Great wines are produced from the Nebbiolo grape in the Langhe, a recently declared Unesco World Heritage site located in the Southeastern part of the Piedmont, near Liguria.
The Nebbiolo, which is divided into three sub-varieties: Lampia, Michet, and Rosé, is difficult to grow due to its extreme sensitivity to different soil variations. However, this delicate fruit produces a very persistent wine: the Barolo, which is impossible to discuss in terms of one only characteristic. This notable wine can be interpreted in different ways and characterized by distinctive aromas and flavors thanks to the heterogeneity of the territories, the many important crus, and its various vineyard expositions. In the Langhe, various soils and mineral deposits are present, which contribute to the many interpretations of Barolo. Sedimentary clay, the Sant’Agata Marls: chalk marls mixed with grey-blue sandstone, Diano’s sandstone: a dark grey sandstone interspersed with clay, and the formations of Lequio: red-gray stones striated with gray marls, are the important variances of the Langhe soil. The resulting Barolo is a fine, as well as, strong wine.
Contrary to popular opinion about vintage 2017, that is unfairly underrated, in my tastings I found a quality level from good to very good, with some peaks of extreme excellence, that confirm the steady progress in the Piemonte’s (especially in the Barolo) last releases. A vintage that shows good tautness and density, freshness and elegant tannins. An excellent vintage, in spite of difficulties, that also shows a fascinating aging potential.
Barolo (in 2018 composed of 253 ha):
• Fruity, fine, and strong wines. • Sarmassa and Cannubi are two important and well-known crus.
Castiglione Falletto (in 2018 composed of 145 ha):
• Densely elegant, solid wines with strong tannins and earthy flavors.
• Monprivato and Bricco Boschis are two important and well-known crus.
La Morra (in 2018 composed of 537 ha):
• Less structured wines with very strong aromas.
• Brunate and Cerequio are two important and well-known crus.
Monforte d’Alba (in 2018 composed of 461 ha):
• Wines vary greatly depending on hillside location.
• Characteristic salty feel.
• The Western side produces wines from Bussia.
• The Eastern side produces wines, such as Ginestra, Gavarini, and Mosconi, stronger in tannins.
Serra lunga d’Alba (in 2018 composed of 353 ha):
• Fully textured wines that are sometimes quite rough and powdery.
• The flavors recai I red fruits preserved in alcohol.
• Vigna Rionda and Francia are two important and well-known crus.
Novello (in 2018 composed of 184 ha):
• Nascetta, a native white grape, is cultivated in this area. • The wines are often wild, minty, and spicy with good tannins.
• Ravera is the most important cru of this area.
Verduno (in 2018 composed of 1 0 9 ha):
• Pelaverga, a native red grape, is cultivated in this area.
• The wines are not as strong as those of Serralunga.
• Monvigliero is the most important cru of this area.
The other lands that typify the Barolo production area are Grinzane Cavour (60 ha) Roddi (24 ha) Cherasco (2 ha) and Diano d’Alba (20 ha) which is also well-known for the Dolcetto.
It is important not to generalize the Barolo. Each area, each producer, and obviously, each vintage could result in a wine that differs from the above indications.