Barolo wine is a unique Italian red that's one of our favourite pours to stock - and enjoy when we're not blending it and writing about it. Here's what one of our expert winemakers Mark Jarman has to say about this very tasty vino, with some top tips on what to look out for when trying it - and what to eat with it.


Morrisons The Best Barolo is available online and in store

Where Does Barolo Come From?

"Barolo is a red wine, made in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. The name Barolo refers to the region, or 'zone of production' which is an area to the south west of Alba, and south of Turin. The rules of production have always stipulated that Barolo had to be made from grapes grown on hillsides, but recent revisions have gone further by excluding vineyards planted in valley floors, areas without limited sunlight and areas with full-on northern exposures. In other words, the Italians take this wine very seriously and it is consequently awarded DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) status, the highest quality level in the Italian wine classification system."


What Does Barolo Taste Like?

"Although it's a full-bodied wine, Barolo is light in colour with a characteristic brick red hue, and it is never opaque. The taste of Barolo is unique - classically, it is high in both tannin and acid so while it is powerful and full bodied, it doesn't necessarily have the depth of fruit and soft tannins of other types of wine which are also classified as powerful and full bodied such as Malbecs. This can sometimes cause confusion, but it is the pronounced acid and tannin which gives Barolo its great structure and complexity and is why it is considered by many to be one of Italy's greatest wines. The aroma of Barolo can be quite perfumed with a delicate floral note sometimes reminiscent of roses together with delicate spice and dried fruit notes. Flavours of dried cherries take centre stage on the palate supported by robust tannins and refreshing acidity. A good Barolo should have a long, lingering finish."  

Who Will Enjoy A Glass Of Barolo Wine?

"Because of the pronounced acid and tannin in Barolo it is more similar to full-bodied european wines rather than wines from the New World which are typically more fruity. Try Barolo if you like wines like Chateauneuf du Pape and Crozes Hermitage or Chianti Classico."      

What Will Make A Good Food Pairing For Barolo?  

"A big, powerful, tannic wine, Barolo is made to be drunk with food and will often taste too acidic or tannic on its own. However, if paired with foods of a similar weight Barolo really comes to life. It goes particularly well with full-flavoured meat dishes as the tannins bind with the meat proteins giving the wine a softer taste, emphasising the fruit flavours. So, drink it with a juicy steak or with beef casseroles and game dishes such as as venison and pheasant."

How Is Barolo Wine Made?

"Barolo is made from the Nebbiolo grape variety and the regulations state that it must be made from 100% of this variety. Nebbiolo takes its name from the word Nebbia, which is Italian for 'fog', as during the month of October when the grapes are harvested, the vineyards are frequently covered in a blanket of mist. The Nebbiolo grape is also used in the production of a wine called Barbaresco which is the wine from the region of the same name, The Barbaresco region is situated a couple of miles to the north west of the region of Barolo and produces a lighter style of wine.  

Nebbiolo is one of the first grape varieties to bud and the last to ripen with harvest taking place in mid to late October. Fermentation must take place for up to 20-30 days resulting in extraction of the robust tannins required to give the wine its typicity - its 'signature' characteristics. By law, Barolo must be aged for a minimum of two years in oak and one year in bottle before release. The oak barrels are usually large 5000 litre barrels called Botti made from Slavonian oak, although some producers are increasingly using smaller barrels to soften the wine and make it ready for drinking earlier."

What About Blending Barolo For Morrisons?

"We work with Piemontese producer Araldica to create our The Best Barolo wine and I travel to northern Italy in late November each year to work on our Barolo blend with the winemaking team there. My aim is to produce a wine that is typical of Barolo's unique character but also to make it as fruit forward (the winemaker's term for fruit flavours standing out on the palate) as possible so that it can be enjoyed by our customers immediately without needing further time to soften. This involves combining blending components with bright fruit aromas and flavours with others that are more structured (ie with more tannin and acidity). This will also give our wine more complexity. Morrisons The Best Barolo will also evolve and become more complex as it ages but the soft tannins in the wine make it approachable and ready to drink straight away. Our 2013 vintage won Silver medals in both the International Wine Challenge and International Wines and Spirits Competitions this year."

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