Since the 19th century, Barbaresco has always been considered Barolo’s twin, arriving more or less simultaneously at the same set of regulatory laws, becoming one of the first Italian DOC wines in 1966 and, in 1980, one of the first DOCG wines. Like Barolo, Barbaresco is located in the Langhe hills, which lie south and east of the Tanaro River. The term Langhe-plural of Langa-seems to be of Celtic origin, meaning “tongues.” In this case, it refers to the “tongues” of land in this area, steep-sided elongated hills that run parallel to one another and are separated by high, narrow valleys. The clay-chalk terrain of the Langhe is ideal for producing full-bodied reds.
The area of production includes the entire territory of the villages of Barbaresco, Treiso and Neive, plus part of the territory of the Alba municipality. This wine is produced by both small wineries and prestigious co operative wineries, and includes some world-famous names. Barbaresco must be left to age at least two years in oak, and after four years the title Riserva (“Reserve”) can be applied. It is best when aged from five to ten years but may be even longer living. Various interpretations of the wine are available on the market, including more modern versions prepared in small wooden barrels.
|Grape varieties:||nebbiolo 100%|
|Delimited zone:||Communes of Barbaresco, Neive, Treiso and part of Alba (San Rocco Seno d’Elvio) in the province of Cuneo.|
|Type:||Barbaresco, Barbaresco Riserva.|
|Aging requirements:||26 months (50 months for Riserva), including at least 9 months in oak.|
|Actual alcohol level of wine:||12% vol.|
Nebbiolo is the oldest indigenous red grape vine of Piedmont and one of the noblest and most prestigious in Italy. Its name derives from nebbia, the Italian word for mist or fog-perhaps due to the “misty” look of its grapes with their velvety covering or because the late-ripening grape is often harvested during early autumn fogs.
Known also as "queen of red grapes", Nebbiolo it is a finicky vine, requiring elaborate care and attention in order to thrive. It is precisely for this reason that it has known both heydays and moments of utter abandon in the past, although local producers have remained faithful to it through thick and thin, continuing to make the great wines it is capable of producing. Still, it is demanding, needing exactly the right soil type-a calcareous tufa-based soil is ideal-a south-facing hillside at an altitude of between 650 and 1,500 feet.
Nebbiolo’s most famous zones of production are Barolo and Barbaresco, but it features in several other Piedmontese DOCs and DOCGs, including Nebbiolo d’Alba, Roero, Gattinara, and Ghemme.
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