But to be the king of wines, the wine of kings, it has to meet three criteria: it must be made in the exceptional Langhe hills area in Piedmont, using the best Nebbiolo grapes and it must age and refine for a long time.
The qualities of Barolo wines were recognised as early as 1807 when the French noblewoman Juliette Colbert de Maulévrier married the Marquis of Barolo, Carlo Tancredi Falletti. When she settled in her husbands municipality, she discovered the great potential of the wines made there and began production in her vineyards with the aim of making it an ambassador for Piedmont across Europe.
Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita since 1980, Barolo covers an area of 11 municipalities located in the Langhe hills in Piedmont: Barolo, La Morra, Monforte, Serralunga, Castiglione Falletto, Verduno, Novello, Cherasco, Diano, Roddi and Grinzane Cavour. A total of 1,190 hectares divided into small vineyard plots where the soil, altitude, exposure and microclimate change over just 30 metres and provide enormous diversity in the wines.
Barolo wine is made by fermenting the best Nebbiolo grapes.
Climate, soils and varieties.
Classification of DOCG Barolo sub-regions.
Tradition versus innovation.
Wines and Wineries .
Situation of DOCG Barolo
Barolo Brunate 2017 Roberto Voerzio
Description: It is articulated on the nose with penetrating notes of wild raspberry and red plums, followed by succession of coffee powder, dark cocoa and candied orange peel.
The sip is expansive and enveloping, the tannic texture is compact with excellent progression and evolves towards a finish of good persistence embellished with balsamic echoes
Undisputed protagonist in the history of the Langhe: titanic, exciting and sensational persistence. Without any doubt among the best producers of Barolo.
Also of great interest are the Barolo crus from Serra, Cerequio, Sarmassa, Fossati and Case Nere.
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Which Are The Best Barolo Wineries To Visit
Barolo wine is one of the best wine produced in Langhe, a UNESCO heritage site.The uniqueness of this wine is that it is produced exclusively in 11 communes of the Langhe.In reality, it is not allowed to other countries and cities, other than the only authorized one. Barolo wine is produced from the collection of Nebbiolo grapes grown in authorized countries.
Why Vintage Matters
The vintage the year the grapes are grown can have a huge influence on the flavour and structure of a wine. This is because weather has a massive impact on the way that grapes develop. But the key to understanding the ultimate quality of a Barolo comes from looking at a combination of weather, soil, and timing.
With Barolo, its dangerous to jump to conclusions like rains will result in berries becoming waterlogged, or that dry periods cause water stress. While it may be true for other wines, for Barolo we need to consider other things as well. For example what soil is that particular vineyard planted on? How does that soil react to the weather? And was the season early, late or closer to the optimal time?
Below, Ive summarised Barolo DOCGs weather patterns from the years 2000 to 2016 as well as the overall timing of the season based on reports from the Consorzio. When you assess the quality of a particular Barolo, do please read them together with the soil reports. Resulting wines made a few hundred yards away may show a different character, even in the same year.
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How Barolo Is Made
Barolo wines can only be made in 11 communes in Piedmont’s Langhe region, of which the most prestigious are Barolo, La Morra, Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d’Alba, and Monforte d’Alba. Nebbiolo is usually one of the first varieties to undergo bubreak and needs a long growing season to fully ripen so the harvest usually takes place in late October. All Barolo wines must be aged for 18 months in wooden barrels, with a mandatory total ageing period of at least 38 months.
Barolo Ravera 2016 Abrigo Fratelli
Description: The nose is refined and complex, outlining intense hints of wild berries in alcohol, allusions of plum, dates, sweet spices and tobacco and ethereal notes.
On the palate it is enveloping with a very thick but extraordinarily silky tannic texture linked synergistically to an important acidic shoulder that gives it freshness.
A voluminous and harmonious wine with a sensational balsamic persistence. Deservedly among the best Barolo wines.
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