Barolo Wine

produced from nebbiolo grapes in Piedmont, Italy.

Barolo wines were an astonishing experience for me the first time I drank them in 1978. Within days of one another, I tried a Fontanafredda 1969, another Fontanafredda only five years old, a Poderi Luigi Einaudi 1955 and an Abbazia dell'Annunziata Ratti 1969. The Einaudi was showing signs of age but still more than drinkable - the others were full of flavour, more than I had ever experienced in an Italian wine up to that time. Since my olfactory receptors are not particularly sensitive, I prefer wines with a strong taste. Despite all the excellent Italian wines that have developed in the past 40 years, many of which I have tried and enjoyed, I have to say I have never lost my preference for a bottle of Barolo wine.

Barolo wine is a DOCG wine produced entirely from the nebbiolo grape in the zone around the town of Alba, in the Piedmont, Italy. Barolo is considered one of the world's best red wines.

Barolo wine is a robust, full-bodied, red wine with high tannin, acidity and alcohol (15% typically). The aroma suggests tar, violets, roses, ripe strawberries and truffles. When Barolo is produced in the traditional manner, it can be hard when young. When it is aged properly and given time to mellow, the harsh elements begin to soften and reveal many layers of complexity. DOCG production rules stipulate that a Barolo must be aged for three years at the winery, or five years for a Riserva. Barolo benefits from additional aging and often requires ten to twenty years total aging from the year of vintage.

Some Barolo wine producers, influenced by the "new" winemakers of the southern hemisphere, have been attempting to produce Barolo in a form that can be served at a younger age. They have been highlighting the wine's fruit and colour while softening harsh tannins by using short fermentation periods in small French oak barrels (barriques) rather than the large traditional botti. These small barrels add an oaky flavor to the wine, as well as tannin, and the resulting wines are ready to drink sooner than traditional Barolo wines.

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