(Barolo pronunciation: Bah-ROH-loh)
Barolo is considered the “King of Italian Wines,” for its high classification, specific production methods, and astounding quality. The Barolo red wine originated in the northwestern part of the Piedmont region called Langhe, which can be divided into two parts, the Serralunga Valley and the Central Valley. The sandy soils found in the Serralunga Valley create a powerful wine that requires a longer aging period. Barolo red wine produced in the Central Valley contains softer and fruitier notes. Barolo, Italy itself is a tiny village in the Cuneo province with only around 750 people populating the area.
Since a Barolo grape does not exist, Barolo wine is created from the Nebbiolo grape, a small, thin skinned red grape variety. The wine produced is dry, rich, and full-bodied, with a strong presence of acidity and tannins. Barolo red wine exhibits a light garnet, or brick orange pigment, and essences of rose, dried herbs, and tar. Its color is rather deceiving for the pale red wine delivers quite a punch to the taste buds. Barolo wine features tasting notes of rose petal, cherry, raspberry, cinnamon, white pepper, and leather and tar with age.
Some confuse Barolo and Barbaresco, so here is the difference. Barolo and Barbaresco are from the same region of Piedmont and are made from the same Nebbiolo grape, however, the different distinct regions they are produced in within Piedmont, and how long the wine is aged delivers different flavors. In Barbaresco, Nebbiolo ripens a bit quicker, so the wine doesn’t have to age as long and can be drunk younger than Barolo. The younger soils of Barbaresco contribute to the lighter taste of the wine in comparison to the bold Barolo.
Any bottle of Barolo must be composed of 100 percent Nebbiolo grapes and aged at least three years, two in oak and one in the bottle before being sold. To be labeled “Riserva,” the wine must be aged at least five years, three in oak and two in the bottle before being sold. Both versions of the wine, standard and Riserva, must have a minimum of 13 percent alcohol content.
Although owning the title, Barolo the king of wines, it can be enjoyed on more than just special occasions and is rather affordable considering its royal nickname. The wine pairs wonderfully with dried meats and cheeses making charcuterie a great option, but can also pair well with hearty steaks, risottos, and barbecued dishes.
True to the style and aging ability of the wine, we were lucky enough to get ahold of one of the best Barolo wines we could find, which was awarded a fantastic 95 Points! It was a feature in our high-end, exclusive Diamond Wine Club - showcasing the top level, rare wines that are like perfection in a glass!