Barolo is single-handedly; the most lusted over, the most thought provoking, the most age-worthy, and the most delicate of all of Italy's great wines.
Barolo is a sub-region of the larger Piemonte region in Italy's northwestern corner. Where fog dwells in the grandeous mountain ranges of the Langhe - which looks like the long-lost viticultural region of Middle Earth (Lord of the Rings reference...). Some of you may have heard of the wines of Barbaresco which is the opposing hill on Barolo's shoulder. Nebbiolo is the red-grape king that rules over these parts and it really is looked upon as royalty. A very common phrase used in the wine world when describing Nebbiolo is: "the wine of Kings, and the King of wines"! Says it all, really.
So why do people go nutty for Barolo? Well, it is a bit like those who swear by the two French regions of Burgundy or Bordeaux. There is regional loyalty for those regions where they will only drink wines from their region. As if it was some sort of religious experience and dabbling in wines from another region is frowned upon... Barolo on the other hand is seen as the pinnacle of red winemaking, often seen as the Everest that is upon to all not exclusive to those with large enough wallets. The best part about Barolo, and Barbaresco for that matter, is that unlike in the great regions of Burgundy and Bordeaux, the best wines still have prices that reflect the quality of the bottle - not some sort of over-inflated pricing scheme created to be accessible to the elite. You can get access the absolute cracking bottles of Barolo from the very top producers for $100-200. In Bordeaux or Burgundy you start off around $500 and go up to about $3,000.
What makes Barolo wines so brilliant? There is a multitude of ways one can answer this question but it really comes down to the viticultural brilliance of the grape of Nebbiolo. Nebbiolo is one of the most delicate red grapes in the wine world and can be very difficult to grow to perfect (phenological) ripeness. Centuries have proven that it does do particularly well in Piemonte - especially in Barolo - where it gets its skins just ripe enough and still posses enough acidity. This makes wines with high acidity and tannins, which in all honesty in their youth they can be a tad overwhelming and it takes some serious getting used to tasting sessions to get your head around them. However, give a bottle of Barolo 8-15 years and will start to understand what Mozart's greatest symphonies would taste like. They posses a score of aromatics and flavours unseen in many red wines; namely - dried red fruits, fresh black fruits, candied and dried red rose petals, a pantry full of dried and cooked herbs, and then a scope of liquorice and baking spice flavours. A good bottle of Barolo will make you a very happy person. It will show you just how wonderful wine can be. It will make you understand why people in the wine trade are in the wine trade!
We have a decent range of Nebbiolo wines to try out that range from $30 up to $150. Click here to be taken to our range of Nebbiolo wines!
PS - I'd like to point out the most fantastic vinous experience you could ever have. Thanks to one of Barolo's greatest producers: Borgogno, we have got a very fine vertical collection of their Barolo Riservas. This compromises three of the best vintages in recent past: 1998, 2003, and 2006. It weighs in at $450 - but you are getting the opportunity to taste Barolo at its absolute best and see how it can develop over two decades, plus it is coming direct from the greatest Barolo producer ever!