During the Roman Empire, the Piedmont region was one of the best places to grow vines, according to Pliny the Elder, and in 2014, the powers that be at UNESCO were equally taken with the vineyard landscape, listing Barolo and the surrounding area as a World Heritage Site.
Referred to as the king of wines, Barolo – like its nearby neighbour Barbaresco – is home to the late-ripening Nebbiolo grape. When it is classically made, the region’s red wines are full-bodied and savoury, with a subtle oak influence and aromas of rose petals, plums and liquorice. Its plentiful tannins and searing acidity mean this is a wine that is austere in youth and crafted for long-term cellaring.
More modern interpretations offer a lick of vanilla derived from new French oak barrels rather than the traditional large casks and this has caused plenty of debate about the ideal Barolo. There seems to have been an easing of tensions in recent years as a middle ground is reached as well as a change in focus from what’s going on in the winery to what’s going on in the vineyard.
What is indisputable is that Barolo is not just one of the finest places to make wine in Piedmont but in Italy. With bottle age, its tannins melt, leaving an ethereal wine with a haunting scent. You won’t find a wine like it on the planet.