Made of 100 percent Nebbiolo grown in vineyards as high as 1,500 feet in Piedmont, Barolo has been called the jewel in the crown of Italian winemaking, and for good reason. Nebbiolo gets its name from the Italian word for fog, nebbia, and this altitude and morning fog on south facing slopes in and around Barolo, Serralunga d’Alba and Castiglione Falletto helps the wine to maintain its characteristic freshness and long lifespan.
One of the first things you may notice about Barolo is its distinctive brick red color with a touch of rust at the rim; it is far closer in hue to Burgundian Pinot Noir than to Napa Cab. To be labeled Barolo DOCG, wine must age for at least 38 months, with a minimum 18 months in barrel. Riserva Barolos are required to age 62 months (more than five years!) before release. Barolo only gets better in the bottle, and although the Barolos we have chosen are great for drinking now, any of these will last and still taste great for four or five decades if properly stored. This is one of the few categories of wine that maintains its value at auction.
Barolo can have recognizable aromas of tar and rose petal. They will offer a bouquet that includes notes of raspberry, plum, violet, anise, baking spices, dark chocolate and leather, all of which will be noted on the palate as well. Expect a powerful wine with sturdy yet polished tannins, bold acidity and a long-lasting finish.
The saying “If it grows together, it goes together” may reach its zenith in Alba, where pairing Barolo with truffles is a regional pastime and restauranteurs compete to see who can create the most creative truffle pairing menu. Enjoy your Barolo alongside risotto with Parmigiano-Reggiano and truffles, cheese ravioli with butter and truffles, or truffle studded loin of pork or breast of veal. Barolo is also fantastic with grilled porterhouse topped with sautéed mushrooms or earthy meats like duck breast or rack of lamb.
Cogno 2016 Ravera Vigna Elena Riserva DO Barolo
This amazing Barolo draws you in to the glass with enticing scents of eucalyptus, rose hips, cigar box and black fruits of the woods. In the mouth the fruit flavors shine yet are framed by tobacco leaf and cedar. The tannins are silky and supple so you can drink now or hold for 20 years.
Gaja 2018 Dagromis Barolo
An intoxicating Barolo from the house of Gaja, Dagromis is named after the Gromis family that tended the vines prior to their transfer to the Gaja family. The vines are planted at more than 1200 feet above sea level in clay and calcareous soils. This wine is aged for 12 months in oak barrels then transferred to large oak casks for an additional 18 months and is an excellent example of what a Barolo should taste like. It’s drinking beautifully right now but could only improve with a decade or two of ageing.
Michele Chiarlo 2018 Tortoniano Barolo
Tortoniano is named for the 9-million-year-old sedimentary soil hailing from the Tortonian period during which this vineyard would have been the ocean floor. It is ruby garnet colored with aromas of red raspberry, leather and black currant. In the mouth it is smooth with rounded tannins and great persistence.
Damilano 2017 Cannubi Barolo
Aromas of toasted hazelnuts, forest floor and ripe black raspberry present themselves in a well-integrated bouquet. In the mouth the fruit flavors come crashing through with a touch of dry earth and black licorice in the post palate. The tannins are a bit powerful right now, so if you like your tannins a bit softer we recommend drinking from 2025 to 2045.
Beni Di Batasiolo 2015 Brunate Barolo
A whiff of juniper serves as an entry point to the complex bouquet of red raspberry, bramble, tar and rose hips. In the mouth there are flavors of black cherry, espresso and dark chocolate with firm and pleasantly grippy tannins. Drink now through 2030.
Mascarello Giuseppe e Figlio 2015 Monprivato Barolo
Garnet colored in the glass, this intriguing wine offers a bouquet of sweet spices, saddle leather and ripe cherry. In the mouth it is very soft with silky tannins and flavors of plum, rose petal and dried wild herbs.
Giacomo Conterno 2004 Cascina Francia Barolo
This 18-year-old Barolo is as youthful and delicious as one would expect coming from Conterno. It has aromas of dried cherries, tar, black plum and saddle leather and flavors of dark fruits lifted with a touch of eucalyptus. It still has a lot of life so enjoy it now or open in ten years, either way you won’t be disappointed.
Roberto Voerzio 2000 Rocche dell’Annunziata Torriglione Barolo
Beautiful garnet colored in the glass, this twenty-two-year-old Barolo has aromas of dark fruits and candied violets. In the mouth it has a touch of smoke and flavors of black currant and black raspberry with great mouthfeel and gently rounded tannins. Drink now or over the next decade.
Bruno Giacosa 2017 Falletto Barolo
This delicious Barolo has aromas of black olive tapenade, cigar box and ripe dark berries, accentuated with a lifted whiff of pine resin. In the mouth it has a light floral characteristic on entry but then fills the mouth with dark fruits and dense, chewy tannins.
Rocche dei Manzoni 2004 Vigna Madonna Assunta La Villa Riserva Barolo
Ruby-garnet colored in the glass this Barolo has an intoxicating bouquet of red plum, red raspberry, mocha and cigar box. In the mouth the fruit flavors shine through but are framed by secondary notes of espresso, chocolate and tobacco leaf. Drink now or through 2027.