Like the Barbaresco wines produced a few miles to the east, Barolo is made from Nebbiolo grapes. Nebbiolo makes tannic and acidic wines that can age beautifully, becoming powerful and elegant. Though Barolo flavors will vary depending on where the wine is produced – with those from the western side of the region relatively soft and fruity, and those from these eastern side typically more intense – Barolos generally display signature notes of tar, truffles and flower petals.Barolo has been a favorite of Italian nobility and other high rollers for centuries. Traditional producers macerate the pressed grapes and skins together for weeks, creating a very robust wine that may require a decade or more of aging to mellow Nebbiolo’s acidity and tannins. Since the 1970s, many Barolo winemakers have modernized their techniques, using a shorter maceration period and more new oak barrels. The result is Barolo that retains some berry fruit flavors, yet is still powerful; is ready to drink upon release, but is also able to improve with age.
Italy’s DOCG regulations require Barolo to be aged in barrels for a minimum of three years, including 18 months in small oak barrels. Riserva Barolo must age for a minimum of five years, including 18 months in barrel.