Barolo vs Barbaresco Wines? Both are very popular with wine collectors. Although both villages in Piedmont are very close, and the wines are both made using Nebbiolo grapes, some say Barolo is more masculine, while Barbaresco is more feminine.
“Barolo is a gentleman, and Barbaresco is a lady, but a ‘tough’ lady.”
– Gaia Gaja
“The small imperfections give the soul to the wine.”
– Angelo Gaja
The Nebbiolo grape hails from the hill towns of Piedmont in picturesque northwest Italy. White truffles, grissini and mist (nebbia) are staples in this region. It is also the home of the Barolo and Barbaresco, both beautiful wines. Crafted from the Nebbiolo grape, these age-worthy reds are robust. They pair perfectly with rich Italian beef and game dishes, mushroom risotto or truffle-flavoured pasta.
Barolo and Barbaresco communes and their personalities
Barolo is produced in the hills of La Morra, Serralunga d’Alba, Montforte d’Alba, Castiglione Falletto and Barolo.
The neighbouring Barbaresco is made in the communes of Barbaresco, Neive, Treiso and San Rocco Seno d’Elvio.
Each region delivers its own style of the Nebbiolo grape with a distinctive personality that stems from the subtle differences in the soil of the towns. This distinction also exists in the minds of the winemakers and translates into subtly different and decidedly unique wines.
The limestone soils of La Morra and Barolo offer delicate and elegant wines packed full of mulberry, strawberry, mint and dried herbs. Serralunga d’Alba, Montforte d’Alba and Castiglione Falletto lie on sandstone soils that contribute to a broader style, firmer tannins and darker flavours. Plums, damsons and liquorice abound in its ripe, juicy fruit.
Barbaresco lies south of the Tanaro river. Cool sea breezes travel up the valley, ripening the grapes more quickly than in Barolo. These early-ripening tannins are delicately filigreed and produce voluptuous, ripe wines. These wines are easier to drink at a younger age than their more northerly cousins. Treiso and San Rocco are feminine and floral, while Neive and Barbaresco provide a more masculine structure and complexity.
Flavours to match
The Nebbiolo grape naturally pairs well with the cuisine of the Piedmont region and holds up well against a variety of flavours.
A younger, firmer and fresher Barolo is the perfect accompaniment for carne cruda, a raw beef dish similar to steak tartare. Fillet steaks and braised beef are also fine matches for the strong mesh of tannin in a bright, modern vintage.
On the other hand, a partridge, pheasant or duck may marry with the gamey nose of a fine old vintage as older wines have a more silken texture and delicate, complex flavours.
A young Barbaresco is lighter and riper and may suit lamb or pork. Aged Barbaresco pairs well with the more subtle flavours of a mushroom and white truffle risotto. It also pairs well with milder cheeses like goat and sheep’s cheeses, parmesan, robiola or toma cheese.
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