The two Nebbiolo brothers Barolo and Barbaresco.
The Le Langhe wine region in Piedmont is not only famous for its Barolo – it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
But Piedmont doesn’t need a Pinot Noir to make good wines, Piedmont has its Barbera and especially its Nebbiolo. The icons of the wine-growing region emerge from Nebbiolo with the Barolo and the Barbaresco. The pursuit of quality is the top priority for the wine industry in Piedmont. For example, 42 DOC and 16 DOCG areas have been defined for the region, but there is no IGT quality.
The large wine region is divided into four sections: “Piemonte L’Astigiano”, “Piemonte Le Langhe”, “Piemonte Il Monferrato” and “Piemonte Il Nord”. The most famous area in this quartet is certainly “Le Langhe” located around the city of Alba. The famous, extremely aging Barolo and Barbaresco originate from the hilly landscape in the east of Piedmont. Wines with an intense nose and wonderful color that bring structure and juicy aromas.
Character head with world fame: Barolo
With increasing maturity, a white shimmering coating forms on the Nebbiolo grape variety, which takes its name from the Italian “Nebia”.
Let’s start with the Barolo, which is one of the most internationally known wines in Italy. A Barolo consists 100 percent of the Nebbiolo grape variety, which takes its name from the fog, Italian “Nebia”. However, this does not mean the fog that shows up over the vineyards in the late ripening grape during the harvest. Rather, it describes a white, shimmering coating on the berries that develops with increasing ripeness. A Barolo is characterized by a long maceration time, which can count up to 30 days. This explains his play of colors, but above all the intense aroma, which has, so to speak, taken everything out of the grapes that was available.
In traditional production, the stems also play a role, which are only roughly separated from the grapes and sometimes also go into the mash. This increases the proportion of tannins noticeably, which usually makes young Barolos seem rough and gruff, but at the same time accommodates a long maturation on barrel and bottle. A good Barolo takes time. According to the DOCG statute, a maturity of 38 months is already prescribed, of which at least 18 months in wooden barrels. For a Riserva there is even 62 months of ripening.
Little brother? Great wine! Barbaresco
The Barbaresco is often dismissed somewhat generously as the little brother of Barolo. It is true that the wines of this “DOCG” are made from 100 percent Nebbiolo grapes. And the homonymous town of Barbaresco is also just 20 kilometers from Barolo, which also gives it its name. However, this wine region is a little lower, which means a warmer climate, so that the Nebbiolo is read more in Barbaresco than in Barolo.
As a result, the “little brother” is more accessible and open than a Barolo at a young age, and usually has a little less alcohol and tannin structure. The shelf life is usually a little less, but the DOCG Barbaresco requires a maturation period of at least 26 months – nine of them in wooden barrels. A Barbaresco Riserva matures for 50 months.
Of course, Piedmont does not do justice to restricting this excellent wine region to Barolo and Barbaresco. On the other hand, you can hardly imagine a more enjoyable entry into Piedmont than with the two red brothers.