Barolo is a grand Italian wine by any definition, like Barbaresco produced entirely with Nebbiolo grapes. The wine comes from the village of the same name in the Langhe and neighboring communes.
Under the leadership of Count Camillo Benso of Cavour (who was also Italy’s first prime minister) and Giulia Colbert Falletti, the last Marquess of Barolo, Barolo wine began to be produced in the mid-1800s. This wine, particularly rich and harmonious, became the Savoy family’s best ambassador, representing Piedmont in all the royal courts of Europe, where it became known as the “king of wines and wine of kings.”
The various microclimates created by the hills and valleys of the Langhe are influenced by the continental climate of the entire area and the protection afforded by the Apennines to the south and the Alps to the west and north-and the local climatic conditions and geographical position of Barolo are ideal.
During the summer, the difference between the heat of day and the cool nights increases the aromas in the skins of the grapes and ensures the fascinating variety which is the hallmark of this region’s structured and complex wines, perfect for aging. Thus, Barolo’s regulations require aging for at least three years, one and a half of which has to be in oak barrels. If the aging is prolonged for five years, the wine gains the title of Riserva. This is a wine that is pleasing to the palate after four to five years and at its maximum after around 10, but that can also be consumed with enormous pleasure after 20 or more, depending on the vintage.
|Grape varieties:||nebbiolo 100%|
|Delimited zone:||The towns of Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, and Serralunga d’Alba and parts of Monforte d’Alba, Novello, La Morra, Verduno, Grinzane Cavour, Diano d’Alba, Cherasco, and Roddi|
|Type:||Barolo, Barolo Riserva, Barolo and Barolo Riserva with additional geographical.|
|Aging requirements:||38 months (62 months for Riserva), including at least 18 months in oak|
|Actual alcohol level of wine:||13% minimum.|
An important recent addendum to the wine laws in this region has been the official designation of what are often referred to by the French term cru, although the comparison with the French cru system is inexact. Nevertheless, it has long been recognized that certain small areas within Barolo, Barbaresco, and other regions-due to their precise soil, elevation, exposure, and so on-produce distinctive wines, and some of the names of these areas have become well known among aficionados. However, the appropriate definition of the areas so that they could be used on labels has until recently remained out of reach. But after considerable research and effort, the consortium, the government, and the interested parties were finally able to conclude a definitive list of these areas for Barbaresco in 2007, followed by Barolo in 2010; other appellations are working on similar lists.
These distinctive areas are not technically subzones of the appellation-which would carry certain requirements in terms of size, ownership, and so forth-nor do they necessarily correspond to a single vineyard or a village’s boundaries. Officially, they are called “additional geographical definitions,” although most people are likelier to call them “crus.” The idea behind this list is not to judge the excellence of each cru (à la the Bordeaux classification), but rather to provide the wine world with a means to understand the names of localities mentioned on wine labels. Use of the relevant cru name will be required for vineyard-designated wines.
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