Barolo is often introduced through a saying: Barolo the wine of the King and the King of wines, which in my opinion helps more to trivialize than to give importance to this wine and its territory.
But what is Barolo really?
Wine known all over the world but do we really know what it is and how it is produced?
What is certain is that Barolo comes from one of the most suitable regions for enology, a land of great wines and gentle hills, namely Piedmont and more precisely the Langhe area.
The only grapes allowed are Nebbiolo, low yields in the vineyard and produced with a minimum aging of 38 months of which at least 18 in barrel.
But what if we wanted to describe it?
What comes to your mind when talking about Barolo?
I often hear Barolo associating adjectives such as “opulent”, “fruity”, “concentrated”, “strong” all adjectives that are usually used to describe important wines but which in my opinion do not give the right perception of what this wine really is indeed they completely distort it.
I would rather speak, if well done, of elegance, balance, sobriety, complexity.
How wine is changing?
In recent years there has been a reversal of trend in world enology and consequently also in the production of Barolo. Wines that were previously interpreted by focusing on important concentrations, long macerations or late harvests have been progressively replaced by increasingly lean, elegant, characteristic and territorial wines, without prejudice to the long refinements.
At the same time, the use of barrels has also become more prudent, in some cases larger barrels or with less marked roasting have been preferred to the barrique and in other cases it has finally given up on new barrels to make room for second or third step ones.
So what is happening, and I say “finally”, to the way of making wine?
GRAPES and the TERRITORY took center stage. Agriculture is becoming more and more sustainable and wines are more authentic and territorial.
The wines had began more and more similar to each other. Barolos that looked like Amarone, Amarone that looked like Aglianico, Aglianico that looked like Brunello and so on …
For a wine lover the funniest thing is just being able to recognize a territory or a vine simply by putting your nose in the glass, believe me it’s not that difficult with a little practice and awareness.
I invite everyone to do it, as long as you are interested in wine and territories. Each wine if made with respect is different from another, do not look for standardization, do not look for the same characteristics in each wine, it would be the death of wine and of winemakers. Be curious!
When you drink a wine ask yourself what you are drinking, what grape variety it is, where it comes from, what kind of agriculture, how it is produced, you will learn that wine can be extraordinarily varied and fun.
Returning to Barolo, potentially every vineyard and every producer can be recognized during a blind tasting, this means that not all Barolos are the same, thank God, and that statements like “I don’t like Barolo” or “I only drink Bordeaux” are totally meaningless if you drink artisan wines. Because each wine will make its own story.
Craftsmanship is and will always be the key value for those who love wine.
So, in conclusion, drink with awareness, get informed and respect the work of those who make that wine and those who try to make it known, restaurateurs and distributors.