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Barolo wine is an Italian red wine made in the Piedmont region of northern Italy.
The Piedmont is in the foothills of the Alps, where much of the area is too high in altitude for grapes to thrive.
Wine in this region grows mainly near the rivers and in southern Piedmont.
Barolo is made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes grown on the hillsides in this region. The foothills where Barolo is grown are called Langhe.
Nebbiolo comes from the word for "fog" in Italian. This grape probably got its name from the fog that creeps into the region, especially in the fall as the grapes are ripening.
Nebbiolo makes very full-bodied wines with lots of complex flavors, and Barolo is no exception. These Italian wines have lots of tannins and a high alcohol content (at least 12.5% or more).
Barolo and other Nebbiolo wines are likely not the best wine for people just learning about red wine. However, as you get more and more experienced with tasting wine, Barolo must be tried.
Barolo is known as one of the driest red wines on the market. The best vintages feature deep earthy tones of truffles, chocolate, dark, ripe fruit and berries, spices, herbs and leather.
There are lighter vintages available, if really dry red wine is not your style. These feature aromas of violets, or beautiful, bold flavors of wild berries. Other vintages can have a combination of all these aromas and flavors.
If you would like to try Barolo, be sure to age it, that way you will get the most out of this wine. Some Barolo lovers say that it is more important that Barolo be aged than Bordeaux or Burgundy.
Best Barolo Vintages
The best vintages for Barolo to come out recently are 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2010.
2004 is ready to drink now.
2007 is an exceptional vintage that is ready to drink now.
2008 is still very tannic and will be best to drink by 2018.
2010 will be ready to drink by 2020.
How long should Barolo be aged?
Barolo is aged in oak for one year before it is bottled. It is best to age Barolo for two years after release. For "Riserva" bottlings, age for five years. Some exceptional vintages should be aged for ten years or more.
A mature Barolo is a dark red color and has aromas of flowers and flavors of earth and spices.
Pairing Barolo with food
Be careful when pairing Barolo. Pairing a young vintage of this Italian red wine with food may overpower your meal. One way to make sure this does not happen is to enjoy it with a meal that includes Barolo as an ingredient.
You can make a red wine sauce with Barolo, cook your meat in the wine or another tasty way is to make risotto that is cooked in Barolo.
Other pairing tips that you may like are: braised red meat, game meats like duck, pheasant or rabbit. Roast lamb and hearty cheeses are also particularly tasty with Barolo.
Top producers of Barolo Wine
One of the most famous Barolo producers is Marchesi di Barolo. The 2008 vintage has an alcohol content of 14.5%. It is a deep red with elegant aromas of flowers and spices. The flavors are the same as the aromas and are deep and spicy.
The 2010 Conterno Fantino Barolo Sori Ginestra is a wine that will do well with age. It will mature, but it will also add in value the longer you hold on to it. This Barolo wine is also a boutique wine, with less than 1,000 cases made per year. It is 14.5% in alcohol content and is deep red in color. Aromas in this wine at this time are of roses, berries and spices. These aromas become full bodied and luscious in the flavor. Some wine experts say you can age this wine even further than the usual 10 years, although it will be good in 7 to 10 years, you could age this wine all the way to 2032.
Vietti's 2010 vintage of Barolo Lazzarito is a big and bold wine that will add value the longer you store it in your cellar. It has an alcohol content of 14%. This Barolo wine is a deep red color with aromas of ripe fruit. The flavors are robust and full-bodied with a nice tannin structure at the finish. This is an exceptional vintage. Some experts say this Barolo wine can be aged up to 15 years.
The 2007 vintage of Vietti Barolo Riserva Villero is another exceptional wine. It is a boutique vintage, meaning less than 1,000 cases were made of this wine. It is also a single vineyard vintage, and the vineyard is less than a hectare in size (less than 2.5 acres). As it ages, it grows in value, and this wine is ready to drink now. It has deep, complex aromas and flavors of spices, flowers and fruit. This wine is one of the best examples of the great 2007 vintage.
Paolo Scavino's 2010 Barolo Cannubi is a boutique wine (less than 1,000 cases were made) that will grow in value as it matures. It is the best of the best in Barolo. Experience aromas and complex flavors of berries and spices in this full-bodied wine. This wine will be ready between 2018 and 2020.
You can find the basic vintages of some of these top Barolo makers for under $50. Some for under $30.