Wine specialist Charles Foley is your expert guide to the potent, long-lived red wines produced from the Nebbiolo grape in the picturesque hill towns of Piedmont in northwest Italy
Piedmont, the land of grissini, white truffles and fog (nebbia), is also home to the beautiful wines, Barolo and Barbaresco. Crafted from the Nebbiolo grape, these robust, age-worthy reds are the perfect companions to rich Italian dishes of beef and game, risotto with mushrooms or truffle-flavoured pasta.
Navigating your way through the maze of vineyards huddled around the slopes of the glorious little hill towns where the wines are made is a delight. We hope these five key signposts through the wines of the region will help kickstart your journey towards the collection and drinking of Barolo and Barbaresco.
Barolo is produced mainly in five communes which all surround the hill towns of the same name: La Morra, Serralunga d’Alba, Montforte d’Alba, Castiglione Falletto and Barolo.
Over the hills the neighbouring Barbaresco is made in the communes of Barbaresco, Neive, Treiso and San Rocco Seno d’Elvio.
Each delivers its own style of the Nebbiolo grape, a distinctive personality which runs through the soil of the towns, exists in the minds of its winemakers and collects in the red pool sitting in the bottom of your glass.
With limestone soils, La Morra and Barolo offer delicate and elegant wines packed full of mulberry, strawberry, mint and dried herbs. Serralunga d’Alba, Montforte d’Alba and Castiglione Falletto lie on sandstone soils which contribute to a broader style, firmer tannins and darker flavours. Plums, damsons and liquorice abound in its ripe, juicy fruit.
Barbaresco lies south of the Tanaro river and the cool sea breezes travelling up the valley ripen the grapes more quickly than in Barolo. These early-ripening tannins are delicately filigreed and produce wines of voluptuousness and ripeness, which are easier to drink at a younger age than their more northerly cousins. Treiso and San Rocco are the feminine, floral side of the region, while Neive and Barbaresco itself provide a more masculine structure and complexity……..