Hey, Corkers! Welcome back to my little "wine corner" of the inter-webs. If you're new around here, this is a place to drink wine, talk about wine, and learn about wine together. I am a novice in the field, so I blog about my wine experiences, share what I know, and ask about what I don't. I love interacting with you all so please leave me a comment here or find me on IG @thecandidcork!
Every Wednesday, I do a Wine of the Week feature, where I highlight a certain varietal, winery, gadget, or otherwise. This week, we're talking about Barolo, a wine that gets me so excited I'm like a kid on Christmas.
Ok so, what is Barolo and what's so great about it? Basically, it's a freakin' delicious garnet red wine from the northern Italian region of Piedmont:
Map courtesy of Wine Folly.
Don't let its lighter color fool you, though. This wine is naturally high in tannin, often characterizing it as full-bodied beverage fit for a queen.
Speaking of royalty, Barolo is also known as "the king of wines." It's made from the Nebbiolo
grape and is often described as Italy's greatest, partly due to the stringent growing and production regulations it must meet as a DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, or in English, Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin) wine. DOCG is the highest wine classification in Italy. Wines of this status are analyzed and critiqued by government-licensed officials before being bottled and they must follow strict quality controls. For example, Barolo production codes require that vineyards be located on hillsides, excluding valley floors, humid areas, flat areas, areas without sufficient sunlight, and areas with full-on northern exposure...phew!!
Another requirement of Barolo...it must be aged a minimum of three years after harvest; 18 of those months must be in wood. If the wine ages at least five full years before release, it can be labelled as Riserva. Ideally, this type of wine should age ten years prior to drinking...which is why it can give you that kid-on-Christmas feeling! But as they say, anything worth having is worth the wait so...why not wait a decade?
There are eleven different communes of Barolo. Lighter tasting communes have limestone-based soils while bolder-tasting wines will come from communes with more weathered, sandstone-clay soils. Nevertheless, if you speak to a Sommelier about the taste of Barolo, you are sure to hear "rose" and "tar" as descriptors. That being said, Barolo is the fruitiest and most full-bodied of all the Nebbiolo regions in Northern Italy, so you can anticipate notes of raspberry, cherry, potpourri, cocoa, licorice, and all-spice.
All of these stringent quality control measures combined with the luxury of growing in ideal terroir for tasty wines doesn't come without a hefty price tag. According to a quick google search, the average retail price for a bottle of Barolo is $69.20; but don't panic, Corkers. Total Wine has options starting in the $30 price range, and...get this: I found a bottle of Corte Rossa Barolo at Trader Joe's for $11.99!!
I will be sampling the Trader Joe's Barolo tonight so be sure to tune in to my IG stories to get the verdict! I save all of my WOTW stories to highlights so you can watch them (and re-watch them) back at any time. This way, you can run out to your local TJ's, grab a bottle, and drink it with me as you watch!
Hope you enjoyed this introductory lesson on Barolo-ho-ho. Now pour yourself a glass of the good stuff and let's get jolly, Corkers. Thanks for joining me for this episode of WOTW and don't forget to join my mailing list here so you'll be the first to know about new blogs, giveaways, and more. Cheers!
Until next time-