Monday, 11 January 2021

Barolo and Barbaresco, what are the differences?

Barolo e Barbaresco Barolo e Barbaresco

Barolo and Barbaresco: "King" and "Queen" of Piedmontese wines? Barolo and Barbaresco: twins or distant cousins? What are the differences between these two wines that come from the same vine and whose denominations affect vineyards a few kilometers away?

Has it ever happened to you, during a wine tasting, that someone asked themselves: "But in the end, what are the differences between Barolo and Barbaresco?". Same vine, Nebbiolo. Same origin: the Langhe. Same attitude: nobility and excellence. Yet the most classic and iconic wines of the Langhe are not all that similar.
So let's see the differences.

Barolo and Barbaresco come from two neighboring areas, but they are not the same.

Barolo wine is produced only and exclusively within the hilly area of ​​11 municipalities of the western Langhe: Barolo (which gives it its name), Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d'Alba, part of the territory of Monforte d'Alba, Novello, La Morra, Verduno, Grinzane Cavour, Diano d'Alba, Cherasco and Roddi.

Barbaresco comes from an even smaller area, in the eastern Langhe. Only three municipalities and a fraction of Alba have the right to make wine: Barbaresco (hence the name), Treiso, Neive and precisely San Rocco, whose territory is joined to the municipality of Alba.

Barolo and Barbaresco differ in the composition of the soils.

Wine, as we know, is the son of the territory. Barolo and Barbaresco are no exception and interpret two quite different soils. The first enjoys clayey marl rich in limestone, which express themselves in power, body and structure. The second comes from a much more sandy area, which pushes on perfumes and elegance.

Barolo and Barbaresco develop in different microclimates.

Nebbiolo from Barolo matures in a distinctly continental climate, characterized by harsh winters, even sultry summers and very intense day-night temperature changes. Barbaresco enjoys the proximity of the Tanaro river, which brings humidity and contributes to a cooler environment.

Barolo and Barbaresco don't refine in the same way.

At least four years for the King of wines, in wooden barrels. Three years for the Barbaresco, of which at least 9 in wooden barrels. This is perhaps, together with the soils, the most evident distinctive sign between the two "principles" of Piedmontese enology. The difference in aging gives the Barolo more marked balsamic hints, smoky and woody notes. Barbaresco plays much more on ethereal and floral aromas, gracefulness and nuances of ripe red fruit.

Barolo and Barbaresco lend themselves to different occasions.

Braised, roasted and fatty meats go well with Barolo, which needs to find worthy "adversaries" for its power and asterity. Barbaresco loves conviviality, inebriates without ever getting tired and, thanks to its innate lightness, it can always be uncorked, with a light heart.

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