Rediscovering a love for Barolo

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Two great recent experiences with Barolo, which I’ve struggled to love a lot in the past. I love the idea of Barolo, but I’ve often found the wines to be a bit too difficult, with firm drying tannins and no pleasure. Yet occasionally I have had the most sublime experience with this region. It’s very confusing. And then there’s this whole modernist/traditionalist thing, which doesn’t correlate closely with the good/bad experiences I’ve had.

Coupled with this, there seems to be a subtle pressure to love Barolo unquestioningly. I guess if I’d actually spent much time in the vineyards, I’d get things much more, but my bad experiences have sort of put me off exploring. Often, I’ve found it cheaper and less risky, and more consistently enjoyable to get my Nebbiolo fix from Langhe Nebbiolo, the little sibling.

So my latest ray of hope was on Friday night at Noble Rot, where a friend pushed me in the direction of the 2008 Vietti Castiglione Barolo. This was a superb wine with real focus and elegance, and a lovely purity. I didn’t take notes, but just enjoyed it.

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The second was a few weeks ago in Scotch Bar, in Blenheim New Zealand. It was the Albe from GD Vajra, and this showed a similar silky elegance and refinement. And real drinkability. It’s the second bottle of this that I’d had in Scotch, Vajra can do no wrong it seems.

So, buoyed by these experiences, I’m going to give Barolo a serious chance. I would love to hear of readers’ personal favourites, in the more elegant and pure vein.

6 comments to Rediscovering a love for Barolo

  • Finn Robberstad

    The Barolo I drink the most of these days is Alessandro and Gian Natale Fantino’s Cascina Dardi-Bussia Barolo. It is currently available from the producer in the 2007, 2011, 2012 and 2013 vintages (all preceding the 2013 now sold with the “Riserva” moniker. Very traditional, and benefits from additional cellaring, but not hard to drink upon release (I’d wait a while with the 2013, though). The producer is imported into the UK, but I don’t remember by whom.

  • I agree Jamie, I reckon I probably drink more Langhe Nebbiolo than Barolo, but I do enjoy Brezza and Scavino as well as Vietti. Vietti’s barbera also very good. I’d suggest looking north; Nervi’s gattinara, the Carema by the produttori, Tenuta Sella’s Lessona and Cantalupo’s Ghemme are all as pure and elegant as Nebbiolo gets. ‬

  • Phil

    An interesting producer to look at for Nebbiolo I feel would be Fletcher. Producing a small range of Nebbiolo from Italy and Australia (Pyrenees and Yarra Valley) with such great focus and attention to detail.
    Equally exploring the Vietti range is always worth it and the only Barolo to really change my perception was the G.B. Burlotto Barolo Monvigliero.

  • Koen

    I have a love for the Barolo from Enzo Boglietti, also very nice and relatively elegant wines.

  • I’ll make it short and sweet: Cannubi.

  • I had a taste through the GD Vajra range about 18 months ago and really enjoyed them – they are quite fruit-forward and accessible at a relatively young age compared to some other Barolos I’ve tried. The Albe is good but the Ravera is stunning, and worth the extra cash.

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