BAROLO vs. BARBARESCO

July 8th, 2013

Just enjoyed a fabulous dinner of some top nebbiolo served blind matched with quality dishes from Piedmont. Is there a better wine and food pairing than sliced fresh white truffle on Acquerello carnaroli risotto funghi with a mature Barolo or Barbaresco?

Top vintages were rarer in the old days with 58, 61, 64, 71, 78, 82 & 85 all memorable. Since the trio of 88, 89 & 90 there has been a pretty good run of better years starting with 96. I tend to prefer the classical balanced often late season vintages like 08, 04, 01, 98 & 96 – and even the colder more tannic years like 06 & 99. Certainly the three Barolo 1996 just tried (Cavallotto Bricco Boschis; Burlotto Monvigliero; and Claudio Alario) showed well that styling and no rush to drink up! Some North Americans often prefer the more forwardly, rounder, richer fruit of warmer vintages like 07, 00, & 97 – and even the over the top hot 03.

With global warming and final classifications still evolving a question can be asked whether the full facing south slopes in both Barolo and Barbaresco are still the best ones? Depends – another story!

Thought provoking comments by Bruno Giacosa’s daughter Bruna in a recent interview reported at www.thedrinksbusiness.com 2013/03/barolo-not-better-than-barbaresco. “It is wrong to suggest that Barolo makes better and more age-worthy wines than Barbaresco. Why do you say Barbaresco is more feminine? Maybe because you think it’s more elegant- and yes, in Barbaresco you find elegance, but you find it in Barolo too.”   Excellent point made!

What are your thoughts today on the old distinctions that used to be made between Barolo vs. Barbaresco? Are they still valid?

July 8th, 2013

2 Responses

  1. Ian Westcott says:

    Hi Sid
    Just back from Vinitaly and 3 very full tasting days in Piedmont. Still believe that their is a clear distinction between Barolo and Piedmont , most particularly in the structure of the wines and whilst Barbarescos can aged beautifully as a general rule it still seems that Barolo will require more time to reach its plateau of drinkabiltiy and will keep longer. This is , I believe, is partly the terroirs ( even within Barolo their are sectors which render more tender expamples) , but possibly more the approach to making, including legislative requirements such as time in barrel and before release. Think may also be some apsect of :pervceived place in the market” for the wines from the two areas and winemaking being targeted to this. You are right that they have had a magic run with vintages with only real dud being 2002. Their are some delicious 2009s when ripeness not over done and some brilliant classic styled 2010, 2011 seems simpler and less regular wines, 2012 like in many European regions is down in quantity but with many wines of great potential.
    Cheers
    Ian Westcott

  2. Ian Westcott says:

    With global warming and final classifications still evolving a question can be asked whether the full facing south slopes in both Barolo and Barbaresco are still the best ones? Depends – another story

    Syd not only exposition but in Piedmont the “ïdeal altitude” is also going to come into question. Raised this question during my trip and it is being thought about. However many think the “Global Warming” is not so much the temperatures but the raise CO2 levels with their impact on photosynthesis vigour. This is a challenge in all viticulture areas , problem is no firm scientific data on whether it is going to continue and if so how much more. This combined with the very long time frame to adapt vineyards to differnet viticulture, clones, varieties makes for some great challenges and as always corresponding opportunities.

Skip to toolbar